Dayton: No legal recreational marijuana on my watch

Gov. Mark Dayton took questions from Kerri Miller and a live audience at the Minnesota State Fair on the 2017 opening day. Evan Frost | MPR News.
  1. Listen Governor Dayton Q&A at the State Fair

Gov. Mark Dayton warned Minnesota advocates of legal recreational marijuana that they won’t be successful on his watch.

Dayton ruled out the possibility Thursday during an interview with MPR’s Kerri Miller at the Minnesota State Fair. Asked by a member of the audience about the changing attitude toward cannabis nationally, the DFL governor said he won’t loosen Minnesota’s marijuana laws during his final year of his term.

Dayton went on to list problems he said stem from drug abuse — though he focused on opioids and other illicit drugs. He said making marijuana more readily available goes in the wrong direction.

“If somebody wants to use marijuana, go visit California or Colorado. But don’t bring it back here,” he said. “But I don’t see it as improving the quality of life of those societies.”

Those states are among the eight that have legalized marijuana for any use. Many others, including Minnesota, have medical marijuana programs.

Bills to fully legalize marijuana through a ballot initiative have been introduced in the Minnesota Legislature but haven’t gone anywhere.

Before the younger man who raised the question could object to his answer, Dayton added on.

“When I was your age I wouldn’t have agreed with it either,” the 70-year-old governor said.

During his appearance, Dayton also defended his use of a line-item veto to cancel funding for the state House and Senate. The move was overturned by a district court, but the Minnesota Supreme Court will review that decision next week.

And he made clear he wouldn’t take sides yet in the race to replace him in 2018, with several DFLers in the running. An audience member asked Dayton to appraise the chances of U.S. Rep. Tim Walz. Dayton called Walz “one of many good candidates” and applauded his record.

But, he added, “I am staying out of it. I’ve got all the Republicans trashing me. All of the DFLers are trying to tip-toe around me. This is my last year at the fair. Next year I’ll be just a footnote somewhere.”

“Minnesota is going to have good choices next year,” Dayton said.

  • Captain Jim

    Get rid of him. The war on marijuana is a scam and harms society tons more than the actual plant ever could. Trillions of tax dollars have been wasted on the War one Drugs and drugs are now cheaper and more readily available than ever before.

    90% of Americans support legal medical marijuana, yet making cannabis a schedule 1 drug prohibits research into the many possibilities of this plant including helping people with epilepsy, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS….

    This guys sounds like a criminal to me. How many people have overdosed and died on marijuana compared to legal opioids or alcohol?? ZERO!

    Does the word harm reduction mean anything to anyone? Isn’t the goal a safer society? Apparently not.

    This guy is a dinosaur. About to become extinct.

  • Brian Kelly

    Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All American pastime, booze.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Marijuana Nationwide!

    It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national marijuana policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-marijuana, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.

    Politicians who continue to demonize Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

    Legalize Nationwide!

  • me
  • Marc Zale

    In the early 1900s, the western states developed significant tensions regarding the influx of Mexican-Americans. The revolution in Mexico in 1910 spilled over the border, with General Pershing’s army clashing with bandit Pancho Villa. Later in that decade, bad feelings developed between the small farmer and the large farms that used cheaper Mexican labor. Then, the depression came and increased tensions, as jobs and welfare resources became scarce.

    One of the “differences” seized upon during this time was the fact that many Mexicans smoked marijuana and had brought the plant with them, and it was through this that California apparently passed the first state marijuana law, outlawing “preparations of hemp, or loco weed.”

    However, one of the first state laws outlawing marijuana may have been influenced, not just by Mexicans using the drug, but, oddly enough, because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church’s reaction to this may have contributed to the state’s marijuana law. (Note: the source for this speculation is from articles by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law at USC Law School in a paper for the Virginia Law Review, and a speech to the California Judges Association (sourced below). Mormon blogger Ardis Parshall disputes this.)

    Other states quickly followed suit with marijuana prohibition laws, including Wyoming (1915), Texas (1919), Iowa (1923), Nevada (1923), Oregon (1923), Washington (1923), Arkansas (1923), and Nebraska (1927). These laws tended to be specifically targeted against the Mexican-American population.

    When Montana outlawed marijuana in 1927, the Butte Montana Standard reported a legislator’s comment: “When some beet field peon takes a few traces of this stuff… he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico, so he starts out to execute all his political enemies.” In Texas, a senator said on the floor of the Senate: “All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff [marijuana] is what makes them crazy.”Again, racism was part of the charge against marijuana, as newspapers in 1934 editorialized: “Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice.”

    Two other fear-tactic rumors started to spread: one, that Mexicans, Blacks and other foreigners were snaring white children with marijuana; and two, the story of the “assassins.” Early stories of Marco Polo had told of “hasheesh-eaters” or hashashin, from which derived the term “assassin.” In the original stories, these professional killers were given large doses of hashish and brought to the ruler’s garden (to give them a glimpse of the paradise that awaited them upon successful completion of their mission). Then, after the effects of the drug disappeared, the assassin would fulfill his ruler’s wishes with cool, calculating loyalty.

    By the 1930s, the story had changed. Dr. A. E. Fossier wrote in the 1931 New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal: “Under the influence of hashish those fanatics would madly rush at their enemies, and ruthlessly massacre every one within their grasp.” Within a very short time, marijuana started being linked to violent behavior.

  • Walt Corcoran

    Good riddance next year, old dead thinking is not needed no matter the age! See ya

  • Karen Olson

    Question: I work in factories often. What do we do if some one has a accident due to being high. They are a danger to others but it’s legal. Is there a safe limit? How can it be measured reliably?

    • Chad Hatter Anderson

      I do construction. I will tell you right now that over half of the carpenters I know smoke pot before, during, and after work. The number of injuries sustained by these carpenters is in fact lower than those who don’t smoke. The idea that being high makes you more prone to injury is flat out absurd. Like being high makes you more apt to be violent, or commit crimes, or go on to use drugs (cannabis is a natural plant that grows in the dirt. It’s an herb, not a drug). There is no evidence to support your hypothetical claim of an increased risk of anything (besides maybe the munchies).

      • Rosita

        Or heaven forbid people are happier. Euphoria for all 🐸

      • Karen Olson

        Perhaps, but I also worked with some people who had vehicle accidents afterwards, and yes people got hurt. So it’s a concern, I also know I don’t have all the facts, so I asked the question.

      • Minnesota Guy

        I could be wrong but I think you have the stupidest argument
        in the history of mankind. By your reasoning people should smoke opium since is a natural plant that grows in the dirt. They should snort asbestos as it is a natural product that comes from the ground. Maybe a couple of shot of crude oil to help you sleep at night, it is a natural product that comes out of the ground.

        • mydnytmover

          “shot of crude oil to help you sleep at night” Wow how stupid are you??!!!!! I feel sorry for your family.

        • massman

          He’s actually 100% right.

        • Vic P

          Opium is processed. Marijuana is smoked in its natural state.

    • calistair

      As a certified medical cannabis/marijuana patient here in MN, I can give you a very quick response. If a person is “high”, just like if they were impaired/intoxicated from drinking alcohol, they must not do anything that would jeopardize the safety of themselves or others. To do so, they may face criminal charges.

      • Karen Olson

        I have family, who are certified paients. It doesn’t seem to impair them too much but one doesn’t drive and the other I don’t see often enough to judge. I have no problem with medical uses for it, recreationally not my thing. Like I said above, I’m concerned about safety of user and others around user.

    • Brian Kelly

      Infinitely more workers end up impaired at work, calling out of work, or “in a stupor” because of alcohol than marijuana.

      Why doesn’t alcohol concern you much more than relatively benign marijuana? It should.

      Legalizing Marijuana will not create a massive influx of marijuana impaired employees in our workplaces.

      It will not create a huge influx of professionals (doctors, pilots, bus drivers, etc..) under the influence on the job either.

      This is a prohibitionist propaganda scare tactic.

      Truth: Responsible workers don’t go to work while impaired on any substance period!

      Irresponsible employees already share our workplaces, and they will work while impaired regardless of their drug of choice’s legality.

      Therefore, legalizing marijuana will have little to zero impact on the amount of marijuana impaired employees in our workplaces.

      Responsible people do not go to work impaired, period. Regardless of their drug of choice’s legality.

      Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All American pastime, booze.

      Equal rights and protections as alcohol drinkers in our workplaces and everywhere else.

      Plain and simple!

      Legalize Marijuana Nationwide!

      • Brian Kelly

        Contrary to what prohibitionists are so desperately trying to get the public to believe wholeheartedly and without question, legalizing marijuana IS NOT adding anything new into our society that wasn’t always there and widely available already.

        Marijuana has been ingrained within our society since the days of our founding fathers and part of human culture since biblical times, for thousands of years.

        So, since marijuana has always been with us and humans already have thousands upon thousands of years worth of experience with marijuana, what great calamities and “Doomsday Scenarios” do prohibitionists really think will happen now due to current legalization efforts that have never ever happened before in all human history?

        Legalize Nationwide!

      • Karen Olson

        Actually alcohol does concern me too, but there are laws and policies in place for that, whether or not they work. Besides the topic is Marijuana, and how would you measure impairment for Marijuana?

        • me

          Your concern is valid, but it’s also a concern that has been overcome for the most part. The laws for alcohol impairment also include other chemicals of abuse, so there isn’t a deficiency in the law, and there never really has been.

          There are saliva swabs that test for drug/marijuana use within the last 24 hours.

          If the job is a regulated job like truck driver, locomotive engineer, pilot, etc – then if there’s an accident they’re tested immediately. They’re also given random tests.

          Additionally, there are a number of companies that are either developing, or marketing, various other types of tests – including a breathalyzer – for law-enforcement and/or employers to do cannabis testing.

          • Karen Olson


          • mydnytmover

            Marijuana has been legal and used for 1000s of years,,, you act like it is something new. Do some research!!!!!

        • Reasonable Guy

          As well it should, alcohol is very dangerous. The biggest problem with cannabis and driving is detecting impairment. Reliance on swabs or blood tests that measure metabolites is that there is no scientific consensus on what levels constitute pro-se impairment per DOT research and recommendations. Tolerance levels vary widely so while one person with x amount of metabolites in their system could be incapable of driving safely, another person can be stone cold sober.

          We should rely only on roadside physical coordination metrics. If someone can pass the “walk the line” types of test, how impaired can they really be? I’ve personally been far more dangerous driving tired than on cannabis.

          Cannabis users are more likely to over-estimate their impairment, alcohol users are more likely to underestimate impairment. Cannabis users drive more carefully as a result. I will say that drivers under the influence of cannabis may stay in their lanes, drive more slowly, etc, but they are more likely to “miss” something in their field of view or possibly not look/see objects (e.g. backing up into a pole or similar.)

          Thank you for asking politely and not prejudging us. The fact is we have been driving on the roads since cars were invented, its just that nobody ever noticed and we don’t crash very often. I would never get into a car when too impaired to drive, if I’m at all stoned I ask my wife to drive or just don’t get in a car.

          I agree re rules of the road. That is why we need more research in order to make everyone safer. Keeping cannabis illegal (schedule I) prevents this from happening. Regulate & tax it!

          I hope you and those involved in the accident are ok now. Any details on the circumstances of the accident you care to share? Maybe we can learn something from it.


          • Karen Olson

            I wasn’t involved in those accidents. Info is second hand at best for some of it. Those with it in there systems eventually quite work after going thru programs.

            And since I work in labs and other somewhat dangerous places, I want facts. Not sure what i think of recreational use, not something i would do normally. Also can anyone point me to relieable 1st source inforlmation on cannabis.

            I do have family on medical marijuana, nothing else works nearly as well.

        • jontomas

          Marijuana is not alcohol. The preponderance of the research shows marijuana consumption is NOT a significant cause of auto accidents. In 2015, the Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk report, produced by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, found that while drunken driving dramatically increased the risk of getting into an accident, there was no evidence that using marijuana heightened that risk.

          In fact, after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, the report found that drivers who had recently consumed marijuana were no more likely to crash than drivers who were not intoxicated at all.

    • Alex Stone

      Alcohol is legal. Do people in your factory frequently show up to the job drunk?

    • massman

      Does anyone at your factory use alcohol or prescription pharmaceuticals? What’s is their safe limit? How do you measure reliably?

      • Karen Olson

        Not that I know of, no idea, no idea that’s why I’m asking questions

  • Ben

    Worst Governor is modern Minnesota history!!! Mumbles makes Trump look like international statesman. This state for the last eight years under Dayton is turning into some banana republic or third world nation with no government transparency, no balance budget, no actual leadership at the top, bloated welfare programs, erosion of individual liberties by the power of the state, and systemic corruption everywhere within the DFL ranks. In the meantime, we’re leading the nation with a growing homeless population, higher inequality rates, worst racial disparities in the USA, high profile police shootings nationwide, more government shutdowns, unmet revenue budgets, declining small community businesses, and onerous taxation policies. If you think this is bad, go three hundred miles south along I 94 passing Madison and Janseville into the land of Lincoln where the corruption stench is so high in which Illinois has a credit junk bond status. Wake up people!!! Minnesota turning into like Chicago!

  • revraygreen

    “If somebody wants to use marijuana, go visit California ” feeling California looking #Minnesota – #weed

  • Reasonable Guy

    Yay! Another clueless politician!

    I agree with one thing he said: smart, liberty loving Minnesotans should come on out to CO or Cali! Just don’t go back 🙂

    Come for the bud, stay for the jobs, vibe and weather. Lolz.

  • Justin Escher Alpert

    It is a silly position from the Governor. It is not like people are asking his permission to use marijuana. The reality is that they exercise that liberty every day. There is no duty to follow an unjust law. Prohibition has clearly failed. The only thing that Prohibition seemingly prohibits is responsible regulation of commerce. Safe and legal access would enable citizens to Secure the Blessings of Liberty, an act so fundamental to The American Way that we put it into the preamble of the U.S. Constitution. The Minnesota State Constitution’s preamble reflects a similar sentiment. The Governor should consider speaking with the good folks at Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition ( about formulating a stronger position.

    • Gary Craig

      And this guy’s a Democrat?Governor Hogan (R-MD) wouldn’t say anything like this because he knows which way the wind (61% in favor of legalization) is blowing.

  • lovingc

    Who is this fossil? He needs a long rest at home instead of running his head in public. He doesn’t give a damn about the citizens that voted him in, so now it is time to send this idiot home permanently!

  • mydnytmover

    He is a punk.

  • jontomas

    From the article:

    >>>”Dayton went on to list problems he said stem from drug abuse — though he focused on opioids and other illicit drugs.”

    When bigoted prohibitionists can’t think of any arguments against marijuana, they often resort to the deceptive lumping strategy. – This clouds the issue and attempts to cast the harms of the hard drugs onto cannabis.

    We don’t have the same alcohol policy, as we do tobacco policy, as we do caffeine policy. Each drug has different levels of harm and requires a different regulatory approach. No one thought it necessary to discuss opium when they were debating ending alcohol prohibition.

    Science and widespread experience have shown marijuana has no significant harms. – Clearly, every person who switches from addictive, very harmful alcohol to near harmless marijuana, improves their health tremendously – as well as the lives of their family and community.

  • A J

    Nothing better to do around here in the winter, might as well blaze up in your ice fishing shack.

  • massman

    Voting out prohibitionists is about to become very popular.

  • kevin_hunt

    ” “But I don’t see it as improving the quality of life of those societies.””

    Does anyone have ANY proof that the ‘war on some drugs’ has improved the ‘quality of life’?

  • God is dead

    Crazy eyes Dayton is a pile of crap. Minnesota deserves what it gets for electing this globalist billionaire that loves Islamofascists and hates white Minnesotans. Minnesota claims to be a liberal state, but clearly it is a U.N. tyranny state. I hope Dayton chokes on his supper.

  • mike

    Yeah he needs to go and watch it happen. The only thing criminal about a god given, natural, medicinal herb is its continued prohibition. Enough of these dinosaurs.