Support for recreational cannabis grows in Minnesota

Support for recreational cannabis grows in Minnesota

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Voters in several states will weigh in on recreational use in upcoming midterm elections.

Support for the legalization of recreational adult-use cannabis appears to be increasing slowly but steadily in Minnesota, reports Marijuana Moment.

Staff with the nonpartisan House Public Information Services Office surveyed State Fair goers in late August and early September, finding that 61 percent of Minnesotans support legalizing recreational use for adults. That’s up from 58 percent polled at the fair in 2021 and 56 percent in 2019. (The State Fair was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19.)

61 percent of Minnesotans support legalizing recreational use for adults. That’s up from 58 percent in 2021 and 56 percent in 2019.

Eight percent of those surveyed were undecided on recreational adult-use cannabis, and 30 percent oppose legalization.

Results of the informal poll, which covers a range of policy issues, are shared with lawmakers to help inform them of constituent views.

“While the new House poll is non-scientific in that it didn’t use random sampling, it did have a very large sample size of about 7,110 State Fair attendees,” Kyle Jaeger reported for Marijuana Moment. “And of the 12 questions on various policy proposals, marijuana legalization proved to be more popular than several other issues, including legalizing gambling, giving police officers bonuses, instituting a school voucher system, creating a permanent absentee voter list and replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day.”

Legalization has become an issue in the governor’s race leading up to the November midterm elections. In an interview with the Star Tribune at the State Fair, Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Jensen voiced support for getting cannabis legalization on the ballot so that voters could decide. The former state Senator also said state lawmakers should consider decriminalizing “trivial amounts” of THC-rich cannabis and expunging prior records.

Incumbent Governor Tim Walz (D), has been vocal about supporting recreational use with a regulated market and recommended funding for a new Cannabis Management Office in their January 2022 budget proposal, signaling that it’s a high priority.

The final budget, which took effect July 1, didn’t include a Cannabis Management Office but did create a legal market for edibles and drinks with moderate amounts of THC from hemp.

Walz said of the edibles law: ”It's where Minnesotans want us to be, and we need to move in that direction,” the Star Tribune reported in July.

Voters in Several States Will Decide on Recreational Use This Fall

Minnesota doesn’t have a ballot initiative this fall, so legalization will depend on who's elected. But voters will weigh in directly on cannabis legalization in several other states, according to MJBizDaily.

  • Maryland: State lawmakers decided last April to put the question before voters this fall.
  • Missouri: Legalization advocates submitted about 214,000 to the secretary of state to get the question on the ballot.
  • North Dakota: Advocates for legalization collected nearly 26,000 signatures in its successful effort to get adult-use legalization on the November ballot.
  • Arkansas: The state’s Supreme Court gave conditional approval for residents to vote on a constitutional amendment allowing sales to adults. However, a legal challenge could prevent the votes from being counted, according to MJBizDaily.
  • Oklahoma: Advocates submitted ample signatures and were certified by the secretary of state’s office, but the initiative is in dispute and being reviewed by the state’s Supreme Court.