Lawmakers Hold Community Conversation on Cannabis

Duluth is the first stop of 15 communities to give feedback.

DULUTH, Minn.- Duluth was the first stop on a list of 15 communities lawmakers are planning on visiting to get feedback from community members as they craft a marijuana legalization bill to present to the house when they reconvene in February.

In a town hall format the five lawmakers heard thoughts and concerns about legalizing cannabis.

From whether or not it could lead to other forms of substance abuse to how it would benefit mental health, and help alleviate racial bias.

“I think even some of the members of the audience who raised concerns about legalization broadly supported the goal but raised issues related to mental health or addiction,” said Representative Ryan Winkler, DFL Majority Leader.

“The law will be better if it’s helped to be written by people who are affected by it.”

Some of those in attendance believe cannabis legalization must come with regulations that protect communities they say have been targeted for possessing marijuana.

“It definitely has to be reparative for black, indigenous, people of color who have been harmed by the failed war on drugs,” said Cannabis consumer and activist Noel Gordon Jr.

“Making sure that black, indigenous and people of color in Minnesota have access to be entrepreneurs, to be business owners, to benefit in the economic boom that will come with cannabis legalization.”

Lawmakers hope to make it to different parts of the state to get regional opinions on the issue.

Next top for the Cannabis Community Conversation is Minneapolis, and future stops include Hibbing and Bemidji.

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