FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For December 12, 2018
Council Member Dai Thao introduces resolution to support the legalization and decriminalization of recreational cannabis in Minnesota and expungement of Minnesotan records of convicted cannabis crimes
SAINT PAUL, December 12, 2018 - Council Member Dai Thao will introduce a resolution on Wednesday, December 12 at the 3:30pm City Council Meeting to support the legalization and decriminalization of recreational cannabis use in the state of Minnesota for individuals 21 years and older.
Thao strongly believes legalizing and decriminalizing recreational cannabis and expungement of criminal records related to cannabis will bring substantial opportunities to Saint Paulites.
“The legalization and decriminalization of recreational cannabis would reduce racial disparity, support economic growth and improve health solutions to Minnesotans,” Thao said. “We also need to intentionally support an equitable number of local and people of color/indigenous (POCI) owned businesses that will emerge when recreational cannabis is legalized.”
People of color are continuously disproportionately criminalized. In 2011, studies showed that in Ramsey County, Blacks compared to Whites were 8.8 times more likely to be arrested even though both groups used cannabis recreationally relatively at the same rate. In 2018, cannabis stings in Hennepin County showed that officers intentionally approached Black men to facilitate drug sales. 46-out-of-47 of those arrested were Black, in contrast, the White person who was arrested initiated the drug deal. Legalizing recreational cannabis would decrease taxpayer costs and solve such targeting and arrests. The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota reported that in 2010, Minnesota spent as much as $69 million enforcing cannabis laws.
In addition, legalizing recreational cannabis would further evidence-based health research, increase entrepreneurship, and tax base in Minnesota.
Thao’s resolution is co-sponsored by Council Members Rebecca Noecker and Mitra Jalali Nelson.