Lorie Shaull

Minnesota House to Vote on Cannabis Legalization This Week

Lawmakers in the Minnesota House are expected to vote on a cannabis legalization proposal this week.

Full story after the jump.

The Minnesota House is expected to vote on a cannabis legalization bill this week, according to a WCCO report. The measure is expected to pass the chamber, which is controlled by Democrats but faces long odds in the Republican-controlled Senate.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, who is also one of the bill sponsors, told WCCO Sunday Morning that legalization in the state “is not a partisan issue.”

“We’ve been all over this state and I have seen Republicans, Independents, Democrats express support.” – Winkler to WCCO

The proposal has been approved by 10 House committees on its way to the full chamber. It would allow retail sales for adult 21-and-older and allow home grows up to eight plants.

In January, state Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R) said he has no plans to work toward cannabis legalization this year and that such reforms aren’t “right for the state.” He expressed concerns about the effects of legalization on public safety, employment, education outcomes, and mental health.”

“I would be open to expanding medical use or hearing criminal justice reforms, but the ideas need to be fully vetted in a public committee process,” he said in an interview with Center Square. “There is a wide range of opinions I want to hear from before we move forward with changing the laws on marijuana.”

House Speaker Melissa Hortman has described the state’s Republicans as the “biggest obstacle to progress” on legalization.

The reforms are also supported by Gov. Tim Walz (D) who said in 2019 that he had directed the relevant state agencies to “put all of the building blocks in place” for legalization that would allow the state to implement the rules and regulations “the minute” the Legislature approved the reforms.

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