AP Interview: Dayton opposes eased marijuana laws
By BRIAN BAKST
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- With other states moving to relax marijuana laws, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton remains resistant to allowing possession of the drug for medical or recreational use in his state.
The Democratic governor addressed the issue in a wide-ranging interview Friday with The Associated Press. Eighteen states allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and Colorado and Washington have decriminalized possession of small amounts for any purpose.
Proposals to allow medical marijuana in Minnesota have been stuck amid opposition from law enforcement. But advocates plan to push again in the 2013 session. Dayton says he won't budge unless law enforcement signs off on a deal that includes strict controls on how accessible the drug would be.
But, in Dayton's words, "I don't think we need another drug operating in our society."
AP Interview: Gov to push domestic partner benefit
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Gov. Mark Dayton says he plans to include same-sex domestic partner benefits in Minnesota's state employee contracts.
Dayton, a gay-rights supporter, told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that he will put the benefits on the table in contract negotiations due to start in a few months.
Minnesota briefly offered health benefits to employees' domestic partners under Gov. Jesse Ventura, an independent. Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty removed the benefits.
Dayton's administration circulated an offer including domestic partner benefits during talks this year, but Dayton said they pulled the provision to keep them from certain defeat in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
If the benefits are adopted, domestic partners of state employees would become eligible for family health and dental coverage.
Democrats take over the Legislature next month.