Minnesota Democrats Pushing for Cannabis Legalization After Taking Control of Legislature

During the first week of the 2023 legislative session, Minnesota Democrats — who recently gained majority control over both the House and Senate — introduced a plan to legalize adult-use cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

After gaining majorities in both chambers of the legislature during the midterm elections, Minnesota Democrats are planning to legalize cannabis for adult use during this year’s legislative session, CBS News Minnesota reports. Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL), the author of a bill to implement the reforms, told CBS News he believes 2023 is the year the reforms will be enacted after Republicans had blocked legalization efforts for at least two years.

“Cannabis should not be illegal in Minnesota. Minnesotans deserve the freedom and respect to make responsible decisions about cannabis themselves. Our current laws are doing more harm than good.” — Stephenson via CBS News

Stephenson’s proposal would legalize cannabis sales to adults 21 and older and allows for the expungement of low-level cannabis convictions. The measure was introduced on Thursday and referred to the House Commerce, Finance, and Policy Committee.

Last summer, lawmakers passed a bill legalizing low-dose cannabis edibles up to 5 milligrams of THC, although GOP lawmakers may have voted for the measure without understanding the bill’s full scope. A MinnPost/Embold Research poll released in October found 60% of Minnesotans supported the reforms. Stephenson’s proposal includes language to implement licensing requirements and additional taxes on the now-legal edibles.

On Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz (DFL) said on Twitter that he is “ready” to sign a cannabis legalization bill into law.

“It’s time to legalize adult-use cannabis,” he wrote, “and expunge cannabis convictions in Minnesota.”

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