Minnesota will be the 23rd US state to legalize cannabis

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Minnesota Democratic Governor Tim Walz yesterday reiterated his promise to sign the cannabis legalization bill that arrived on his desk on Saturday. Minnesota, which legalized cannabis for medical purposes in 2014, will become the 23rd US state to legalize cannabis for adults.

Minnesota’s House of Representatives and Senate, both controlled by Democrats, previously approved slightly different legalization bills. Bill HF 100, passed by both houses last week, reconciles these differences.

Minnesota Cannabis Legalization Details

Adults 21 or older will be allowed to possess two ounces (56 grams) or less of cannabis in public, share that amount with other adults, keep two pounds (1 kilogram) or less at home, and grow up to eight plants, four of which are flowering. These provisions will come into force on August 1.

The bill also provides for the creation of a cannabis management office to license and regulate commercial production and distribution. Cannabis products will be subject to 10% retail sales tax, in addition to regular local and state sales taxes.

Local authorities will be allowed to regulate retailers and limit their number, but they will not be able to ban them altogether. MP Zack Stephenson, co-sponsor of the bill, said licensed sales are expected to begin in 12 to 18 months.

Initially, cannabis consumption will be limited to private residences. But the law will eventually allow cannabis use in specially licensed businesses and events.

Driving under the influence of cannabis will remain illegal. But Minnesota doesn’t have a standard per se which would make a driver automatically guilty due to the presence of THC in his blood. The law requires proof of impairment.

Bill HF 100 eliminates some cannabis-related offenses and downgrades others. It requires the automatic expunging of criminal records for cannabis possession, a process that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says could last until August 2024. The bill calls for the creation of a review board tasked with considering the re-sentencing of people with criminal records for possession of cannabis.

According to a recent SurveyUSA poll, 64% of Minnesota voters support cannabis legalization, including 81% Democrats and 49% Republicans. This figure is similar to the national breakdown among American adults that Gallup reported last fall.

“The current system doesn’t work,” Lindsey Port said ahead of the vote on the cannabis bill in her House, of which she was the main sponsor. “The best way to protect our children from access to cannabis is to legalize and regulate it. »

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