Minnesota polls give green light to legalise marijuana

Minnesota is gearing up for the legalisation of cannabis after two official polls clearly showed the state’s three and a half million people were in favour of legal reform.

The surveys, undertaken at the Minnesota State Fair and involving almost 18,000 participants showed a majority of the population were in favour of legalising marijuana.

The polls – one conducted by the Senate with 6,900 people, and one by the House involving 11,200 – offered different questions, but reaped remarkably similar results.

Essentially, the questions for both streams asked if cannabis should legal at the age of 21 years old. The return looked like this…

HOUSE

Yes: 56%
No: 34%
Undecided: 10%

SENATE

Yes: 55%
No: 36%
Undecided: 9%

The results will make uncomfortable reading for Republican leaders of the Senate who are vehemently opposed to legalisation and flexed their muscles over the issue in March after rejecting a motion to slacken cannabis laws.

The House, however, will welcome the findings. Only last week, the Democrat leader – Governor Tim Walz – urged the state’s agencies to “take steps to prepare for a legal cannabis market”.

Governor Tim Walz

He also said he would sponsor a bill to hasten the legalisation of marijuana, affirming the state “will have everything ready to go, and we will be able to implement it in Minnesota the minute the Legislature moves this”.

One observer – Duluth-based politics academic Elena Walker – also suggested the polls may have an interesting twist that would put the majority view on marijuana in Minnesota further into the favour of legalisation.

“The demographic element of the polls has a very curious aspect that should make the pro Marijuana lobby feel very positive,” she explained to The Leaf Desk.

“And that is the element that the state fair traditionally attracts older visitors.

“It’s a well-known fact the age split on the issue is heavily weighted towards the younger people of America, with the older generations not necessarily being eager to sweep in laws to allow the recreational use of cannabis.

“However, the results of the surveys conducted by both the House and State were drawn largely from the older population – more than 60 per cent of the respondents were over the age of 50.

“That says to me that if the survey had a broader age spectrum, then you’d be looking at even higher figures in favour of the legalisation of cannabis in Minnesota.”

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