Just because other states are doing it, doesn’t make it cool, according to Gov. Mark Dayton. As the Pioneer Press reports, the long-time liberal said in an interview last Friday with the Associated Press that he does not support the legalization of marijuana. While 18 states now allow use of the drug for medicinal reasons, Dayton does not want Minnesota joining the list. Calling California’s ease of access “a joke,” Dayton stated that “it’s essentially just legalized use of marijuana by anyone.” With the legalization of marijuana being a long-standing issue of controversy across the nation, last month Washington joined Colorado as the second state to actually decriminalize possession of the drug for any purpose, in small amounts.
Still, Dayton sides with law enforcement on this one, which has been the biggest roadblock to proponents of legalization in Minnesota. As Dayton told the AP, “as long as law enforcement believes whatever is being proposed is going to make society more dangerous, I’m going to honor their concerns.” Representative Phyllis Kahn, who co-sponsored a 2009 bill proposing legalization, commented shortly after Dayton that the positive impact medicinal marijuana has on end-of-life care makes this an issue worth re-considering. She also cites the criminalization of marijuana as disproportionately affecting minority groups within the criminal justice system—a problem that could be changed with legalization.