Governor Tim Waltz of Minnesota urged state legislators earlier this week to consider legalizing marijuana so that racial justice can be attained in addition to boosting the economy.
He made those comments during a briefing at which he was talking about his 2022–2023 budget proposals. During that briefing, the governor was asked if he is willing to authorize sports betting as a way of boosting tax collection in the state.
In his reply, Gov. Waltz said that while he wasn’t opposed to sports betting, his attention was more centered on cannabis legalization since the taxes collected from a regulated marijuana market had the potential to dwarf those which sports betting might yield. Furthermore, he said that cannabis legalization would go a long way toward addressing matters of equity and racial justice within the state.
The governor continued his remarks on this issue by revealing that he was well aware that neighboring states had legalized sports betting as well as cannabis, and so he wasn’t removing any of those options from the table although cannabis legalization was a bigger priority to him.
Waltz added that he was aware that both options had their potential problems, incluiding the cost to the people, but he was still open to allowing legalization on either matter to proceed.
Nevertheless, in 2019 the governor had instructed state agencies to get ready for implementing reforms to the marijuana policies of the state. This was as a result of the governor’s anticipation that cannabis legalization would be enacted.
At the start of this month, the State Assembly majority leader indicated that when the new session of the House begins, he will table a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana. He added that if the Republicans within the state Senate block the legalization, he hoped that they would at least be willing to let the matter be put before voters in 2022 through a ballot measure.
Melissa Hortman (D), the speaker of the House, also believes that Republicans in the Senate were the biggest stumbling block to the state making progress on marijuana legalization. She added that establishing a framework through which a cannabis market can be established within the state provides a better way to address the harms of marijuana while improving the criminal justice and health-care systems.
Meanwhile, Paul Gazelka (R), the Senate majority leader, says that he is willing to look at proposals to address matters of equity and expanding the medical marijuana program of Minnesota. However, he added, he isn’t open to considering cannabis legalization because such a move, in his view, isn’t appropriate for Minnesota.
It remains to be seen whether the recent success of a ballot measure in neighboring South Dakota, as well as the push by Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin to legalize marijuana, will have a knock-on effect in Minnesota.
Meanwhile, marijuana companies are thriving in states such as Michigan where legal cannabis programs are underway. A vivid example is that of Gage Cannabis Co., a firm that already has more than one dozen retail outlets and many more slated to be opened this year in addition to the company going public on a Canadian exchange within the first quarter of 2021.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Gage Cannabis Co. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/GAGE
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