Democratic lawmakers in Minnesota are beginning to move toward legalizing marijuana, and the bill cleared the first of many legislative hurdles this week.
The bill “cleared the first of up to 12 committee hurdles when the House Committee on Trade and Finance Policy approved the bill in a voice vote on Wednesday and sent it to the House Judiciary, Finance and Civil Law Committee. “apparently. Minnesota House of Representatives Public Affairs Services Division reported.
The bill legalizes cannabis for adults 21 and older and establishes a regulatory framework for legal marijuana sales that will begin within months of passage of the bill.
It was introduced last week by Democrats in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
“Cannabis should not be illegal in Minnesota,” Democrat Rep. Zach Stevenson, one of the bill’s authors, said at a press conference announcing the bill at the state capitol last week. . “Minnesotans deserve the freedom and respect to make responsible decisions about cannabis itself. Our current laws do more harm than good. spending to enforce laws that serve no one.”
Stevenson and his fellow Democrats in St. Paul have long aspired to bring cannabis legalization to the Nation of 10,000 Lakes, but have so far been thwarted by Republican lawmakers.
But things changed after the November election when Minnesota Democrats regained control of the state Senate and maintained a majority in the state House.
The state’s Democratic governor, Tim Waltz, was also reelected this fall and has been a vocal advocate for legalizing marijuana in Minnesota.
“It’s time to legalize adult-use marijuana and expunge Minnesota’s cannabis convictions. We’re ready to sign the law,” Waltz said after Democrats introduced a legalization bill earlier this month. said in a tweet.
At Wednesday’s committee meeting, Stephenson expressed confidence that a bill strengthened by public support would eventually reach Walz’s desk.
Summary of news services Amendments considered at Wednesday’s committee meeting:
“The subject of local control, or lack thereof, was the subject of an unsuccessful amendment put forward by Rep. Kurt Doubt (Republican). It would have given cities and towns the option to enact local ordinances regulating certain cannabis business licenses.Two other Republican amendments were adopted.Rep. The proposed one would add health warnings for pregnant or breastfeeding women who use cannabis products, and an amendment by Rep. The agency needs to investigate the health effects of secondhand smoke from cannabis.Stevenson said the Dotzes Amendment was a good idea, but his bill would not allow smoking under the Clean Indoor Air Act. It said it has already banned cannabis smoking in places where it is not.
Polls show Minnesota voters are ready to enter the post-Prohibition era.
The move by state Democrats was foreseen by former Gov. Jesse Ventura, one of Minnesota’s most famous politicians. He said Waltz called him directly after the November elections and said legalization would take place.
“The cannabis deadlock in Minnesota was[the Senate]Republicans,” Ventura said at the time. “Well, they’ve lost it now, and the governor has reassured me that one of the first items to pass – Minnesota, get ready – the cannabis ban will be lifted. That’s the news I got today.”