Minnesota Report

We attended an event on Sunday entitled Model Legislation Forum. We listen closely to the group which was represented as a coalition of Minnesota Campaign for Full Legalization, Marcus Harcus, Sensible Minnesota 501 (c) (3), Marren Schroeder, Sensible Change Minnesota 501 (c) (4), Branden Borgos, Minnesota NORML, Legal Marijuana Now, Michael Ford, Marijuana Policy Project, Jason Tarasek, and Minnesota Marijuana. A lot of the evening was facilitated by Jessica Hansen. 

We watched listen and found interest in their goals as comprehensive, aspirational and not yet fully formed. The group though passionate about their issue falls to grasp the conceptual reality of politics in St Paul. They all agree if the Federal Government would remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 narcotics the issue would melt away, but because the Feds have refused different states have moved on their own.

In those states, ones who have Initiative and Referendums the plebiscite has spoken, but in order for an issue to come before the voters here in Minnesota, both bodies of the legislature would need to pass legislation.

Right now, with the DFL controlling the House and the Republicans controlling the Senate, it is not likely to happen. This means a strategy to appeal to both DFLers and Republicans by a number of outside groups two which have now become major political parties who stand in opposition to the current political structure means it will be a stretch for a DFLer to work on behalf of the interests of Legal Marijuana Now or the Grassroots Legalize Party unless they want to remove the reason for their existence.

In spite of the fact Governor-elect Tim Walz (DFL-MN) has expressed his support for legalization, the political will may not exist quite yet. We find the brash statements made like, the population is with us and the times are changing and they (current politicians) will change or we will run candidates against them. They openly discuss fielding candidates against House Speaker-elect designee Melissa Hortman (DFL-36B, Brooklyn Park) which in our mind is counterproductive to their true goal which is legalization. Hortman has said she doubts something will come out of her caucus this session.

It may be that these people lack any true political experience outside of organizing with like-minded people. They show their political ignorance because they lack the requisite experience to express anything different.

We waited and sought to learn who their bill authors were set to be for the model legislation because without an author it’s merely an idea. They seemed to only have connections with DFL legislators and not Republicans and this is also a failed strategy because without a Senate bill this issue dies without a Senate position.

Things may change over the course of time, but based on the current legislative configuration with think this issue is a longer-term fight.

In spite of having achieved major party status both the Legal Marijuana Now, and the Grassroots Legalize Cannabis parties have poor performance raising money for their efforts. It is clear they have serious resource problems because in spite of having thte Political Contribution Program (PCR) where you will get $50.00 back from the state when you contribute to a political candidate or political party. They need to get listed of likeminded people to become financial supporters.

In the pre-General Election reports, we learned the following.

Legal Marijuana Now

Started with

$2,100.55

Raised

$3,972.77

Spent

$5,300.00

Ending Cash Balance

$674.32

 

Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party

Started with

$2,039.33

Raised

$977.00

Spent

$2,973.23

Ending Cash Balance

$43.10

The candidates who achieved the major party status for these parties even raised less.

Attorney General candidate Noah Johnson only had $125.00 in his account without any contributors listed and spent $57.95 leaving a $67.05 cash balance. State Auditor candidate Michael Ford’s record is as follows.

Started with

$0.00

Raised

$601.25

Spent

$576.23

Ending Cash Balance

$25.02