All’s Quiet on the Minnesotan Front

Bong water laptop Alls Quiet on the Minnesotan Front Unlike other states who have been lured in by tax incentives, job creation and decreased incarceration rates, Heather Azzi, political director of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, recognizes that in her state, lawmakers have been slow to be convinced of the positives of weed legalization in any form. She claims her organization will not push medical reform bills this session. “We needed to get some time to educate all the new legislators, to bring the issue back up and we’ve had a lot of meetings behind the scenes just to get the language worked out perfectly,” said Azzi. “We’ve haven’t been working on the issue in the last three years in Minnesota because we didn’t have the funding to do so,” Azzi cites as the reason her organization has been taking their time in Minnesota, but state history suggests their may be other reasons marijuana has yet to gain freedom in The Star of the North. As far back as 2007,when Sara Peck was convicted of first-degree possession of a controlled substance for having traces of meth in her bong, all drug users in Minnesota have been struggling to keep afloat. The water in Peck's bong was weighed at 37.17 grams, bumping her sentence up to seven years in prison, but charges were initially dismissed in court. The court attorney made an appeal, causing the case to be brought before the Minnesota Supreme Court and spawning a verdict which ruled on Pawlenty’s side. Lawmakers weren’t all together quiet about the matter. Senators put forth a bill, stating the weight of bong water could not be used to prosecute drug possession cases, that unanimously passed in the Senate, but that didn’t stop Pawlenty’s agenda - he vetoed the bill in 2010. Mark Dayton, the current Governor, seems to be taking a note from his predecessor’s term, making it equally impossible for marijuana supporters to gain any ground in his state. In 2012, Dayton said he would not sign any bill put before him relaxing state marijuana laws unless it has the full backing of the Minnesotan law enforcement agencies - a feat that seems unlikely. “It’s illegal on the federal level,” said Dennis Flaherty, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association executive director, “and we’re not going to support any legislation that would put us in conflict with...federal law. Our position is unchanged. We do not support the legalization of marijuana for any purpose.” Police officers in Minnesota have also been quoted calling pot to be gateway drug and source of unnecessary violence. Flash forward to 2013, and Flaherty’s quote still rings true - not much has changed. Even though advocates estimate a medical marijuana reform bill will pass some time next year it may be a pointless gesture with a Governor unwilling to sign it into law. A public poll conducted in March found that nearly 2/3 of Minnesotans would support medical marijuana legalization, yet Governor  Dayton still claims he doesn’t “think we need another drug operating in our society.” Guess Mary Jane enthusiasts won’t have much to get high on anytime soon in Minnesota, regardless of the direction the rest of the country seems to be heading.

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