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Jesse Ventura: Minnesota Gov. Promised Me Legalization Will Be Top of Agenda

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, a former Minnesota governor, stated this week that current office occupant is committed to legalizing cannabis. 

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz secured a second term in Tuesday’s election, beating Republican challenger Scott Jensen 52% to 45%. That wasn’t the only good news of the night for Walz. Democrats in the state won the election to flip the Senate and gave the party complete control of the legislature. 

Ventura, who served as governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003, said on his podcast that Walz gave him a call on Wednesday––and shared some news that will excite legalization advocates in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

“The sticking point for cannabis in Minnesota were Republicans in the (Senate),” Ventura said, as quoted by local news station Fox 9. “Well, they lost it now, and the governor reassured me that one of the first items that will be passed — Minnesota, get ready — cannabis is going to have its prohibition lifted. That’s the news I got today.”

Ventura supported Walz’s re-election campaign, last month. The former governor stated that Walz reached out to him and thanked him for it.

Ventura also said that Walz “invited him to attend the future bill signing ceremony,” according to Fox 9.

“The thing that honors me is I’ve been invited to when the bill gets signed,” Ventura said, as quoted by the station. “The current governor, he said, ‘This started with you, so you deserve to be there and see it come to a close over 20 years later.’”

Walz is a long-standing advocate for legalizing marijuana in adulthood. Peggy Flanagan (his lieutenant governor) and Walz presented a budget that included legalization of marijuana in January.

The proposal included “a tax on marijuana, a measure to expunge non-violent marijuana-related convictions, the creation of a Cannabis Management Office and resources for substance-abuse prevention and treatment,” according to the Minnesota Reformer.

That proposal was met with immediate opposition from a coalition of various businesses, trade groups and other organizations that formed “Minnesotans Against Marijuana Legalization” earlier this year.

The Minnesota State House Democrats have been pushing legalization for many years.

Ryan Winkler was the House Majority Leader and helped bring about a legalization bill.

“The failed criminalization of cannabis has resulted in a legacy of racial injustice that can no longer go unaddressed,” Winkler said in a statement following its passage in 2021. “Adults deserve the freedom to decide whether to use cannabis, and our state government should play an important role in addressing legitimate concerns around youth access, public health, and road safety. Minnesotans who have serious illness such as PTSD or veterans should be able to access our medical program. It isn’t working for everyone. It’s time to legalize, expunge, and regulate.”

Walz is not only backed by the legislature but also polls indicate that Minnesota voters want to repeal pot prohibition.

Survey from the Minneapolis Star TribuneIn September, 53% of state voters voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use. Only 36% voted against it.

However, those voters still have legal access to THC thanks to the July law that allowed small amounts of cannabis-containing food and beverages.

The law caught surprised some legislators, who had no idea that the bill they passed––which was aimed at providing stronger regulation on hemp-derived products––effectively legalized weed.