“It’s time for Minnesota to become a leader in the midwest when it comes to sensible marijuana policy.”
Minor marijuana possession offenders will no longer be criminally prosecuted in Hennepin County, Minnesota, according to a new policy announced Thursday by County Attorney Mike Freeman. An estimated 1.2 million people live in the County, which includes the city of Minneapolis.
Minnesota House and Senate lawmakers, along with Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton, agreed late last week to legislation that seeks to provide access to limited preparations of cannabis to qualified patients. Unlike other state medical cannabis programs, the Minnesota plan does not permit qualified patients to possess or obtain whole-plant cannabis. Instead, the forthcoming law mandates that state-licensed distribution centers provide oils, pills, and/or extracts prepared from the plant.
African Americans are arrested for marijuana possession offenses in Minnesota at a rate that is more than six-times higher than that of Caucasians, according to an analysis of 2011 FBI arrest data released today by the nonpartisan think-tank Minnesota 2020 and commissioned in part by Minnesota NORML. The report estimated that the collateral costs of a low-level marijuana arrest may total as much as $76,000 over the course of a decade, including attorney fees, fines, costs associated with attending mandatory drug treatment, lost income and job prospects, and barriers to public assistance and federal aid.
With New Jersey recently becoming the 14th medical marijuana state, activists in marijuana law reform have been celebrating.
It can readily be said that 2009 was one of the busiest and most productive years in cannabis law reform since NORML’s founding in 1970. However, it appears as if 2010 is going to be an even busier year–notably marked by the increasing number of actual state legalization bills and a voter initiative in America’s most important state.
Earlier this week I criticized Hawaii Republican Governor Linda Lingle for her refusal to approve legislation that merely sought to study “issues relating to medical cannabis patients and current medical cannabis laws.”
Why am I reposting this now? Simple, because the more things change the more they stay the same.