Fifth Senate Committee Votes to Legalize Marijuana in Minnesota Following Seven House Committees Doing to the Same

Yet another Minnesota Senate committee has passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana.

The Senate Environment, Climate, and Legacy passed the measure in a tight 5 to 4 vote, making them the fifth committee in the Senate to approve the measure and move it forward in the committee process. It will need to pass a total of 18 Senate committees to reach a vote by the full Senate.

On the House of Representatives side of things, seven committees have approved the measure, with seven more to go in order for the bill to receive a full House vote. Approval by the full House and Senate would send the legislation to Governor Tim Walz, who supports it.

“Cannabis prohibition is a failed system that has not achieved the desired goals and has had incredible costs for our communities, especially for communities of color”, says Senator Lindsey Port, the prime sponsor of the bill in the senate. “We have an opportunity today to move forward in the process to undo some of the harm that has been done and to create a system of regulation that works for Minnesota consumers and businesses, while ensuring an opportunity in this new market for communities that have been most affected by prohibition”.

Representative Zack Stephenson, the bill’s prime sponsor in the House, says “This bill creates a comprehensive new marketplace that will foster good jobs and good businesses here in Minnesota at all levels of the cannabis industry. Minnesotans are ready for this. Our current laws regarding cannabis are doing more harm than good. Minnesotans deserve the freedom and respect to make their own decisions about cannabis use.”

The proposal and its house companion bill has now been passed by the following committees on its way to votes by the full house and senate:

  • House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee
  • House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee
  • House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee
  • House Commerce, Finance and Policy Committee
  • House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee
  • House Labor and Industry Finance and Policy Committee
  • House State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee
  • Senate Environment, Climate, and Legacy
  • Senate Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development Committee
  • Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee
  • Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee
  • Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee

The proposed legislation would allow those 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow up to eight plants for personal use. The measure would setup a regulatory framework for licensed retail marijuana outlets and would establish a state Cannabis Management Office to oversee the legal marijuana market. The measure would establish an 8% marijuana excise tax, which would be added to the state’s standard 6.8% sales tax.

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