April 20- St. Paul, MN
As American support for legal marijuana reached an all-time high, Minnesota cannabis supporters rallied at the St. Paul Capitol to hear legislators and community leaders discuss what’s at stake in the fight for cannabis legalization and the road ahead.
Minnesota Cannabis Movements Want Changes to State’s Medical Marijuana Program
Minnesota signed its own medical Marijuana legislation back in 2014, known as one of the country’s more restrictive medical program, being limited to sufferers of:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Intractable pain
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms
- Terminal illness
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Rep. Jon Applebaum, architect of Minnesota’s first ever bill to legalize cannabis for adults over 21
- Nekima Levy-Pounds, a Candidate for Mayor of Minneapolis and Human Rights Lawyer
- Rep. Tina Liebling, gubernatorial candidate with cannabis legalization in her campaign platform.
Rep. Applebaum expressed gratitude for the public’s support of his amendment for full legalization, pointing to it as an example of changing attitudes toward recreational cannabis-use.
Applebaum pointed out states like Colorado reaping high revenues from cannabis taxation, a result he believed that Minnesota could repeat with its own legal cannabis program
” … we know viewpoints on this issue are changing, there are still those with outdated attitudes based on myths and dangers that we all know don’t exist.”
Drawing on her own legal research, Nekima criticized the disparities of cannabis enforcement, pointing out that minorities and women make up a greater portion of those in prison despite being smaller subsets of the state population.
Citing one in five Minnesotans admitting cannabis-use, Nekima highlighted that police enforcement appeared largely in minority communities. A 2014 Report from MN2020 showed African-Americans are at least 6 times more likely to be arrested for use, despite being 6 percent of the state’s population, they composed 27 percent of cannabis arrests.
In line with her gubernatorial platform, Liebling criticized anti-cannabis laws, believing they don’t respect the rights of those that consume it responsibly and stand in the way of more sensible policy being made in the future.
Singling out civil forfeiture, which allows police to seize property of those convicted of crimes like cannabis possession, as an example of senseless policy currently in place going as far as to say “it should be illegal”.
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Also published on Medium.
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