Minnesota’s Gov Tim Walz On Trade Visit To Australia Wonders Why NSW & Australia So Slow On Cannabis Reform

The Sydney Morning Herald reports

To exploit what he believes are natural overlaps between Minnesota and NSW in industries such as agriculture and biomedical research, Walz met the premier to spruik the links.

Walz has presided over a string of progressive legislative achievements since Democrats took control of both houses of the state congress, including the legalisation of cannabis, banning gay conversion therapy, protecting abortion rights and restricting gun access.

“I’ve always said this, you don’t get elected to figure out how to get re-elected, and my belief is one of the things that has happened is that people have been conditioned that bad things happen fast and good things take a long time,” he said.

“But these policies we have pushed are super popular.”

Walz – who made Minnesota the 23rd state to legalise and regulate cannabis while also expunging criminal records of people convicted for possession of marijuana – expressed shock that Australian states had not done the same.

“I was surprised that Australia hasn’t done this and for me, first of all, prohibition doesn’t work,” he said.

In NSW, the government has refused to move on significant cannabis reforms until after it holds a drug summit, likely next year. Despite Minns previously expressing support for a legal and regulated cannabis market, he has refused to move on the issue until then.

Walz cited a regulated market as a means of both helping his state’s economy, and addressing the over-representation of people of colour in the justice system.

“Minnesota has a long history of prohibition with alcohol and other things. It doesn’t work,” he said.

“In the end, the biggest issue is that cannabis arrests or incarcerations were predominantly in our communities of colour. And so one of the premises around cannabis legalisation first and foremost was an expungement of those records.”

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