Minnesota governor seeks to ready state for pot legalization

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says he's ordered state agencies to be prepared to legalize recreational marijuana next year if the Legislature approves a bill.

But Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says he'll block the bill in the Republican-controlled chamber.

Walz tells Minnesota Public Radio News that he's relying on supporters to continue pushing for legalization.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler says he plans to sponsor a legalization bill next year.

Minnesota's Senate rejected a bill last session that would have decriminalized recreational marijuana in 2022. Critics highlighted concerns about marijuana's effect on traffic accidents, underage use and drug treatment.

Legalization proponents say opposition in the Senate should be removed in the 2020 election.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have already permitted recreational marijuana for adult use.

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