Marijuana on the Move. Minnesota Cannabis Legalization Bill Advances Through Fourth House Committee
The bill to legalize Cannabis in Minnesota advanced through the Senate committee on Thursday. The legislation that was introduced earlier this month is being passed quickly by lawmakers.
The House approved the Labor and Industry, Finance and Policy Committee. The companion bill was passed in the Senate by a small margin. The bills are being sponsored by two democrats.
At the Senate hearing on Thursday, Port said that the prohibition of cannabis was a flawed system that has not achieved the desired goals.
There is an opportunity today to start the process of undoing some of the harm that has been done and to create a system of cannabis regulation that works for Minnesota buyers and small and large businesses while ensuring an opportunity in this new market for communities that have been affected by cannabis prohibition. Our main goal is to legalize, regulate and expunge, and we are trying to ensure that this bill does that. The time has come to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state of Minnesota, according to the speaker. Laws are doing more harm than good.
Minnesotans have the right to make their own decisions about cannabis.
The bill attempts to give people the freedom that they have by shifting cannabis from an illegal market to a legal market where we can address the several downstream impacts of cannabis consumption in a more honest way.
Democratic-Farmer-Labor party officials are confident that legalization will be enacted quickly due to the majority in both the House and Senate. The governor's biennial budget request included funding to implement marijuana legalization and expungements and projections about the millions of dollars in cannabis tax revenue that his office estimates the state will earn after the reform is enacted.
The legislation is an iteration of a bill passed by the House in 2021. A grassroots effort to build support for reform will be led by that group. An email blast was sent this month by the governor urging people to sign a petition in favor of marijuana legalization.
Most of the revised bills being advanced through the committee align with the legislation. There is a new license category for businesses that sell lower-potency products under Minnesota law.
They could allow on-site consumption if they sell low-THC beverages if they have a liquor license. The House panel adopted an amendment to remove a requirement for co-located medical cannabis and recreational marijuana operations to have separate entrances.
Marijuana product warnings for pregnant and breastfeeding women would be removed while regulators assessed its necessity. Adding language to criminalize having an open container of Marijuana in a vehicle is one of the issues addressed by the amendment.
It would change the laws regarding cannabis possession and sales. Under the amendment, landlords wouldn't be able to take adverse action against people who possess non-combustible cannabis and non-vaping cannabis products on their property. Still, sober living facilities could prevent such possession on their premises. The amendment adds cannabis and other drugs in statutes concerning liability for bodily harm and other issues."
Amendments to allow outdoor advertisers to post ads for cannabis products were approved by the Senate committee.
Marijuana ads must contain warnings on health risks and should be studied by equity officials. Revisions to allow localities to ban cannabis retailers, eliminate a labor-peace agreement requirement for marijuana businesses, deny liquor licensees the ability to sell cannabis, and delay implementation of a license type was defeated by members.
The sponsor withdrew a proposed revision to remove language that gave points to people with prior marijuana convictions. The Senate version will go to the Jobs and Economic Development Committee, while the House version will go to the State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee.
Adults can purchase up to two ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to eight plants, four of which could be mature. They could have up to two ounces in a public place and up to five pounds in a private home.
Adults would be allowed to give up to two ounces of CANNABIS for free.
It would promote social equity by making licensing more diverse. Cannabis records would be wiped clean. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is responsible for identifying eligible people for relief. The creation of a system of licensed cannabis businesses could also be done by the government.
Cannabis delivery services would be allowed under the bill. Local municipalities would not be permitted to prohibit cannabis businesses from operating in their areas, but they could set "reasonable" regulations on the time and location of those businesses. The tax on retail cannabis sales is eight percent. Substance misuse treatment programs would be funded by part of that revenue. The Office of Cannabis Management would regulate the market and issue licenses. A division of social equity would be created.
Priority licensing would be given to people living in low-income neighborhoods and military veterans who lost honorable status due to a cannabis-related offense.
Liquor stores are not allowed to sell marijuana products in the current statute.
The Board of Pharmacy rules regarding synthetic cannabinoids were implemented last year. The Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee, House Judiciary Finance, Civil Law Committee, and Commerce Finance and Policy Committee have already approved the bill. The Senate version advanced through the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee without a recommendation and will be taken back up by the panel.
With Democrats in control of both chambers and a House majority, lawmakers and the governor are optimistic about legalization prospects. Democrats agreed to discuss the issue soon after they won the election.
The speaker of the House said recently that she expects marijuana reform to be included in the governor's budget request. Marijuana reform was not included in the legislative priorities that Democrats released this month. In his last budget request, the governor included funding for legalization, but it was not enacted. He and Hortman have differing opinions about how quickly the issue can be advanced, with the speaker indicating it could take until next year and the speaker saying it could take until May.
In an interview with Cannabis Moment earlier this month, he said that it is likely that legalization will be done by May.
The legislature adjourns at the end of May, so if they don't do it in that time, it will take another full year. It is in everyone's interest to pass this bill.
Two polls released in September found that most Minnesota residents support adult-use cannabis legalization. One survey showed that even more Minnesotans approve of the state's move to legalize Marijuana infused with the cannabinoid THC.
The House conducted a survey at the State Fair that found majority support for legalization. A majority of Minnesotans support the legalization of cannabis for adult use. The number of fair-goers who helped the issue this year was higher than in the previous year. A majority of people in the House support legalization. The Marijuana Legalization Bill was approved by the Delaware Legislature one day after the regulatory proposal advanced.