As more elected officials endorse legalizing recreational marijuana, a new bill was introduced on January 28th that features a Republican State Senator as an author.
The chief author liberal state senator Melissa Franzen (DFL -Edina) was joined by centrist Republican Scott Jensen (R – Chaska). Republican Jensen joining the movement to legalize marijuana is important because not only does it provide bipartisan support but Jensen is a Physician with Catalyst Medical Clinic.
Jensen is known to side with Democrats on many controversial issues. Previously Jensen joined Democrats in calling for restrictions on gun rights. In addition, he previously authored an editorial in support of Health Care Mandate.
Republicans have just a one-vote majority in the Senate and with Jensen endorsing legalizing pot, Democrats have a clear path if they can find consensus in their caucus. Governor Tim Walz has indicated that he would sign a bill legalizing marijuana.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, however, does not believe legalized marijuana will be passed this legislative session stating “Senate Republicans are focused on reducing health care costs, supporting mental health care, and passing a balanced budget. Legalizing recreational marijuana is a controversial issue, to say the least, and not something I would consider a priority issue. Considering that it’s linked to mental health problems, driving accidents, and impaired teen brain development, I don’t think it has a chance to pass the Senate this year.”
Watch the full press conference featuring Senator Melisa Franzen and Senator Scott Jensen
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