August 13, 2022

POWER HIT: How a Republican accidentally legalized cannabis edibles in Minnesota

POWER HIT: How a Republican accidentally legalized cannabis edibles in Minnesota

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Republican incompetence has helped pass a Minnesota bill legalizing THC edibles and beverages – and Rep. Ilhan Omar(D-MN), along with fellow MN Democrats — are here for it. After the bill passed, State Senator Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) laughed and said “That doesn’t legalize marijuana – we didn’t just do that.” In response, Omar tweeted:

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Ken Martin, Chair of the Minnesota Democratic-Farm-Labor-Party and DNC Vice-Chair, called out the lack of due diligence from the Republican party:

Included in the Health and Human Services Funding bill, edibles and beverages can contain up to 5mg of THC per serving. That’s about half of the typical 10mg in states with legalized recreational use. The bill passed unanimously in the Republican-controlled legislature and Abeler admits he thought the bill was regulating Delta 8 – a supposedly less potent version of THC. Told the Star-Tribune, “I thought we were doing a  technical fix and it winded up having a broader impact than I expected.”

There’s been relative silence from the Minnesota Republicans following Abeler’s faux pas. Accidental or not, the legalization of recreational marijuana has been gaining ground in recent years – even in Red states.

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As of June 2022, 38 states have legalized medical marijuana use and 19 states for recreational use. These states are now reaping serious economic benefits. CNET reports that the state of California has raked in almost $300 million in just the first quarter of 2022. And in 2021, U.S. sales of recreational – and legal – sales of cannabis surpassed $15 billion.

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In 2019, Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) introduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act.  It finally passed the House in April of this year on a party-line vote. MORE would not only see the legalization of marijuana on a federal level but “expunge the records of nonviolent offenders and fund social and criminal-justice programs in communities most impacted by over-policing,” according to CNET.

Sen. Abeler’s suggestion that the legislature roll back the decision isn’t likely to happen. House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) called the idea of a rollback “ridiculous.” Just two months prior, the Senate blocked a vote to legalize marijuana in the state amidst criticism that other legislators say is against the will of a majority of Minnesota voters.

Thanks to the laziness of Minnesota Republicans, advocation for legalizing marijuana and the decriminalization of recreational cannabis use are one step closer to reality. Let’s hope the trend continues.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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