Ryan Faircloth / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL - Veterans who want to enroll in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program could skip a pricey first step under a new House bill. Under current law, those who want to enter the program must first find a doctor who will certify their qualifying condition. This can cost a few hundred dollars. The federal VA health system does not let its doctors certify veterans for medical cannabis. Veterans must seek out another doctor and pay out of pocket.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s medical marijuana program could undergo sweeping changes under a new House bill that aims to increase patient access and ease restrictions on producers. The state’s two medical marijuana producers could open twice as many dispensaries under the proposal from state Rep. Heather Edelson, DFL-Edina. Parents of adolescent patients would also be allowed to administer the medicine on school grounds.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota lawmakers heard a plea for more guards during the first-ever hearing inside a state prison on Wednesday, Feb. 6. Halting a spike in assaults on corrections officers was the focus of the meeting, which was held inside the Stillwater prison. The House corrections subcommittee heard from the union that represents guards, the director of educational programming and the new head of the Department of Corrections. All said that more guards are needed.
ST. PAUL -- It has been called the largest peacetime mobilization in the country. It will dictate how much federal money comes to Minnesota. And it will determine the state’s political influence for the foreseeable future. There is a lot at stake for Minnesota in the 2020 census, which is a little more than a year away. Getting an accurate tally isn’t just the work of the U.S. Census Bureau. State officials, local governments and even nonprofits are organizing and coordinating to count every resident.
ST. PAUL -- As proposals to legalize recreational marijuana take shape in the House, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said Monday, Jan. 28, that the bills do not have a chance to pass in his chamber. The Republican from Nisswa made the statement shortly after a news conference where two Democratic lawmakers and a Republican senator unveiled a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. While Democrats control the state House, Republican hold a two-seat majority in the Senate.
ST. PAUL — As talk of marijuana legalization continues at the state Capitol, one Minnesota Democrat wants to let voters have a say on the issue. Rep. Raymond Dehn, DFL-Minneapolis, introduced a bill Tuesday, Jan. 22, that would put recreational marijuana legalization on the ballot in 2020. The measure must pass through the House and Senate before it could appear on the ballot as a constitutional amendment. “The primary purpose is to end prohibition,” Dehn said.
ST. PAUL - A group fighting the legalization of recreational marijuana in Minnesota took their arguments to the State Capitol on Wednesday and were met by hecklers who support the drug. Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Minnesota, an anti-legalization group, invited community members and law enforcement officials to speak Jan. 16 to the risks of marijuana at a Capitol press conference. At least a dozen pro-pot activists interrupted the speakers with their own views on the issue.
ST. PAUL — The University of Minnesota is seeking an $87 million bump in state funding over the next two years, and even that won’t keep students from having to pay more for tuition. University President Eric Kaler made a case for the increase in funding at the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 9, touting the university’s economic impact and bringing in students and faculty to speak to the work they do in the state.
ST. PAUL -- Emboldened by solid gains on election night, Minnesota Democrats plan to push hard for stricter gun laws at the Capitol this year. Expanding criminal background checks for sales and creating “red flag” protective orders will be near the top of their agenda when they take control of the House on Jan. 8. Democratic Gov.-elect Tim Walz, a gun owner once backed by the National Rifle Association also supports the proposals. A Republican-led Senate, though, could stand in the way.
ST. PAUL -- Going green could take on a new meaning in Minnesota if incoming Gov. Tim Walz has something to say about it. As more states legalize marijuana, Walz says it’s time for Minnesota to follow suit. He’s argued that legalizing pot could bring in a new source of tax revenue if regulated properly, and it could reduce the number of people locked up for drug offenses.