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Minnesota Lawmakers Introduce Cannabis Legalization Bill

Minnesota Lawmakers Introduce Cannabis Legalization Bill
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State lawmakers in Minnesota introduced a bill this week that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults and establish a legal marijuana industry in the state. The bill, HF 4632, was introduced by House of Representatives Majority Leader Ryan Winkler on Tuesday with the support of 33 cosponsors.

Winkler, a Democrat, said in February that he and his colleagues in the House were working on what he said would be “the best legalization bill in the country to date.” He added that the lawmakers working on the bill would learn from the mistakes of the 11 other states that have already legalized marijuana.

Soon after, however, attention shifted from pending legislative priorities to dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe. But with restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus now beginning to be relaxed, Winkler believes it’s time to renew the push to legalize cannabis.

“We made a commitment to introduce legislation this session, and we wanted to follow through on that commitment,” he said in a statement. “Our current priority is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, but after the town halls and discussions around this issue, we still wanted to put a strong bill forward. As we look to come out of this crisis as a better, stronger Minnesota, we need to continue working toward legalizing cannabis for responsible adult use.”

If passed, Winkler’s bill would legalize the use and possession of cannabis by adults. Up to 1.5 ounces of pot could be legally carried on one’s person and up to ten pounds of marijuana could be kept at home. Growing up to eight cannabis plants, four of which may be flowering, would also be legalized.

The bill also provides a regulatory framework for a commercial cannabis industry to be established in Minnesota. Labeling, packaging, and testing requirements would be implemented for cannabis products and dosage sizes would be restricted, among other regulations.

Social Equity Measures Written Into Bill

Several social equity provisions are also written into the bill, including the establishment of an Office of Social Equity that would distribute grants to promote economic opportunity and community stability. The measure also prioritizes social equity applicants for business licenses in the new cannabis industry. HF 4632 provides for the expungement of most cannabis convictions, as well.

The bill was crafted after months of public discussions and research that included an analysis of the successes and challenges of cannabis legalization in other states. Unlike other states, the legislation does not include provisions that allow local jurisdictions to ban cannabis businesses, a power that has been used to thwart the growth of the legal cannabis industry in California.

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“Minnesotans have been loud and clear that our current cannabis laws are doing more harm than good,” Winkler said. “By creating a regulatory framework, we can address the harms caused by cannabis and establish a more sensible set of laws to improve our health care and criminal justice systems and ensure better outcomes for communities.”

Last year, a bipartisan bill to legalize cannabis was introduced in Minnesota but failed to survive a vote by a state Senate committee. When Winkler first announced the new bill’s imminent introduction in February, he acknowledged it would be a long road to legalization subject to amendments and compromise and it is “highly likely that it will take more than one year to get it done.”

A.J. Herrington
Written By

A.J. Herrington is a San Diego-based writer and photographer covering cannabis and the environment.

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Tiffany Justice

    May 8, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Yo I ordered your wonderful magazine on April 2. It came out of my bank account on April 6 from Hightimes.com. We haven’t received anything from y’all. What’s up with that? We can send snap shots of our bank statements proving that it came out. What’s up? Can you send us your magazines please?

    • Avatar

      Accounts Payable

      May 9, 2020 at 1:55 am

      Ms. Justice:
      Yo? Perhaps a jungle-gym, and a tire swing would be more to your liking than reading material. In the future, address your complaints to the HT office instead of a public forum. Your Jr. college never bothered to teach your etiquette one gathers.

      • Avatar

        Greg Palenschat

        May 9, 2020 at 12:57 pm

        BURN!

      • Avatar

        Jack Frost

        May 9, 2020 at 3:50 pm

        Go smoke some more weed and collect your unemployment check

        • Avatar

          Tmays

          May 9, 2020 at 5:48 pm

          That’s an ignorant comment.. I smoke.. I work probably harder Than you..

        • Avatar

          Tubbs

          May 10, 2020 at 5:09 am

          Shut tf up and get education stupid fucker

        • Avatar

          Greg Wilkinson

          May 14, 2020 at 7:15 am

          I retired at 55 with a home, full pension, paid healthcare and money in the bank for 38 years of service to my employer and I smoked pot the whole time.

        • Avatar

          Nathan

          June 13, 2020 at 9:10 pm

          bruh. thats pretty rude. literally all mu friends smoke. thry all have good paying jobs. learn your facts before you spill your comments out

        • Avatar

          Mary T

          June 15, 2020 at 6:42 pm

          I’ll smoke my weed AND hold down my job! It’s not fucking rocket science, you ignorant prick. It’s called responsible usage.

      • Avatar

        Bill Willnot

        July 7, 2020 at 10:02 am

        Wow… what a fucking response. If that’s what you call customer service, maybe you can do without my business as well.

  2. Avatar

    Corey Weaver

    May 9, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    We as a state, are so far behind the power curve for this movement The only thing that this GREEDY STATE WILL DO, IS RAPE THE CUSTOMER FINANCIALLY!

    How do I know this, its because they already do it RIGHT NOW. GREEDY BASTARDS!

  3. Avatar

    Sammy McCarty

    May 9, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    My names Sammy. I’ve visited every republican senator that would meet with me. I’ve called the rest. I’ve protested several times with signs and flyers. I was a prison pastor that was tired of seeing only people of color getting long term sentences. I know a man who got 3 years for 3 joints in MN.

    If you want to help legalize MN I’m pressuring the seven most vulnerable republicans senators using the hashtag, #ImNoOneSpecial the reason I picked them is they’re holding it up now. I picked them off a lot of statistics trust me please.

    The hash tag means, While I’m no one special the people being hurt by the war on weed are special to me. Our nanas who need medicine are not able to go to a safe dispensary and are getting hurt by bad guys. Our friends that use marijuana for anxiety are being persecuted. Our friends and family may not be special to them but they mean the world to us.

    Tweet them with stories they need to hear they think this isn’t going to matter in Nov 2020. Show them they’re wrong.

    #ImNoOneSpecial

    • Avatar

      Tommy Tometich

      May 10, 2020 at 8:53 am

      As someone who used to review Sentencing Guidelines Worksheets, there is no way anyone in the State of Minnesota was sentenced to three years in prison for possession of three joints, even if he had enough criminal history points to put him at the top of the point scale for that offense. You can have 1.5 ounces of marijuana in your possession and it’s a petty misdemeanor fine in Minnesota. Either he lied to you and you bought it or you’re… mistaken. I’m all for the legalization of marijuana in Minnesota but don’t make up bullsh*t.

      • Avatar

        Bill Willnot

        July 7, 2020 at 10:05 am

        Most people don’t care about silly, petty little things like “facts” anymore. And “fact checking” is a labor that is only fit for someone else.

        Thank you Tommy! Thank you for your honesty!

    • Avatar

      Bob

      July 9, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      I worked for the state prison system for 28 years. There was harley ever anybody doing time for weed in state prison! The last 10 years or so I didn’t see one person coming in for a canibus conviction.
      I do know some that came back in on parole violations for testing positive but it has basically been decriminalized already.
      I 100% support legal weed but it’s not like a bunch of people are going to get out of jail due to legalizing it. That would have to happen on the Federal level.

  4. Avatar

    Jenna Taylia

    May 10, 2020 at 6:45 am

    I really think it’s about time we legalize Cannabis in MN. If they do it right, we could capitalize on profits from our neighboring states and really fix the deficit quickly!Problem is,Law Enforcement is bribing our senators to keep it out of our beautiful state. Time to vote Green Party on all elections! Including our President choice!

    • Avatar

      Tommy Tometich

      May 10, 2020 at 9:07 am

      No one has to bribe the Minnesota GOP senate. Overall, they are very anti-marijuana without anyone having to “bribe” them. I worked with the committee to legalize medical marijuana in Minnesota and I can tell you the GOP members were quaking in their boots at the thought of drug crazed cancer patients wreaking havoc on the good (white) citizens of their party. My guess is they watched Reefer Madness in high school and it had a lasting impression. Their ignorance is blinding so we ended up with a horrific medical marijuana bill that helps very few people because of the cost. You can bet Leafline Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions will be lobbying hard against the legalization as will big Pharma who make opiates. Money talks and there are big businesses who have a vested interest in NOT having marijuana legalized in Minnesota.

      • Avatar

        Laura

        May 10, 2020 at 9:57 am

        Unfortunately true I had prescription for medicinal cannabis. Expired during Coronavirus, can’t afford the high prices and the rigmarole hopefully something will go through

        • Avatar

          Joe

          May 11, 2020 at 9:35 am

          Ten lbs. at home? Man that takes me back to the seventies, the quick flights on Ozark airlines down to Ft. Lauderdale and the much longer drives in Hertz Grand Marquis’s back to Missouri.

  5. Avatar

    Tina

    May 10, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    Yes they should.it will help the economy and free up jails for the drug dealers that should be in jail.

  6. Avatar

    LORI

    May 11, 2020 at 2:23 am

    I need medical marijuana at least easily accessible in my life of major depression, anxiety, bi-polar and scared that people are only gonna hurt me either mentally, emotionally, verbally or physically. To be able to have the quality of life I can make it through each day without begging and pleading the Lord my father to call me home to him every day. There has to be a better life after this one. I can not reach that by taking my own life. So please help others, like myself to just get through the rest of our lives more at easy to make it into the next life calmly better without feeling such pain that we wish for!

  7. Avatar

    Jason

    May 11, 2020 at 5:48 am

    Do it

  8. Avatar

    Minnesota Michael

    May 11, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    If this does not passed here in the North Star State through legislative means, cannabis legalization become an election issue and goes up for a vote by the people. The GOP majority in the senate is razor thin here, and they have a lot to lose on this bill. Governor Walz is pro-cannabis and ran on this platform. I’m glad this bill helps our crappy medical program immediately of which I a member. Let’s not be Lutheran Liberal, Minnesota, it’s time to be the Oregon of the Midwest.

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