Minnesotans on the possibility of legalizing recreational marijuana | Minnesota Public Radio News

Minnesotans on the possibility of legalizing recreational marijuana

Minnesotans share their opinions on recreational marijuana.

    From your perspective, what are the pros and cons of legalizing recreational marijuana?
    “Eliminating an underground economy. Huge tax revenues. Freedom of choice. I do not see a downside to this. Releasing people with prison sentences.” — Brian Lonely, St. Paul
    “First and foremost, it would decriminalize and expunge records. It is a travesty of justice that people have been jailed for decades for use of marijuana! It is not near as destructive as alcohol in our society. In fact, there are many significant benefits to this plant that go way beyond getting "high." There would also be very positive financial benefits realized by the state with legalization.” — Tom Gray, Crosby
    “Pros: more tax revenue so I don't have to pay so much to go to college. Also, like, it's a plant. It's stupid it's illegal in the first place. Cons: corporations copywriting cannabis.” — Stephan Jacobson, St. Cloud
    “There are really no pros to the legalization of any recreational drug.” — Joel Brand, Richfield
    “Pro: decriminalizing a substance that had no reason to be criminalized in the first place. Marijuana has a multitude of benefits for both physical and mental health. Con: it takes time and effort to find a system that works, especially given it is still illegal on a federal level.” — Kristen Schaefer

    “Pro: increases revenue for the state. People with pain and inflammation will have other options for treatments. Cons: more stoners.” — Rus Poser
    “Legalize and collect taxes on something that's probably less worse than alcohol.” — James Harbal
    “Free up overflowing jails. Lower opioid and prescription drug use. Helps people sleep, apatite problems, PTSD, numerous other health problems. Great source of tax income. Help take it out of criminals hands. Would help lower its taboo in households and get people discussing more the negatives it does to younger people. More personal freedom. Help lower racial profiling. Help lower addiction with other harmful drugs and alcohol. Clear up criminal records that harm innocent people.” — Joseph Peterson
    “Cons: There are a lot of people that have received a tremendous amount of misinformation whom the information would need to be corrected in order to gain buy-in. Additionally, the logistics are complicated and would need to be sorted out. Pros: the health benefits are too many to enumerate, it's a solution to beating the opioid epidemic, it’s healthier than alcohol which is abused recreationally today.” — Amanda Silter

    “Pros: Pain relief for many. Sleep relief for many. Appetite stimulant for those in cancer treatment. Eliminates a cause of egregious incarceration if people of color. An exciting new business/cultural opportunity. If Minnesota is to be competitive with other states, this is part of the mix. (We’re like the Oregon on the Midwest?) Tax revenue. Cons: Driver safety campaign will be needed. Should be kept from teens/kids (edibles in particular). — Chuck Olsen, Minneapolis
    “Tax revenue boost and law enforcement can focus on actual crime.” — Mark Mershon
    “There are mental health concerns as marijuana can exasperated these symptoms. Also developmental concerns. There is also evidence it can cause paranoia and psychosis. I hope there are strict laws of selling to those under 21. Impact on lung health? What real research has been done regarding safety? Ask the U if M Additions doctors.” — Deb Rasmussen
    “There's no reason not to legalize it. People aren't going to stop smoking just because it is illegal and we might as well tax the hell out of it and fund our schools, roads, health care. We have great examples of post legalization in Colorado and the west coast and they have yet to turn into burning hellscapes.” — Lukas Johnson
    “Pros: 1) Reduce black market. 2) Regulation for product safety. 3) Taxation. 4) Reduce inequality of enforcement, minorities and poor more likely to be searched and fined or arrested. Cons 1) May increase usage by perceived safety. 2) Uncertainty over safe recreational usage. 3) Uncertainty over risks while driving or use in employment situations. 4) Increased risks for people with mental health issues.” — Tom Ruen, Columbia Heights
    “Pros-tax revenue, end of double standard with alcohol, decriminalization.” — Greta Potzmann
    “Legalization would create jobs, increase revenue for adjacent industry (electrical, security, HVAC, real estate). It would also free up police forces to go after fentanyl dealers, meth dealers, heroin dealers and other drugs that kill people — cannabis has never killed anyone ever.” — Nathan Holmgard
    “Pros: stop putting otherwise good citizens in jail. Social cost of pot smoking is almost non existent. Cost of enforcing prohibition is monumental. Ridiculous that pot is a crime but alcohol and tobacco with much higher social costs are illegal. Cons: maybe more pot smoking overall.  Maybe more kids have access though I am not certain evidence supports that.” — Scott Peterson
    “Pros: regulation and tax revenue. Cons: it stinks. Literally, pot smells awful. The production and consumption both stink.” — Catherine Heck
    “Pros: Increase tax revenue. Lower police costs. Less black market sales issues, ie. robbery and murder. More personal liberty. Less negative impact on POC who use at a similar rate as white but are disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. Cons: I worry that zoning issues will force sales to lower income areas and the profits going back to high income areas.” — Joe Cheney
    “Pros: Increased Tax revenue, offers medication alternatives, improves quality of life: we as a society can stop treating good, honest, hard working citizens like criminals because they enjoy marijuana! I have always been puzzled that alcohol (which has far more negative side effects) is legal and marijuana is illegal. WHY?” — JJ Gram
    “The state will have more money for necessities. Crime will decrease. People will be happy.  Opioid users can “rewire” their brains. Alcohol use decreases. It’s an anxiety reliever. Great sleep occurs. No one dies from it. Critters in the wild eat it when they need it. God put the herb on this earth to be used in peace. No cons. Anyone who is going to be a lazy pothead already are with or without it being legal.  It never should have been illegal.” — Melinda Bakke VanDyne
    “Pros: Not having to interact with suspicious people to acquire it / Increased safety. A more tolerant / less puritanical society. Freedom to have whatever chemical you deem fit to have in your own body. Cons: Drug dealers will have less business (con for them, pro for society).” — Tristan Roth
    “Pros: Health benefits, tax benefits, and much safer than alcohol. Cons: not getting tax dollars.” — Lori Blair
    “Pros: tax revenue, less people unnecessarily involved in the justice system, it is less of a problem than alcohol and that is legal.” — Jeff Pounds
    “Pros: regulation and tax revenue. Cons: abuse, driving while impaired.” — Kari Heitz
    “Pros: Regulated (safety, potency), decriminalized (public safety dollars better spent elsewhere); less socially damaging than alcohol, cigarettes/vaping, opioids. Cons: Would kids turn to harder drugs to be rebels?” — John Branstad
    “I am already a medical marijuana patient and this would expand my VERY limited options.” — Kevin Mcbride
    “I really believe it helped my mother through her chemotherapy treatments!! It saved her life.” — Darrell Seki Jr.
    “As a teacher, I will have to deal with much more marijuana and CBD use than I already do. I worry about the legal ease of accessibility for students, especially with edibles and the ability to vape THC very discreetly.” — Eric Cameron
    “Pros: no stigma, easier access for users, overall decriminalization. Cons: taco prices likely increase due to higher demand.” — Jon M.
    “Eliminate the inherently dangerous "drug deal" and replace with well lit, safe marketplace. That marketplace would check buyer RealID to verify the purchaser is of legal age. Then product that has been tested for contaminants like pesticides and mold is sold. The money exchanged is subject to taxes and the people employed pay into Social Security and Medicare. The workers also have health care. The money is diverted from the underground illegal market and pays dividends to proprietors and investors who then contribute to the community. Legalization brings light and transparency to an activity that is already well established. Prevention education is advanced beyond the ‘It's illegal, just say no’ to an honest and truly informative discussion, more like the the way it is with tobacco now.” — Mike Kistler
    “By legalizing marijuana the state will be able to generate tax revenues. That's a plus for any state. More people who could benefit from medical marijuana but can't afford to buy medical marijuana or don't qualify for the card will be able to buy recreational marijuana and use it legally. It has been proven to help with chronic pain and I for one would rather use marijuana instead of opiates and so would many other people. There are no cons.” — Jody Hoffman
    “Pros: we could begin to escape from the absurdity of our current situation and hopefully expunge the records of many people whose lives have been ruined by unjust and racist application of current drug policies. Cons: it's probably just going to turn into a way for white people to make themselves richer while continuing to hurt poor people of color.” — Cara Weston
    “The pro’s include: Personal liberty. Controlled and regulated marketplace for adults. Tax revenue. Improves law enforcement by allowing them to focus on actual crimes. Lower rates of usage amongst minors as demonstrated by high rates of compliance with ID verification prior to sales and evidenced by the ONDCP’s Monitoring the Future survey which shows youth rates have decreased in Colorado and Washington. Cons: Strong economic growth. Likely population growth. Strains on affordable housing.” — Chris Kurle, Brooklyn Park
    “If approved tax it at 50 percent and require all electronic payment methods to track all sales. The cash model leads to fraud and under reporting to avoid paying taxes.” — Frederick Mckeen
    “Cons: Impaired driving; young people have enough temptations and pitfalls to deal with, so adding another intoxicating drug at their disposal won’t help them grow up to be thriving adults. Decriminalizing is OK, to reduce the mass incarceration plague.” — Marty Cormack
    “Be able to grow your own medicine not have to trust others with your home relaxation aid. — LaDel Sward
    “From my perspective I would have to say that the pros definitely outweigh the cons. By allowing adults of legal drinking age to purchase cannabis products that are regulated, taxed, and accessible, the state of Minnesota could be a pioneer in the Midwest. I feel that some Minnesota residents may be concerned regarding the accessibility of these product, especially in the younger populations. While I don’t have any statistics, I can explain that having safer cannabis on the market can actually help to prevent some teenagers from smoking cannabis that may have additional chemicals in the product — the actual plant could have been grown with who knows what fertilizer and by the time it reaches his hand, who’s to say what strain and genetic profile it is? Teenagers will smoke cannabis, as they will drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. While my argument may not be 100 percent sound, I think there’s a bit of validity in every day observations.” — James Kreutzer
    “Marijuana enforcement disproportionately targets communities of color, and presents our state with an addition revenue stream to help address the existing achievement gaps in communities of color.” — Drew Nelson
    “No pros. Increased marijuana use will eventually be a law enforcement and medical nightmare costing Minnesota citizens much more than the taxes it produces and untold misery to many.” — Mark Busta
    “Banning Marijuana hasn't worked. On the contrary, it has made the drug more available to teenagers. Legalize Marijuana, but treat it like alcohol, because it remains dangerous: high taxes, age limits, traffic controls, public information campaigns.” — Peter Tobias, Minneapolis
    “Cons: Increase the amount of driving under the influence. Gateway drug to other more serious drugs. Because it has been an illegal drug there is no research determining what the long term health and brain function effects are. More youth will have access to this drug than have access now. We currently don’t have enough mental health and drug counselors so adding another addictive drug that’s legal will compound the shortage. I don’t think there are any pros to marijuana legalization.” — Sue Grafstrom
    Comment ()
    From your perspective, what are the pros and cons of legalizing recreational marijuana?
    "Pros: removing the stigma and criminality of possession, purchase and consumption; potential revenue and jobs within the state of Minnesota. Being able to purchase like one would tobacco or alcohol. Potential tourist draw. Cons: many details to talk through. Still illegal at federal level. Unsure if state is willing and able to undertake studies with no assistance from the feds. Concerns about equity within a recreational marijuana industry. Product safety and purity. Leaving out those who were previously convicted of or plead guilty to marijuana-related offenses." — Nate Atkinson, Minneapolis 
    "The legislature is debating to issues. The first is reducing distracted driving by banning handheld cell phones use. The second is increasing distracted and impaired driving by legalizing marijuana use. What are they thinking?" — Jeff Johnson
    "Freedom. Health, especially with opioids. Economics jobs. Help end over policing." — Sarah Wellington
    "New tax revenue; safer alternative to alcohol; less power for drug cartels; new cash crop for Minnesota farmers; new pain control alternative and chance to finally do some real research on this." — Jill Wenzel, Burnsville
    "Non-smoking teetotaler here. Pros: Although research indicates that marijuana is not safe, it is safer than both alcohol and tobacco, so legalization will take the crime out of it. No cons: Where marijuana is legal, usage has not gone up indicating that people already have ready access to it." — Mitch Ross
    "For those that have chronic painful diseases. This is the only right thing to do. The current medical marijuana program is a joke. Insurance doesn’t cover it. You have to pay an annual fee of a couple hundred dollars to receive the privilege of being legally extorted by the dispensaries. Compassion and empathy would cause any human with a heart to vote for and approve this bill on that one issue alone." — Kevin Kempf
    "Huge con: I find it irresponsible to consider legalizing before have reliable and valid mechanism to test for "intoxicated" driving. Adding risk to our roads, for what benefit? And sadly ironic: this push for legalized marijuana while "distracted driving" (on phone or texting) is rightly gaining such legislative energy in our state. Then there's the known lung disease and health care cost issue, though the case can be made that it doesn't need to be smoked." — Margaret Isom
    Comment ()
    Pros: Cannabis is a much milder drug than alcohol, and has fewer side effects. Tax revenue for the state will be off the charts if the legislature gets it right.

    Cons: Conservatives who pride themselves on the rights of individuals will be hysterical about granting additional rights to adults. Cannabis, while it has some positive aspects is still not as healthy as abstaining. On the other hand junk food is also not health, and from the looks of american waistlines, abstinence is not wide spread
    Comment ()
    From your perspective, what are the pros and cons of legalizing recreational marijuana?
    "Pros: Decriminalize and expunge the record for low-level offenders. Provides some social justice for how unequal the enforcement has been and how it has negatively impacted our black communities. Provides new tax revenues for the state. The illegal market provides funding/avenues for more serious crimes like human trafficking. Cons: Grandma be trippin. — Ryan Unalmiser
    "Pros: Economic growth.  Bringing laws in line with common practices. Cons: Impaired driving, though I don't think it will be the issue some fear." — Paul Molina
    "That's the wrong question. The only issue is whether or not legal, taxed and regulated cannabis is better than an illegal, unregulated, and un-taxed black market marijuana. The answer is a no-brainer. No one's dying from consuming cannabis flowers. People are getting shot and killed buying and selling outrageously over-priced illegal weed. Philando Castille, who was driving around with a loaded handgun in his pants pocket, was at least partially a victim of marijuana prohibition, and many others have experienced gun violence in illegal marijuana transactions gone bad. There are no cons to legalizing cannabis for adult use.  Prohibition is a proven failure." — Sheldon Gitis, St. Paul
    "Pros: revenue increased for our state who spends a lot on helping people already. My epilepsy stopped being an issue once I smoked marijuana. It's a kick to the black market and could help regulate our economy. Violent crime should drop. Cons: The federal government can shut it down at any time." — Andrew Scullin
    "To give patients and the public a better non-toxic choice over alcohol and prescription and street drugs and curb the opioid crisis. Tax and regulate increased, revenue for Minnesota." — John Mcgary
    "A big pro I haven't seen others mention yet: I'd heard that marijuana was the only way to get out from under an opioid addiction without a doctor/prescription being involved, which intrigued me, and then, months later, it was confirmed legitimate by an acquaintance of mine.  He admitted that his spouse had suggested he use marijuana to try to get rid of his prescription-opioid addiction, and he did, and it was successful, the only thing of many that he had tried, that worked." — Robin Pierce
    Comment ()

    From your perspective, what would the pros and cons be of legalizing recreational marijuana?

    "The main issue is the reason for prohibition in the first place. As was shown with the failed prohibition of alcohol. The only deaths directly related to cannabis, are caused by prohibition, and lead by the fear of getting caught." — Jeremy Moen
    Comment ()

    What impact do you think legalization would have on your life?

    "Zero, never used, don't currently know anyone who does. I wouldn't want to live with someone who smokes anything. My brother died at age 38 in relation to opioid overdosing in 2006, and used marijuana. I don't think the legal status work affect my disapproval." — Tom Ruen, Columbia Heights, pro-legalization
    "I might be able to reduce or come off of my VA disability." — Nathan Holmgard, pro-legalization
    "I have no interest in marijuana consumption personally; immediate personal impact is minimal. However, there is potential for net benefit depending upon the allocation of resultant revenue. Colorado applies revenue to education, which benefits all of society." — Catherine Heck, pro-legalization
    "Risk of people driving while high." — Frederick Mckeen, against legalization
    "With the stringent drug testing I am part of at my government job I don’t think I would be able to use marijuana recreationally." Joe Cheney, pro-legalization
    "More fun." — Greta Potzmann, pro-legalization
    "I'd rather give the state money to fix infrastructure than to a person who just drove back from Colorado after purchasing from a dispensary there and that state reaping all the benefits." — Melinda Bakke VanDyne, pro-legalization
    "The impact is obvious, it’s more convenient to acquire weed in a store setting. And fun. But more importantly, this is a sovereignty issue. If you cant possess or utilize a plant, are you really free? Marijuana and hemp have shown to have so many benefits for years, and, because of big industry and politicians sleeping together it’s been used as a weapon against the poor. It’s not just about getting high legally, this is a human rights issue." — Tristan Roth, pro-legalization
    "I ride bicycle and avoiding car drivers distracted or drunk is bad enough, now having to worry about stoned drivers too?" — Marty Cormack, against legalization
    "A ton! I use every day medicinally and that gets expensive. If I could cultivate my own? That would be a game changer." — Kevin Mcbride, pro-legalization
    "Very positive; The simple fact that I could go into a dispensary and get some and walk right out without being judged or criticized? Now that's awesome!" — L. V N, pro-legalization
    "I really believe it helped my mother through her chemotherapy treatments! It saved her life." — Darrell Seki Jr., pro-legalization
    "As a teacher, I will have to deal with much more marijuana and CBD use than I already do. I worry about the legal ease of accessibility for students, especially with edibles and the ability to vape THC very discreetly." — Eric Cameron, undecided
    "It will allow me to purchase and possess and use it legally for my terminal lung disease instead of opiates for the pain and it has a benefit for reducing the inflammation in my lungs. I don't qualify for the card so I either risk arrest or I suffer." — Jody Hoffman, pro-legalization
    "The state would gain a massive budget surplus that could better fund programs we really need, like universal pre-K, child care support, and investment in green jobs, and perhaps improve the paid parental and sick leave provisions for state employees." — Cara Weston, pro-legalization
    "It would be great to have the opportunity to choose a substance safer than alcohol from a regulated retailer and pay taxes." — Chris Kurle, pro-legalization
    "I wouldn’t have any personal impacts on my life, but I have several friends and family members who use marijuana for recreational and health benefits and it would make me feel a lot better knowing they are able to purchase what we believe is a harmless drug safely and not illegally on the streets." — K.C., pro-legalization
    Comment ()
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