Recreational Marijuana Creates Buzz on Campaign Trail for Governor

September 18, 2018 10:19 PM

Medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota, but allowing recreational marijuana use for adults is an issue the candidates have been talking about on the campaign trail for Minnesota governor.

A KSTP/SurveyUSA poll conducted earlier this month found 56 percent of registered voters said they would support legalization of recreational marijuana for residents over 21-years-old, while 35 percent said no, and 10 percent were not sure.


KSTP 2018 Election Coverage

"I trust adults to make their own decisions," said Tim Walz, DFL Candidate for Governor.

Walz once called it “Pot for Potholes” at a previous candidate forum.

Walz supported medical marijuana and feels the state could legalize recreational use and tax the product.

"Let's make sure it's regulated,” Walz said. “Let’s make sure people who want to… use it in a responsible manner and the state benefits."        

"I don't support legalization of recreational,” said Republican Jeff Johnson. “Even though I've got a pretty strong liberty bent to me."

Johnson said he would like to examine how marijuana crimes are punished in the state.

"I also don't think however people should be using up jail space because they smoked pot on their own without hurting anyone, maybe a move towards decriminalization," Johnson said.

More from KSTP:

Survey Shows Nearly 1 in 11 U.S. Students Have Used Marijuana in E-Cigarettes

LeafLine Labs Makes Changes to Stop Future Medical Marijuana Shortages

Corona Brewer Boosts Stake in Marijuana Producer for $4B

USDA Approves Drug Made from Marijuana for Treating Epilepsy 

University of Minnesota Political Science Professor Kathryn Pearson said the future of marijuana in the state could be determined by the results of the Minnesota House elections.

"The Minnesota State Senate is not up for re-election, so we know we'll have a republican controlled senate, the house is quite competitive," Pearson said.

Any new governor would have to get their possible policy change through the house since the issue is not up for a public vote, so party makeup of that chamber leaning one way or the other could be key, Pearson said.

"I think it really depends on what happens with the elections this fall," said Pearson.

The Campaign for Full Legalization polled candidates for Minnesota’s House on their positions on a variety of issues including legalization, criminal expungement and if they support home growing.

"It surprises me that incumbents in safe districts are still afraid to like...state their position publicly," said Executive Director for the Minnesota Campaign for Full Legalization, Marcus Harcus. “A lot of the people think the Republicans are against it, there are some who get it and support it."

Of those registered voters who supported legalization, 61 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 57 percent independents and 47 percent were Republicans in the KSTP/SurveyUSA poll.

The poll of 920 “registered voters” was conducted Sept. 6 to 8, statewide, and has a margin of error of +-4.0 percent. The KSTP/SurveyUSA found those registered voters polled, the most support for legalization came from western Minnesota and the Twin Cities. Most of the opposition came from southern Minnesota.


Eric Chaloux

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


Walz extends Twin Cities curfew for 2 more nights

VIDEO: George Floyd's family demands charges against all 4 officers involved in fatal arrest

MDH reports 372 new cases of COVID-19, 14 more deaths

Walz visits memorial for George Floyd