Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (Democratic–Farmer–Labor) said state Republicans need to actually look at cannabis legalization bills before they reject them.
Walz ripped into state Republicans after the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee killed a bill that would have legalized recreational cannabis in Minnesota. In his remarks, the governor accused Republican committee members of rejecting the measure without actually taking anytime to discuss the matter.
"What we got is a kind of Kabuki dance yesterday with a couple cherry-picked witnesses and a declaration today that the cannabis issue is dead," Walz told the Pioneer Press. "A few dozen senators who weren't up for re-election last year determined that we aren't going to talk about it anymore."
While Walz insists that Minnesota Republicans failed to live up to a promise that they would give cannabis legalization a fair chance, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said that wasn't the case.
"The Governor has a right to his opinion to legalize marijuana, but it is not a priority of the Minnesota Senate. Our priorities are lowering healthcare costs, fixing our roads and bridges, and balancing the budget without raising taxes."
But Walz said he isn't prepared to give up the fight for cannabis legalization just yet. Now that "the Senate chose to shut everything down" he is considering putting together a governor's task force to look into legalization.
"We haven't left this. We kind of feel like there's a whole bunch of folks out there who think this would make sense."
And with the Republican-controlled Senate having made it pretty clear that they have no interest in moving towards cannabis reform anytime soon, it seems likely that Walz will need to do something if he ever wants to see legalization in Minnesota.