Rep. Jon Applebaum, DFL-Minnetonka, introduced a bill (HF-927)to legalize marijuana for recreational use. "Minnesotans are rightfully developing different attitudes on marijuana," Applebaum said in a news release. "Other states' successes, along with the failed prohibition attempts of others, validated the need for a statewide conversation," he said. Minnesota currently has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country. Legalization of recreational marijuana has swept across the American West in recent years, with successful campaigns in Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. In the East, Massachusetts voted to legalize in 2016. The campaigns have relied on a coalition of left and right, as socially liberal Democrats have joined hands with libertarians who oppose the cost of enforcing prohibition and the police intrusions that often come with it. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but former President Barack Obama's Justice Department took a mostly hands-off approach to legal marijuana in the states. The result has been a boom in marijuana sales and tax collections and a burgeoning industry in cultivation, distribution and tourism. Colorado topped $1 billion in legal marijuana sales in 2016, helping the state rake in more than $150 million in tax revenue just through October of 2016.
I am proud to have grown up in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Some of my favorite memories include summers spent playing little league baseball at Big Willow and riding my bike along the area’s many trails and through its parks. I attended Hopkins Public Schools from kindergarten until graduation at Hopkins High School. It is an incredible honor to represent my hometown community at the Capitol. After spending four years at Vanderbilt University and earning a degree, with honors, in political science, I wanted to increase my understanding of the law and the governmental process and came back home to attend the University of Minnesota Law School. From there, I practiced law at a leading Twin Cities firm in the areas of real estate, general corporate and litigation. In January of 2013, I started my own company that provides real estate consultancy services for affordable housing developments. In addition, I continue to practice law in Minnetonka, specializing in real estate transactions and serve as a volunteer attorney with the Tubman Pro Bono Safety Project, providing free legal representation to low-income victims of domestic violence seeking Orders for Protection (OFP). I live in Minnetonka with my wife, Kate, who owns her own small business, and our rescue dog, Emma.