The Minnesota House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee last week approved Democratic Rep. Zack Stephenson’s proposal to legalize adult-use cannabis, KARE 11 reports. The measure still has 12 House committees and a similar number in the Senate before making it to the floor of either chamber for a final vote.
Stephenson told KARE 11 that he was “really encouraged and really positive” about how the bill moved through the committee.
“Our goal in this bill is to foster local and small businesses to give them the tools they need to be successful, much the same way we’ve seen success in the craft industry on the alcohol side.” — Stephenson to KARE 11
During the hearing, Republicans on the committee tried to add provisions to the legislation to allow municipalities to ban retail cannabis dispensaries or create their own licensing systems.
John Hausladen, of the Minnesota Trucking Association, testified in opposition to the reforms over road safety issues and concerns that legalization would make it harder for the trucking industry to find employees because federal law prohibits cannabis use and requires pre-employment drug screenings for industry applicants. Hausladen said he was also concerned about the lack of “reliable roadside tests to assess (cannabis) impairment.”
The measure includes language to create an “oral fluid roadside test” pilot program which would first be used to help officials determine how many impaired drivers are on the road and whether the roadside test works.
The bill is headed next to the House Committee on Capital Investment.
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