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With DFL control, chances of Minnesota legalizing marijuana ‘have never been better’

Plus: State Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, chosen as majority leader; winter storm warnings in northern Minnesota; Bob Dylan riffs on 66 songs; and more.

Recreational marijuana
REUTERS/Matthew Hatcher

For Forum News Service, Alex Derosier says, “With Democrats in complete control of Minnesota government, the chances of the state legalizing recreational marijuana appear the strongest they’ve ever been. For the past six years, the divided government in St. Paul was a roadblock to any efforts to bring legal pot to Minnesota. … While Democrats in the House and Senate have not yet rolled out their priorities for the 2023 legislative session, Gov. Tim Walz and prominent DFL lawmakers have already expressed support for legalization. On a livestream this week, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura said Walz told him legalization was one of the first things he hopes to get done when the Legislature reconvenes Jan. 3.”

For the Strib, Rochelle Olson reports, “The new Senate DFL caucus selected a Twin Cities-centric leadership team Thursday, choosing Minneapolis Sen. Kari Dziedzic for the post of majority leader. … As majority leader, Dziedic will be responsible for setting and shepherding the Senate Democrats’ agenda, with the party holding a margin of just one vote over the GOP. The announcement came after the caucus met behind closed doors at the Carpenters Local Union 322 in St. Paul, a couple of miles from the Capitol. Neither the vote nor the nature of the deliberations were made public so it wasn’t immediately known whether others sought the positions.”

At KMSP-TV Nathan O’Neal says, “The Minnesota Department of Health is currently conducting a massive statewide initiative to collect, test and monitor drinking water from every single community water system in the state. ‘Our goal is to sample all community public water systems in the State of Minnesota. … So far, almost two-thirds of the state’s nearly 960 community water systems have been sampled. About 1% of those tested systems have exceeded health-based standards.

For The New York Times Dwight Garner writes, “… let’s stand in the rain of the clauses and sub-clauses in Bob Dylan’s devious new book, ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song.’ Dylan has rounded up 66 songs, from Bobby Darin’s ‘Mack the Knife’ and Webb Pierce’s ‘There Stands the Glass’ to Nina Simone’s ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ and the Clash’s ‘London Calling,’ and he riffs on them. These riffs, which he flicks like tarot cards through a distant cactus, sound a lot like his own song lyrics, so much so that part of me wanted this to be a new record instead, wanted to hear these lines come croaking up from Dylan’s 81-year-old lungs and past his buckshot, barb-wired uvula.”

At the Strib, maps. Mary Jo Webster and C.J. Sinner write, “The midterm election in Minnesota saw a lot of incumbents get re-elected, but it wasn’t without some surprises. At a precinct level, the nuance of voting patterns is more complicated than blue vs. red. … Looking at the results county-by-county, [Tim] Walz outperformed [Keith] Ellison by at least 1 percentage point in 37 of the 87 counties. This is particularly noticeable in Washington and Dakota counties, suburban areas where Ellison’s share of the vote came in about 3 percentage points lower. Even in DFL stronghold Hennepin County, Ellison had about 16,000 fewer votes than Walz. Despite these lagging votes, Ellison still bested his opponent, Republican Jim Schultz, in almost all the same counties that Walz won. The exceptions were Carlton and Rice counties, which had among the narrowest margins for Walz.”

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For ESPN Mark Fainaru-Wada says, “TWO CONCUSSION DRUG companies backed by Brett Favre and enmeshed in a massive welfare fraud case overstated their NFL connections and exaggerated the known effectiveness of their drugs during efforts to raise money, according to interviews and documents reviewed by ESPN. … [Prevacus and PresolMD]]  are alleged to have received more than $2.1 million in Mississippi funds that were earmarked for welfare families, according to a civil lawsuit filed by the state. [Company founder Jake] VanLandingham told ESPN in an interview, ‘I had no idea this was welfare money, and I’ve always been an upstanding person when it comes to research.’ Favre declined to comment. Favre, according to the lawsuit, is the top outside investor in Prevacus, and the Hall of Fame quarterback has said he put $1 million of his own money into the companies, which are developing a nasal spray to treat concussions and a cream to prevent or limit them.”

For WDIO-TV in Duluth, Brandon Weatherz says, “A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Koochiching and Beltrami County until noon Friday. North Cass, Itasca, Central and North St. Louis, and South Lake County are in a Winter Weather Advisory in the same timeframe. An area of particular concern are Lake and Cook Counties where an Ice Storm Warning is now in effect until 6 a.m. Friday. … Winds will continue to ramp up out of the northeast with sustained winds around 25 mph and gusts surpassing 40 mph possible. Waves will build on Lake Superior to 9 to 14 feet. Winds shift to northwest on the backside of the system tonight into tomorrow, triggering the cold air that allows snow to take over as the only precipitation type by early Friday morning.”

A BringMeTheNews story by Tommy Wiita says, “A Minnesota couple vacationing for their 10th anniversary found a 1.90-carat diamond at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park [last] Friday. Jessica and Seth Erickson, of Chatfield, were visiting the United States’ only public diamond mine while road-tripping through 11 states for their anniversary. Arkansas State Parks said the two were sifting through the dirt when Seth found the gem in the bottom of his screen after about an hour of searching. The diamond’s estimated value isn’t known at this time.”

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