Minnesota set to legalize adult-use cannabis
Minnesota is set to be the 23rd state to legalize cannabis after the state Senate voted to approved adult-use legislation, mostly along party lines.
Senate File 73 passed by a vote 34-33 of 15 after approval through 13 separate committees. House File 100 passed in the Minnesota House of Representatives 71-59 earlier this week after moving through 15 committees.
The bill will allow adults over 21 to purchase and possess up to two ounces of flower in public. Gifting of up to two ounces of flower would also be permitted between adults. Home grow would also be allowed – both bills allow up to eight plants, four of which can be flowering.
“Those pushing for continuing prohibition are replaying old tropes that have been repeated and debunked for years. They continue to turn a blind eye to the harm prohibition has caused Minnesota. This is the moment to end those harms and move Minnesota forward,” said Carol Moss, partner at Hellmuth & Johnson, a Minnesota-based law firm.
The hemp-derived delta-9-THC edibles and drinks legalized in 2022 would remain in their own “low dose” category, ensuring the popular products would remain accessible in certain bars and liquor stores.
The legislation calls for the automatic expungement of prior cannabis possession crimes. The state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension would be tasked with determining who qualifies.
“We also have an opportunity to restore justice in Black and Brown communities that have been negatively impacted by the ‘war on drugs.’ The ‘war on drugs’ has failed these communities. We, as Minnesotans, have failed these communities,” said Angela L’Esperance of Minnesota-based Ms. Jane Accounting.
The individual bills will now go to a special committee in order to reconcile any differences before a final vote. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has promised to sign the legislation once it crosses his desk.
For example, the Senate bill allows people to have up to five pounds of cannabis at their private residences, while the House bill limits possession to 1.5 pounds. The House bill calls for an 8 percent tax on cannabis; the Senate calls for 10 percent.
Additionally, The House bill declares Aug. 1, 2023, as the effective date for automatic expungements, while the Senate plan waits until January 2025.
Minnesota’s legislature wraps for business on May 22; the final decision on adult-use cannabis is expected prior to the summer break.
“Minnesota is ready – we need legalization for all Minnesotans!” declared Bridgette Ponder, a hemp farmer and owner of Grounded Gardens.