ST. PAUL (KMHL) – House Democrats will renew their push to legalize recreational marijuana in Minnesota during the upcoming legislative session.

House Majority Leader Rep. Ryan Winkler (D-Golden Valley) is encouraging Minnesotans around the state to join in on the conversation. Winkler said he wants an open and honest debate about it at the capitol this year.

“We will have a bill drafted to address the problems with the current system and shift us to a position where cannabis is legalized, taxed and regulated to serve the public health of Minnesotans,” said Winkler.

Winkler says the “War on drugs” has failed and that it has led to discriminatory criminal justice system.

“Legalizing cannabis for adult use will offer broad benefits across the state,” said Senate Minority Leader Jeff Hayden. “This legislation will help address racial disparities in our criminal justice system, restrain a widespread illegal market and help veterans who deserve access to affordable care to treat PTSD and chronic pain without turning to opioids.”

Senate Republicans are strongly opposed.  Republican Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen from Alexandria says at a time when Democrats are calling for Tobacco 21 and a crackdown on vaping, they’re moving full steam ahead with legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.