Lawmakers in Minnesota aim to legalize, regulate, and tax a recreational cannabis market as soon as possible, according to two pieces of companion legislation introduced Monday in both the House and the Senate.
“Minnesota’s outdated prohibition policy has become more of a problem than a solution,” Freiberg said in a statement to Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “It is forcing marijuana into a shady underground market, which creates more potential harm for consumers and communities than marijuana itself. Regulating marijuana would make our state safer by removing the criminal element and empowering our state and local governments to start controlling production and sales.”
While the quantity is not specified, the legislation would permit Minnesotans 21 and older to possess and use cannabis recreationally. Dispensaries would be licensed to sell dried marijuana flower and other products like edibles, concentrates, and topicals. All retail products would be lab tested and taxed. Adults would also be permitted to cultivate their own plants at home, and certain marijuana arrest records would also be expunged under the proposed legislation.
According to lawmakers, possession and home cultivation for adults would be legal as early as 2020, and retail shops could open as early as 2022.
“At a certain point, it will become inevitable here in Minnesota,” said Rep. Mike Freiberg. “We have two options in front of us. One is to attempt to get in front of this issue and put strong public health protections in place. And the other is to wait and let it come to us.”
If a recreational marijuana bill makes it to the desk of Governor Tim Walz, he will likely sign it into law. “I support legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use by developing a system of taxation, guaranteeing that it is Minnesota grown, and expunging the records of Minnesotans convicted of marijuana crimes,” Gov. Walz Tweeted in August 2018.