Chances of Minnesota passing a law to allow the use of marijuana recreationally are likely dead this session, after a key state Senate committee voted down a legalization bill Monday.
Lawmakers heard passionate testimony on both sides, including from Sandy Melville, whose son Austin was struck and killed by a driver with THC in his system. She said, “We have an empty chair at our dinner table, we have an empty bed down the hall, and we have an excruciating emptiness in our hearts and in our lives.”
But pot user Matthew Kaiser said prohibition doesn’t work and testified that his life has been enriched by marijuana, saying, “What I want when I get home from work, and I’m not ashamed to admit it, is a joint. When I’m tired and sore, when my hands hurt and my head aches, what I want is to smoke a little bit, take a shower and go to sleep.”
Republicans said the state is not ready for the legalization of recreational marijuana, but the bill’s author Senator Melissa Franzen countered, “Rarely as a legislature do we have the ability to have a win-win scenario, to tax a product that consumers say should be taxed, and to regulate it, to make it safer for consumers.”
The bill was defeated 6-3 on a party-line vote, with Republicans voting no and Democrats voting yes.