Minnesota lawmakers have unveiled plans to legalize cannabis that they hope to pass in 2023.
At a press conference Thursday, bill sponsors in the House of Representatives and the state Senate previewed the legislation, which largely aligns with an earlier measure already passed by the House. in 2021.
“Cannabis should not be illegal in Minnesota. Minnesotans deserve the freedom and respect to make responsible decisions about cannabis for themselves,” said Zach Stephenson, the representative bringing the bill to the House. “Our current laws do more harm than good.”
Minnesotans are ready. 2023 is the year we legalize adult use cannabis in Minnesota. Today, @Lindsey_Port and I introduced legislation. We’ll have our first committee hearing next Wednesday. Full bill language is available here: https://t.co/vCv6BBEjAt
— Zack Stephenson (@zackstephenson) January 5, 2023
On the Senate side, Lindsey Port carries the project. She said she would take the time to educate Senate members to “build the same kind of bipartisan support that was built in the House.” She hopes that a first committee hearing will take place within two weeks.
Here are the main elements of the cannabis legalization project in Minnesota:
- Adults 21 and older could buy up to two ounces of cannabis (56 grams), own up to 2.5 pounds at home, and grow up to eight plants, including four in bloom
- The measure promotes social equity by granting certain licenses in priority to those affected by the war on drugs
- Old cannabis criminal records would be automatically expunged
- In addition to creating a private network of cannabis businesses, municipalities and counties could own and operate public dispensaries
- Unlike many US states that have legalized cannabis, municipalities would not have the right to prohibit the operation of cannabis businesses within their jurisdictions, but they could establish “reasonable” regulations on opening hours and location of these businesses
- Cannabis retail sales would be taxed at 8%. Part of the proceeds would fund drug treatment programs, as well as grants to support farmers
- The text prohibits synthetic cannabinoids