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Forbes includes Minnesota among states most likely to legalize marijuana

It could happen in 2019.

The way Forbes sees it, Minnesota is one of the most likely states to legalize marijuana in 2019. 

The fortune magazine/website included Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont among states poised to join 10 states that have already legalized recreational use of marijuana. 

Why Minnesota? Forbes points to Governor-elect Tim Walz and Democrats winning back majority in the House, although Republicans still control the Senate by one seat. 

"Incoming Gov. Tim Walz (D), who is taking over for an outgoing Democratic governor who opposes legalization, has pledged to 'replace the current failed policy with one that creates tax revenue, grows jobs, builds opportunities for Minnesotans, protects Minnesota kids, and trusts adults to make personal decisions based on their personal freedoms.'"

Walz is on record as saying he backs legalization, calling for recreational pot to be regulated and taxed, and the records of those convicted of marijuana-related crimes to be expunged.

But anyone hoping for a quick turnaround for recreational marijuana legalization might be disappointed, according to University of Minnesota associate professor of political science Kathryn Pearson.

Speaking on the Dialogue Minnesota podcast a week after the November election, she said much will depend on how it's prioritized in the Minnesota legislature.

"I think it depends how much pressure is put on the legislature and I think it depends how much legislative leadership there is on this issue," she said.

"I don't think Governor Walz is going to prioritize this issue, but if a supportive legislature brings this issue to him, it sounds like he would be very open to moving forward – at least in a dialogue – to see what could be done on this."

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura met with Walz in November and left the meeting encouraged that Walz will turn Minnesota into a leader rather than a follower when it comes to marijuana.

Minnesota approved the use of marijuana for certain health conditions during the 2014 legislative session.

Recreational use of marijuana is currently legal in Washington D.C. and 10 states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. 

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