How should marijuana be regulated in Minnesota?

Marijuana plants grow at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center, a Los Angeles not-for-profit medical marijuana dispensary in operation since 2006. Californians voted to legalize medical cannabis use in 1996, clashing with federal drug laws. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Law enforcement officials and Governor Mark Dayton have expressed opposition to relaxing Minnesota’s marijuana laws, but “a bipartisan group of state lawmakers aims to pass a law next year that would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients with debilitating ailments,” writes MPR News reporter Tim Pugmire. “State Rep. Carly Melin, the bill’s chief sponsor in the House, said it would bring much-needed relief to some patients.”

“The medical marijuana conversation really is centered around compassionate care and allowing for patients to be prescribed medication from their physician that will help them,” said Melin, DFL-Hibbing.

Others, however, including members of the state’s Independence Party, say marijuana should also be legalized for other purposes.

After voters in Colorado and Washington passed ballot initiatives last year to legalize marijuana, Independence Party of Minnesota delegates decided earlier this year to add a new plank to their party platform. It calls for the legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana.

Mark Jenkins, the party’s state chair, said people of all ages have told him that they think it would be a smart thing to do.

“We’re penalizing people for what is not a crime for stronger drugs, which could be alcohol or other things that can be abused,” Jenkins said. “And it’s an opportunity to put more and better control on it. Also, a revenue opportunity as well, so there are a lot of different constituencies that like it for a lot of reasons.”

Today’s Question: How should marijuana be regulated in Minnesota?