Paid political letter: Thanks to Hinnenkamp for answer regarding marijuana

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Mary Hinnenkamp supports the legalization of marijuana. Peggy Bennett cannot say the same. In the Steele County Times, candidates answered where they stand on the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in Minnesota. 

Mary Hinnenkamp answered, ”I am for the legalization of recreational cannabis for adults in Minnesota.” She included the following reasons. We should learn from prohibition, which didn’t reduce alcohol consumption. Too many people have become trapped in the criminal justice system over casual marijuana use. Students are able to access marijuana more easily than alcohol because it is unregulated. She believes legalization and regulation will reduce student access.

Peggy Bennett started her answer with “we have much more important issues in our state than legalizing a recreational drug” and ended with “with reservations, I may consider the legalization of recreational marijuana with these conditions.” Then listed five conditions. She did not commit to supporting legalization even if her conditions were met. 

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Bennett is out of touch.

• A majority of Minnesotans support legalizing recreational marijuana use. 

• 19 states and D.C. legalized recreational use. 

• Marijuana is safer than alcohol. 140,000 people die from “excessive alcohol use” in the U.S. annually (CDC). Compare this to zero deaths from excessive marijuana use.

• Delta 9 THC was recently legalized in Minnesota. Individuals 21+ can already legally get high from THC (Bennett voted against this). 

This is about more than just legalizing a drug for recreational use. 

It’s about tax revenue. States generated more than $3.7 billion in tax revenue from recreational cannabis sales in 2021.

It’s about creating easier access for cancer patients and other medical users. The closest medical cannabis dispensaries are currently over one hour away.

It’s about keeping families together and out of the criminal justice system. 

It’s about keeping people safe. Regulation will reduce access to children and ensure a safe product for adult consumption.  

Bennett did not commit to how she would vote. We deserve a representative who has the guts to tell us where they stand and how they will vote on issues. I thank Mary Hinnenkamp for her honest and clear answer. 

Angie Hanson

Albert Lea