Separate polls conducted by the House and the Senate in Minnesota have suggested broad support for the legalization of recreational cannabis use.
The 2019 House of Representatives State Fair Poll found that 56.3% of Minnesotans favour marijuana being legalized for anyone aged 21 or over. Just 33.8% opposed it, while 9.9% were undecided. A total of 11,239 fairgoers took the poll.
The 2019 State Fair Opinion Poll yielded almost identical results. In total, 55% of the 6,900 people polled said they would support recreational cannabis legalization, while 35.8% opposed it and 9.2% were either undecided or expressed no opinion on the matter.
It is worth noting that three-fifths of the state fair attendees were aged 50 or over, and that marijuana legalization is generally more popular among younger generations. That could mean any eventual vote is skewed even further in favour of legalization.
Gov. Tim Walz has instructed state departments to prepare for legalization in 2020. “My agencies have been tasked to put all of the building blocks in place, from Revenue to the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health,” he said.
Walz added that Minnesota will be ready to go and that a legal cannabis framework can be implemented as soon as the legislature moves to permit it.
Rep. Ryan Winkler, the leader of the House, which is controlled by a Democratic majority, said he will sponsor a legalization bill next year. He plans to visit 15 cities and towns across the state to canvas opinions before framing the bill.
However, several Republicans that control Senate oppose legalization and they could derail the bid to see a regulated recreational cannabis industry introduced in Minnesota.
On Mar. 8, 2019, the Senate Republicans voted down a measure to legalize marijuana for recreational use, while deciding against creating a taskforce to study the issue further.
Minnesota has had a legal medical marijuana industry since 2015. It has been partially decriminalized, as minor possession is just considered a petty misdemeanour, but Republicans are concerned about fully legalizing adult-use cannabis. Advocates say the voters should decide.