Minnesota House OKs marijuana legalization, Senate to vote on Friday
The Minnesota House of Representatives passed marijuana legislation Tuesday that would allow recreational use of the drug for adults aged 21 and older, and with the possibility of a vote in the Senate on Friday, the Minnesota legislature could be mere days from sending it to Governor Walz to sign into law.
The bill allows 21-year-olds to buy marijuana and sell it, provided they are approved for a state business license. It also expunges records for low-level marijuana convictions and creates an expungement board to consider felony offenses.
“Our current laws have failed. We have decades and decades of data to support that conclusion,” Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL) said. “They are doing more harm than good.”
The DFL is seeking to make the legalization benefit those harmed by previous marijuana laws through job opportunities, business loans and other opportunities in the new market. The House bill also creates the Office of Cannabis Management, which would regulate the rapidly rising market.
The House bill passed 71 - 59, with two Republicans joining the DFL majority to get the legislation across the finish line.
The Senate and the House bills have different language that would require them to go through another committee to align the language and go through one more vote before reaching Minnesota Governor Tim Walz desk. He has said he would sign marijuana legislation that comes onto his desk.
The Minnesota legislature passed legislation that legalized hemp-derived THC products last year.