Minnesota Senate Approves Cannabis Legalization Bill

Lawmakers in the Minnesota Senate narrowly approved an adult-use cannabis legalization bill last week on a 34-33 party-line vote.

Full story after the jump.

The Minnesota Senate last week narrowly voted to legalize cannabis for adult use on a 34-33 party-line vote, CBS News reports. The approval comes three days after the House approved its own legalization bill. The bills contain some slight differences, and lawmakers will next consider a compromise bill that would require final approval by both chambers. 

The Senate version includes a 10% tax on cannabis products while the House version included an 8% tax. The Senate measure would also allow adults to possess up to 5 pounds of cannabis in their homes – the House version sets a 1.5-pound limit. 

The Senate plan would also allow local governments to limit the number of cannabusinesses within their borders; the House version does not have caps. 

The Senate bill also delays criminal justice provisions included in the bill until 2025 while the House version would start the process in August.   

During a press conference after the Senate vote, State Sen. Carla Nelson, who voted against the proposal along with the rest of her Republican colleagues, said law enforcement in the state is “against this bill” and that there are “too many questions about … public safety.”  

Ryan Winkler, who is chairman of the cannabis reform group MN is Ready and formerly served as Minnesota’s House Majority Leader, noted that lawmakers and advocates know about the potential public safety and public health issues. 

“To the extent that we can address those issues and put funding into local communities, funding into public health, we are doing that,” he said in an interview with CBS News. 

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) has said that he would sign an adult-use legalization bill were it to make it to his desk. 

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Ryan Winkler is a state senator.

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