Gov. Tim Walz arrived early Friday for the annual Minnesota Fishing Opener in Ottertail at Thumper Pond Resort to kick off the weekend of events. However, he had a lot on his plate this morning.
The Democrat-controlled Minnesota House on Thursday passed a proposal that would essentially make it legal to buy and use marijuana for adults age 21 or older.
Walz responded to the historic vote and said he supports the Minnesota House of Representatives vote on the proposal.
“Well I’ve thought for a long time about that, we know that adults can make their own decisions on things, we know that criminalization and prohibition has not worked,” Walz said. “I’ve always thought that it makes sense to control how you’re doing this and to make sure that adults know what they’re getting into, and use it wisely.”
Walz also addressed the criminal aspect of legalization.
“I also think there’s a lot of inequity, about how folks have spent time in jail or been arrested around this, especially in communities of color, that it makes sense. I know a lot of states, other states, conservative states like South Dakota, others have done this. I think there’s a way to do it. I say that as a father of a 14-year-old. I certainly don’t encourage it. I certainly wouldn’t encourage my son to over-abuse alcohol. I wouldn't encourage him to do some of those things, but when adults are of a certain age I trust them to make a good decision,” Walz added
The proposal would allow a process for defendants sentenced for low-level marijuana crimes to have their records expunged. Minnesota already legalized medical marijuana in 2014.
It will now move on to the Minnesota State Senate, with experts saying there is little chance it will be passed into law. The move however, is a first for the legislature in the state’s history.
Walz will enjoy Ottertail Lake this weekend, with fishing activities scheduled for most of the day Saturday. According to event organizers, the Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener has been a tradition in Minnesota since 1948.