Former Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota has expressed his desire to become the "first major politician in America" to have his own marijuana brand featuring his likeness, now that the state has implemented its new cannabis legalization law.
Ventura has been a long-time advocate for marijuana reform and was present next to the current Governor Tim Walz when he signed the legalization bill in May. Speaking at a panel hosted by Canna Connect, Ventura shared his aspirations and personal experience with cannabis, stating that Minnesota is in a prime position to cultivate the "best cannabis in the world."
He emphasized his wish to be involved in the cannabis industry in Minnesota and to support local businesses rather than seeing the market dominated by out-of-state corporations. Ventura sees an opportunity for Minnesota to excel in cannabis production, just as it has been successful with agriculture.
Ventura, a Navy veteran and registered medical cannabis patient, doesn't believe in the medical versus recreational marijuana distinction, aligning with cannabis icon Tommy Chong's perspective that the entire plant has medical benefits, regardless of how it is used. He uses marijuana through vaping to treat non-specific neuropathy and post-traumatic stress, finding relief and better sleep through its use.
His passion for cannabis reform dates back to when his wife suffered from a severe seizure disorder that didn't respond to traditional pharmaceuticals. Taking matters into his own hands, Ventura broke the law and obtained cannabis oil for his wife from Colorado before Minnesota had a legal medical program. The treatment proved successful, but Ventura points out the disparity in health insurance coverage, where pharmaceuticals are paid for, but cannabis is not.
The former governor had previously testified in February about his wife's cannabis treatment during a Senate committee hearing on the ongoing legalization bill.
Notably, Ventura is not the only former Minnesota elected official interested in the cannabis business. Former House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler plans to launch a line of THC-infused beverages.
As of now, Minnesota residents aged 21 and above can possess and grow marijuana for personal use under the new legislation, and the process of expunging prior cannabis records is underway. While recreational cannabis retailers are not expected to open until next year, the state has set up the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) as the primary regulatory body overseeing the market.
In addition, the Cannabis Expungement Board is facilitating record sealing for individuals with eligible marijuana convictions. The state launched a website to provide information about the new law and has started soliciting vendors to build a licensing system for recreational marijuana businesses.