New Polls Find Support For Legalization in Minnesota

Marijuana might be getting closer to legalization in Minnesota, according to the results of two recent polls. Minnesotans from both political parties voiced support of legalizing marijuana, though some disparities exist in how the support falls across party lines, according to the different surveys.

The first survey by KSTP and SurveyUSA showed 57 percent of respondents are in support of legalization in Minnesota, with 62 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of Independents and 52 percent of Republicans voicing support for cannabis legalization.

The Star Tribune, MPR News and KARE 11 created the second survey. It also showed a majority of Minnesota residents support legalization, but this poll’s margin was smaller at 53 percent.

Support Varies Across Political Party Lines

In the second survey, Democrats and Independents had increased support for cannabis legalization, with 70 percent and 60 percent of respondents showing support, respectively. However, Republicans did not respond favorably for legalization of cannabis in The Star Tribune, MPR News and KARE 11 survey, with only 29 percent of respondents approving of the proposed change.

Results from this survey did show that almost every age demographic in Minnesota supported cannabis legalization except for those in the 65 years and older category, with only 47 percent in that age group showing support of legalized weed.

The only other demographic that opposed marijuana legislation are “those who describe themselves as very conservative, who oppose legalization by a 20 point margin,” according to results from KSTP/SurveyUSA.

Governor Supports Legalization

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, has supported marijuana legislation in the past. He recently signed a law that provides permanent protection to let cannabis businesses legally market their products, like cannabis edibles and cannabis-infused drinks that contain CBD. He supports a state-regulated legal cannabis market, and has included such issues in his budgetary proposals.

“A majority of Minnesotans favor marijuana legalization, so it doesn’t surprise me that they also support THC and cannabis products,” Steven Schier, a political analyst from Carleton College, told KSTP.

Even the governor’s opponent, Republican former state Sen. Scott Jensen, has shown some support for decriminalization. He told The Star Tribune he thinks Minnesota should decriminalize “trivial amounts” of marijuana and expunge criminal records for those convicted of possessing small amounts. Any additional cannabis legalization legislation should be decided by Minnesota voters, he told the Tribune.

Previous attempts to approve cannabis legalization in Minnesota happened thanks to a bill drafted by House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, a Democrat. The bill made it through 12 committees and won approval from the Minnesota House of Representatives, but the measure never made it past the state’s Republican-controlled Senate. Previous legalization efforts in the state were proposed in a bipartisan effort by Jensen and fellow Democrat Sen. Melisa López Franzen in 2019, but it did not pass.

Though cannabis legalization is not on the ballot in Minnesota this November, with so much public support and frequent marijuana-related proposals from the state’s politicians and candidates, it is still possible for the future.

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