President Obama's intention was to make an economic argument that Democrats present the best option for working and middle-class families. It's an argument that he hopes will help Democrats in this November's congressional elections.
Minnesotans may not be ready to legalize marijuana for recreational use, but they do apparently want a less restrictive medical marijuana law that would allow patients to smoke marijuana, particularly if that’s the only way to get medical relief. That’s one of the results of an unscientific Minnesota Senate poll of 5,278 people at the State Fair.
This past session the legislature approved a law allowing patients with a qualifying medical condition to access cannabis (marijuana) for medicinal use. The Legislature limited the delivery methods for medical cannabis to oil or pill forms and specifically excluded smoking. Pressure from law enforcement agencies kept a more liberal law from gaining important supporters such as Governor Mark Dayton.
The Minnesota Senate survey found that 46.4% of respondents were OK with allowing smoking marijuana as a way for patients to get pain relief. An additional 20.81% said that would be OK only if using oil or pill forms of marijuana proved to be ineffective for the patient. 28.15% said smoking medical marijuana should never be allowed.
A bill to loosen Minnesota’s medical marijuana law is likely to come up next session.
The Senate survey also found that people want to make the Minnesota constitution harder to amend. In 2012 there were two constitutional amendments on the election ballot — one to ban same-sex marriage, the other to require all people to have a photo ID to vote. Both were defeated. Since then Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has championed a bill that would make it harder for the legislature to put constitutional amendments on the ballot. Currently it requires just a majority vote of both chambers of the legislature. When Republicans had control of both the House and the Senate after the 2010 election they put the same-sex marriage ban and the voter photo ID amendments on the ballot. Republican strategists later revealed it was thought the amendments would drive conservative voter turnout and help defeat U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL). However, the the amendments apparently drove turnout on the DFL side and Republicans not only lost the U.S. Senate election but also lost control of both legislative chambers.
Asked if a “super majority” of the legislature (60%) should be required to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot 54.8% of respondents said yes. 32.78% said no. That’s similar to results of a House survey that was also taken at the state fair.
The Senate poll, which again is not scientific, is often used by legislators to guide their actions in the coming session. Senator Bakk’s constitutional amendment bill could be considered again next session.
Other poll topics included paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child, delving into the ride share services vs. taxi debate, teacher performance evaluations, pay-day loans, labeling genetically modified foods, and what to do with any budget surplus.
The police killing of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, has rekindled a simmering debate over how to deal with police violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Beyond the six debates Mark Dayton has proposed, Jeff Johnson's campaign would like two more gubernatorial debates.