State Scrambles To Capitalize On Weed After Sessions Confirmation

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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A group of lawmakers are looking to gain a foothold in the burgeoning commercial weed market despite widespread fears in the industry over the confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Democrats in the Minnesota State House are introducing proposals to legalize recreational marijuana and establish a commercial weed industry. The move is an attempt to compete with neighboring states, many of which are already regulating legal marijuana to some degree.

Democratic Rep. Jon Applebaum, whose proposal legalizes possession and growing of up to six plants for anyone over 21, points to the economic success Colorado is experiencing since they fully legalized the substance, reports City Pages.

Colorado is experiencing a roughly 30 percent jump in tourism since officials fully implemented marijuana legalization.

“I want a Minnesota-made economy where Minnesota farmers can grow it and Minnesota businesses can distribute and sell it,” Applebaum told City Pages. “We need to make Minnesota a place where people want to be, where people have jobs that are interesting to them, to add to our over all wonderful quality of life. And for those that don’t like it, they don’t have to use it.”

Another proposal seeks a state constitutional amendment legalizing the substance, but legislators will have to grapple with skeptical Republicans. The proposals comes as Sessions takes on his new role as the top law enforcement official in the country. Officials in states with legal weed laws are concerned he could upend their infant industries.

Sessions is a staunch opponent of marijuana reform and some activists fear his appointment may lead to further raids in states where marijuana is legal. Sessions fielded several questions on federal marijuana policy during his hearing in January, however, his answers did not go far in clarifying whether he will be adversarial to state laws on pot.

“There’s a lot of nervousness,” Adam Spiker, executive director of the Southern California Coalition, told The Sacramento Bee. “First and foremost, he’s made it real clear that he is not a fan of the product or the industry. Our group is comprised of hundreds and hundreds of businesses that want to stop looking over their shoulder.”

Trump promised to respect states’ rights on the issue during the campaign, but it is unclear if he will maintain that position.

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