By INIGO 'NAUGHTY' ZENICAZELAYA
Seeing how the legalisation and decriminalisation, of marijuana seems to be the hot topic throughout all the land, with opinions from various sections of the voting populous abounding everywhere.
As we continue to craft policy on, legalising and decriminalising marijuana in The Bahamas, the state of Minnesota offers yet another viable model, which should be studied before our final submission as a nation on marijuana reform are complete.
It might take a while for Minnesota to pass its cannabis legalisation proposal, but when it does it should be a good one. House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (no relation to Henry Winkler aka ‘Fonzi’) has bragged: “I’m bringing forward the best legalisation bill in the country to date.”
Also stating that its creators are learning from the successes and missteps of the 11 states that have legalised marijuana thus far.
(We should also as a nation.)
The state’s politicians have once again announced their intent to pass cannabis regulation, and are forecasting the introduction of the bill among the first days of the legislative session, which opens next week.
However, they can’t say that they expect their plan to come to fruition this year.
There’s the matter of the cannabis adverse, Republican-controlled State Senate.
Any plan for marijuana legalisation may also have to pass up to 23 committees to even make it to a floor vote, added Winkler.
(We have several more hurdles to leap as a nation in this regard also).
THE SILVER LINING
Where’s the silver lining?
Similar to The Bahamas, Minnesota has taken its time to affect legislative change, the state’s cannabis advocates have had an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the 11 states that have so far legalised the drug.
(We can also learn from the US states that have done so already, and from our neighbours in the Caribbean region).
Primary on their list of things to improve are ensuring that local producers take top priority in any fledgling cannabis industry.
Winkler also commented passionately in this regard.
“People want this to be a Minnesota-based, craft-type industry as far as possible.
Republican leadership is not at all convinced that this would be a good thing. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka told a reporter
“There was nothing good that would come out of [cannabis legalisation].”
Gazelka has expressed concerns over driving under the influence, and even cannabis’ effects on mental health and homelessness rates.
However, Democrats say Gazelka and his peers may find themselves on the wrong side of history.
“The people of Minnesota will roll over them eventually on issues like this,” said Winkler.
“So they can decide to be speed bumps, or they can decide to be active participants in crafting policy.”
More food for thought ‘Doc’.
Part 2 next week