Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz ordered state agencies to prepare for legalization of recreational marijuana, despite a vow by the Senate leader to block any such legislation in 2020.
Walz, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, told Minnesota Public Radio News that he’s relying on supporters to continue pushing for legalization.
“My agencies have been tasked to put all of the building blocks in place, from Revenue to the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health,” Walz said.
“We will have everything ready to go, and we will be able to implement it in Minnesota the minute the Legislature moves this.”
But the Republican-controlled state Senate remains a high hurdle.
The Senate rejected a bill last session that would decriminalize recreational marijuana in 2022.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said he has no interest in reconsidering the matter.
“It’s my position that it’s not good for Minnesota. It’s dead as far as I’m concerned in the Senate for next year,” Gazelka said
House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said he plans to sponsor a legalization measure next year.
Winkler, a member of the same party as Walz, said he wants to get the public’s input over the next few months through about 15 listening sessions around the state.
“I think most of us who have looked at the issue think that legalization is the path we have to take,” Winkler said.
“But I don’t want to prejudge that until we’ve had that conversation with Minnesotans,” he added.
– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily