Minnesota Marijuana Legalization Bill Passed by Seventh House Committee

Seven committees in the Minnesota House of Representatives have now passed legislation to legalize marijuana.

With the bill’s passage in the House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee, it is halfway through the 14 committees necessary for a full House vote. A companion bill in the Senate has been passed by four of 18 committees.

“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,” said Representative Zack Stephenson, the bill’s prime sponsor in the House.

Stephenson says that “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.”

Senator Lindsey Port, the prime sponsor of the bill in the senate, says that the prohibition of cannabis “is a failed system that has not achieved the desired goals and has had incredible costs for our communities, especially for communities of color. 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”.

Port says “Our main goals are to legalize, regulate and expunge, and we’re working to ensure this bill does just that.”

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 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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