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Talking Points: Sen. Scott Jensen On Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Could Minnesota become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana? There are proposals that would do just that at the Minnesota State Capitol.

The legalization effort is gaining ground throughout the state with some legislators saying it's just a matter of time before Minnesota joins the ranks of those allowing legal pot smoking for pleasure.

scott jensen
(credit: CBS)

Minnesota is currently one of 33 states that allow marijuana for medical use, but the push for legalizing pot for recreational use has gotten a major boost in recent months. As of this year, there are currently two pro-marijuana political parties in Minnesota that have qualified for major political party status because their candidates got more than 5 percent of the statewide vote in the November elections. That means their candidates have automatic access to appear on Minnesota ballots.

In the legislature, a bi-partisan group of leaders proposed a bill legalizing pot by 2022. One of the authors of the bill is Sen. Scott Jensen, who is also a family physician. Jensen is a Republican from conservative Carver County. He was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.

"I think we have seen a perfect storm. I think last November Michigan went ahead and improved legalized marijuana. That means within a few hours drive, Minnesotans can go buy what they want to buy," Jensen said.

But Sen. Jensen's Republican colleagues are saying not so fast. They are promising to block any bills for legalizing pot this year. And the Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman has said she has doubts on whether legalizing recreational marijuana will happen in 2019, but she says 2020 is a definite possibility.

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