4/20 brings marijuana laws to light

Recreational pot use debate smoldering at the capitol

Sloane Martin
April 20, 2019 - 10:40 am
Marijuana growing in Minnesota for medicine



Contrary to popular belief, 420 is not police radio code for marijuana use.

The story goes that in the 1970's a group of kids in San Rafael, California used to get high on pot in front of a statue of scientist Louis Pasteur at 4:20 every afternoon.

Whatever the source, April 20, or 4/20, has become an unofficial holiday of the cannabis culture.

A CBS News poll released Friday shows a record number of Americans support the legislation of recreational marijuana; the number at 65 percent. 

That number was 27 percent in 1979. 

Ten states have legalized marijuana and the conversation still continues in Minnesota.

Ben Feist is the legislative director for the ACLU Minnesota, which is in support.

"Mostly because of the history of disproportionate impact on communities of color in Minnesota," he said. "And the way that the war on marijuana has torn apart families, and really thrown people aside for so many years.":

Feist cites ACLU data that found that blacks are 8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than whites in Minnesota, even with comparable usage. That's the third largest disparity in the nation.

Dr. Stephen Delisi  is the medical director of training consultation services at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. He says the organization supports sensible criminal justice reform, but it comes down to needing more time to study the effects.

"That's not what's on the street, that's not what the individuals were coming to Hazeldon Betty Ford for treatment of a cannabis-abuse disorder, having their lives turned upside-down because of that addiction," he said. "We're calling for, from top down, research and science to lead the discussion at the national level.

Delisis says marijuana has gotten more potent over the decades with increased levels of THC.

Governor Walz, who supports marijuana legalization, tabled the discussion to focus on passing his two-year budget.

That was after it was voted down in the Senate judiciary committee earlier this year. 

An effort is still alive in the House to create a task force to look at the issue from multiple perspectives.

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