Minnesota’s governor says that Iowa adults are welcome to visit his state, catch a baseball game and buy marijuana under the state’s newly implemented legalization law.
In an interview with Iowa PBS that aired on Friday, Gov. Tim Walz (D) was asked whether Iowa residents could visit his state and participate in the cannabis market while their own state maintains prohibition.
Walz started by saying that “prohibition doesn’t work,” that marijuana enforcement has disproportionately impacted Black communities and that the “illicit cannabis trade is also now dangerous with fentanyl and xylazine and some of the other things we see on the streets.”
But now that Minnesota has legalized marijuana for adults 21 and older, Iowans are free to take a trip across the state border to partake in its marketplace, though there’s currently only two tribally owned cannabis shops that are operational as regulators work to license traditional retailers, which isn’t expected to happen until at least 2024.
Walz even gave Iowa adults some pointers if they’re considering visiting.
“Iowans are certainly welcome to come up and enjoy a baseball game or Vikings game or whatever they want to do,” he said. “They can partake legally in [cannabis] just like anything else. You can’t drive. If you’re in a position where your employer [drug] tests, you need to make sure you’re clear on that.”
Watch Walz’s comments on marijuana, starting around 19:40 into the video below:
“But the biggest thing on this is, once again, trusting Minnesotans—or trusting, in this case, we hope Iowa goes along, too—trusting Americans to make some of these own decisions, whether it’s your health care or, whether it’s the case of this, as an adult to be able to use recreational cannabis,” the governor said.
Iowa, which is now bordered by three legal marijuana states, isn’t the only place in the region from where adults might be making trips to Minnesota following the reform move. Adults in neighboring Wisconsin, where GOP lawmakers have consistently resisted legalization, may also take advantage of their proximity to the North Star State, as they’ve been doing in Illinois.
“Quite honestly, it goes about this freedom issue. I trust adults to make their own decisions,” Walz said. “I have a 16-year-old and a 22-year-old. I’m not encouraging them to use cannabis, but once they reach an age of 21, they have the right to do that.”
Walz has strongly embraced the legalization law that took effect August 1, and he’s dismissed pushback from the GOP minority who have asked him to convene a special session to address what they’ve described as “loopholes” around policies related to underage possession and public consumption.
He said on Tuesday that Republicans need to stop spreading “misinformation” about the law, defending the “thoughtful piece of legislation” that the Democratic majority in the legislature delivered this session.”
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While shops aren’t expected to open for at least another year, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura said last week that he wants to get in on the action, too, and become the “first major politician in America” to have his face on a marijuana brand.
The law also formally created the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), which launched last month. It will be the primary regulatory body that will oversee the market and for which the governor is actively seeking an executive director.
Another body that has been instituted is the Cannabis Expungement Board, which will facilitate record sealing for people with eligible marijuana convictions on their records. The review process for eligible cases commenced last week.
Even before Walz signed the reform bill, the state launched a website that serves as a hub for information about the new law. Officials have also already started soliciting vendors to help build a licensing system for recreational marijuana businesses.
A separate Minnesota law also took effect last week that legalizes drug paraphernalia possession, syringe services, controlled substances residue and testing.
Also, a Minnesota government psychedelics task force is being built out to prepare the state for the possible legalization of substances like psilocybin and ibogaine. But even though appointments to the panel are behind schedule and it missed a deadline to hold its first meeting by August 1, the lawmaker who championed its creation says he isn’t worried about the delays.
Photo courtesy of Max Pixel.
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