Chances of Minnesota legalizing marijuana in the coming year are not good. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. Analysts predict another half-dozen could this year, although marijuana remains illegal in federal law.

Governor Tim Walz supports legalizing recreational marijuana, and House Democratic Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said earlier he plans to introduce a bill at the beginning of the next session.

But Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka worries about distracted driving, abuse, and negative effects on adolescent development. Gazelka said, “…We’re talking about increasing funding for [the fight against] opioid abuse, and suddenly we want to legalize marijuana. Just seems like it’s going the opposite direction.”