Minnesota Committee Advances Cannabis Legalization Bill

Minnesota’s adult-use cannabis legalization proposal advanced through another legislative committee this week — it is the bill’s ninth favorable committee vote.

Full story after the jump.

Lawmakers in Minnesota’s House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee advanced the state’s cannabis legalization proposal in an 11-7 vote on Tuesday, Marijuana Moment reports. It was the ninth House committee so far to advance the proposal along its path to the full House floor.

The bill — sponsored by House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), Speaker Melissa Hortman (D), and others — seeks to legalize the possession and regulated sale of cannabis products for adults aged 21 or older and would allow adults to grow up to eight cannabis plants (four mature and four immature) at home.

“Our effort as a society and as a state to use the criminal justice system to ban, prohibit and criminalize cannabis is a public policy failure. As a public safety and criminal justice matter, cannabis prohibition has had a disproportionate effect on communities of color, especially Black Minnesotans. Our [current] policy is a failure and it creates harm. This bill is about correcting that harm of cannabis prohibition using the criminal justice system.” — Winkler, in a statement before the vote

The committee added several amendments to the bill, according to the report, including one that clarifies a person caught possessing cannabis in excess of the personal possession limit of 1.5 ounces would face lower penalties if said cannabis product has a legal source (as opposed to an illegal/unregulated source). Another amendment adds language to the bill’s expungement provision that calls on courts to automatically vacate and dismiss records for low-level possession cases.

The proposal now moves to the House Health Finance and Policy Committee.

If the bill is ultimately approved by the House, it is expected to face steep opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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