Some States Still Struggling with Legalizing Marijuana

It seems like every day a new state is coming out with their own efforts to legalize marijuana in some form or another. It might surprise you to learn that there are also still many states that are struggling to come to terms with the issue.

Take Minnesota for example …

Once again, legislation is before the state House of Representatives that would establish a program to legalize medical marijuana. Like other states that have already done this, patients would need to obtain a physicians recommendation in order to be able to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana. They tried to do this once before but were thwarted by then Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty who vetoed the bill after it was passed by both state legislative houses.

Fast forward to today …

According to a survey taken late last year

Researchers found 76 percent of respondents favor legalizing medical marijuana, while 20 percent oppose it and 4 percent don’t know. The 2013 survey was conducted Oct. 20-27 and was based on responses from 626 people across the state, with a margin of error of 4.5 percent. The survey found Minnesotans nearly evenly split on whether to legalize marijuana for general use. Forty-six percent support making recreational marijuana legal, while 48 percent oppose it and 6 percent don’t know.” (read more here: Kare11)

Along with voters securely supporting the legalization of no less than medicinal marijuana, the state is also now being led by Democratic Governor Mark Dayton who has already said that he is open to signing the bill should it pass.

So what’s holding it back you ask? While Governor Dayton has said he’d sign the bill, he has put a condition on that. He won’t do it without the consent of at least some of the state’s law enforcement agencies. While there are many police officers and police organizations that have come out supporting the legalization of marijuana, none of them happen to live in Minnesota. They haven’t gotten one group to sign on to it. Of course the official reason is pretty typical.

Their opposition, according to a report in local paper St. Cloud Times, is based on fears that marijuana’s medical benefits are still unproven, that any legalization effort will increase the drug’s availability to kids and that the bill is too broad in listing qualifying conditions. (read more here: Huffington Post)

But wait until you hear what the head of another police agency said. You might want to sit down for this one …

The head of one police agency put it another way: He openly admitted that he was worried legalizing weed for medical purposes might make it harder for police to get federal drug war dollars. Minnesota receives millions in anti-drug money from the White House every year, and asset seizures from drug raids have become an integral part of state police budgets, Politics In Minnesota reported earlier this month. (read more here: Huffington Post)

 That’s right … He said it. Their opposition to legalization has nothing to do with the health and safety of the citizens of Minnesota. Instead, like most of us already know, it’s all about money. But I’m honestly wondering why no one is jumping on this. It seems like it should be obvious that these agencies will take a financial hit when the federal government finally accepts defeat and cedes the drug war, but when the head of any law enforcement agency comes right out and says that they need “asset seizures from drug raids” to fund their operations there’s an even bigger problem. I suggest that it is time these agencies start learning how to do without drug war funds because, whether they want it to or not, it will be coming to an end. However, if I were a resident of Minnesota, I would not only call for this officers immediate termination since he clearly does not have the best interest of the citizens at heart, but I would also demand an immediate audit of drug raids, asset seizures and arrests that have been conducted under his watch. Someone should be investigating whether or not these “assets” were obtained in good faith or just to bring in revenue.