Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura broke the law to stop his wife's seizures.

Minnesota hadn't yet legalized medical marijuana when Ventura's wife, Terry, began experiencing seizures about a decade ago. Several medications didn't work, so the Venturas turned to marijuana as treatment. They obtained it illegally from Colorado until Minnesota created its medical cannabis program in 2014, Ventura said. He said the former first lady has been seizure-free since the day she began using it.

"Do you break the law, or do you bury your wife? That's how I viewed it," Ventura said in an interview. "We don't want any other Minnesotans to go through what we went through."

Ventura has waded back into Minnesota politics to urge the DFL-controlled Legislature to legalize recreational marijuana this year. He testified before committees of state lawmakers a few times over the past month to share his wife's story and speak in favor of legalization.

The DFL-led bill to legalize recreational marijuana has already been approved by more than half a dozen committees in each legislative chamber just two months into the session. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and DFL legislative leaders have said the bill could become law this year. But the proposal is facing pushback from some Republicans and opponents who are concerned about the drug's impact on health and highway safety.

"Follow the science, not Governor Ventura," said Linda Stanton, who testified against the marijuana bill during a House committee hearing last week. "How many children need to be poisoned and how many people need to die in car accidents before we get an acknowledgment that cannabis isn't a safe drug?"

Ventura said he and his wife have both benefited from medical cannabis use. Ventura, 71, said he uses it daily to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder and neuropathy in his feet, which can make it hard for him to sleep.

"I couldn't sleep well if I didn't have cannabis," said Ventura, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.

He said he hopes the drug will become more affordable if it's legalized for recreational use, as Minnesota's medical program remains expensive for many people. Medical cannabis treatment for him and his wife costs hundreds of dollars per month, he said.

The former one-term governor has some thoughts on what a legal marijuana market should look like: The tax on marijuana should be no higher than alcohol's, he said, and the minimum age for use should match the age at which you can enter the military. Democrats' marijuana bill sets the minimum age for using the drug at 21.

Ventura seemed to relish his brief return to the political limelight, saying, "When you come back 20 years later, in many ways you're more respected now than you were then."

While testifying during last week's House committee hearing, Ventura laughingly admitted he'd spent more time in the House and Senate office buildings these past two weeks than he did his entire four years as governor. "You all came to me, mostly," Ventura said.

Some snippets of his recent legislative testimony went viral on TikTok, with a couple of videos garnering more than 1 million views each.

"I can assure you I misbehaved far more on alcohol than I ever have on marijuana," Ventura said in a video that was viewed more than 1.3 million times. "In fact, I only misbehaved twice that I can recollect on marijuana. You know what I did? Back in 1970 on marijuana, I went and saw Jimi Hendrix, and then a couple months later, Janis Joplin. I admit it. I was on pot when I went there. And I'll tell you, it was one hell of a show."

Ventura hopes his next appearance at the State Capitol will come under more momentous circumstances: Walz signing the marijuana bill into law.

Beyond that, Ventura said there's one thing that could lure him back to public service. The DFL marijuana bill would create a new state agency, the Office of Cannabis Management, to oversee the market. And that office would need someone to lead it.

"How much better than to put the former governor in charge?" Ventura said. "If Governor Walz wants to name me the commissioner of cannabis, I will give that due consideration. Especially if it's a paying position."

A Walz spokeswoman praised Ventura's enthusiasm but did not specifically respond to his proposition.

"We're excited that Governor Ventura is taking an active role in passing this bill," Walz's spokeswoman Claire Lancaster said. "A team will be appointed to implement a safe, regulated market after the bill has passed."