A bill to legalize marijuana in Minnesota passed its Fourth House Committee and advanced through the Senate committee on Thursday.
Lawmakers are working quickly to pass the legislation introduced earlier this month. The House version passed the Committee on Labor, Fiscal Policy, and Industry on a voice vote. In the Senate, this companion bill passed 5-3 in the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.
The proceedings were sponsored by Representative Zack Stephenson (D) and Senator Lindsey Port (D) in their chambers.
“Banning cannabis is a failed system that has not achieved its intended goals and has had huge costs for our communities, especially for communities of color,” Burr said at a Senate hearing Thursday.
“We have an opportunity today to begin the process to undo some of the damage that has been done and create a system of regulation that works for consumers and businesses in Minnesota while ensuring opportunity in this new market for the communities affected by the ban,” the senator said. The law does just that.”
For his part, Stephenson told the House committee that “it’s time to legalize adult use of cannabis in Minnesota.”
“Current laws are doing more harm than good. Minnesotans deserve the dignity and respect to make their own decisions about cannabis.” “This bill moves cannabis from the illegal market to a legal, regulated market where we can address the end effects of cannabis consumption in a more honest way, and try to give people the freedom they have.”
With a majority in both the House and Senate and the governor in control of this session, DLP and farm officials are confident the legislation will be enacted in short order after extensive consideration by the committee.
These latest developments come days later The governor issued his biennial budget requestwhich included proposed funding to implement marijuana legalization and deletion, and provided projections about the millions of dollars in cannabis tax revenue his office estimates the state will earn after the reform is enacted.
The legislation, meanwhile, is an iteration of a 2021 bill passed by the House of Representatives from former Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), who is now campaign chair of the MN Ready Advocacy Coalition. that group She announced last month that she would push for the measure while leading a grassroots effort to build support for reform.
Governor Tim Walz (D) called on supporters to join lawmakers and the administration in their push to legalize marijuana this session, and He distributed an email this month It encourages people to sign a petition supporting reform.
Much of the revised bills being introduced through the committee are consistent with Winkler’s legislation, though there have been some major changes, in addition to the newly approved amendments. For example, it adds a new licensing class for businesses that sell “low potency food products” under Minnesota’s unique THC law. signed by the Governor General last.
There will also be reduced regulatory requirements for these licensees, and they will be able to allow on-site consumption if they have a liquor license, which is intended to ensure that stores currently selling low-THC beverages and foods do not experience disruption.
During a meeting on Thursday, the House Committee adopted Modification From the sponsor of the bill that would delete a requirement for joint medical cannabis and recreational marijuana operations to have separate entrances and eliminate existing medical cannabis patient registration fees.
It would also remove a marijuana product’s warning label that it is required in relation to pregnant and breastfeeding women while instead directing regulators to assess its necessity.
The amendment also addresses driving issues, including by adding language to criminalize having an open container of marijuana in a vehicle and promoting cannabis-related driver education programs.
It would also change criminal laws regarding the possession and sale of cannabis, and require state officials to file reports on delisting efforts.
Landlords would not be able to take reverse action against people who possess non-combustible cannabis products other than electronic cigarettes on their property under another change to the amendment, but sober living facilities could prohibit such possession on their premises. Other technical changes are also part of the amendment, including the addition of cannabis along with other drugs in laws regarding liability for bodily harm and other issues.
Meanwhile, the Senate committee agreed adjustment To allow outdoor advertisers to run ads for cannabis products, to require a study of the impact of cannabis use, to align business hours between dispensaries and liquor retailers and to match warning label rules for tobacco and marijuana.
Other approved amendments mandate that marijuana ads contain warnings of vulnerability and health risks and require stock officers to study the impact of cannabis use.
Members also defeated proposed revisions to give localities the power to ban cannabis retailers, remove work and peace agreement requirements for marijuana businesses, deny liquor licensees the ability to sell cannabis materials, and make medical providers of cannabis must be at least 21 instead. of 18 and delaying the implementation of type licensing for low-potency cannabis retailers by four years.
A proposed revision to delete language that awards license points to people with previous marijuana convictions was withdrawn by the sponsor after a rejection from Port.
The next stop for the Senate version is the Jobs and Economic Development Committee, while the House bill will head to the Finance, State and Local Policy Committee.
The following are the main components of the revised marijuana legalization projects, HF100 And SF73:
Adults 21 and older can buy up to an ounce of cannabis and grow up to eight plants, four of which can be mature.
They can hold up to an ounce in a public place and up to five pounds in a private residence.
Gifting of up to an ounce of marijuana is allowed without reward between adults.
It will promote social justice, in part by ensuring diversified licenses by registering applicants for higher equity.
Previous marijuana records will also be erased automatically. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will be responsible for identifying persons eligible for relief and processing write-offs.
In addition to creating a system of licensed cannabis businesses, municipalities and counties can own and operate state dispensaries.
Consumption permits can be approved on site for events, and cannabis delivery services will be permitted under the bill.
Unlike many legal jurisdictions, local municipalities will be prohibited from banning marijuana businesses from operating in their areas, although they can set “reasonable” regulations on the operating time and location of those businesses.
Retail cannabis sales will be taxed at eight percent. A portion of the proceeds will fund substance abuse treatment programs, as well as grants to support farmers.
A new cannabis management office will be created, which will be responsible for regulating the market and issuing commercial licenses for cannabis. There will be a specific section for social justice.
People who live in low-income neighborhoods and veterans who have lost honorable mention status due to a cannabis-related crime will consider Social Justice applicants eligible for a priority license.
The amended legislation fixes a problem in existing law that prevents liquor stores from selling THC products.
It also contains language that prohibits industrial cannabis, which is in line with Pharmacy Board rules that were put in place last year.
The bill has been passed in the House of Representatives so far Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy and Committee on Financial Affairs and Civil Law of the House of Representatives and Committee on Trade, Finance and Policy. Senate version advanced through Judiciary and Public Safety Committee although there is no recommendation, and will be backed up by the committee before a possible heading to the floor.
The lawmakers and the governor expressed optimism about the prospects for legalizing this session, especially with the Democrats newly taking control of both chambers, while in the last session they had a majority in the House of Representatives only.
After they won the elections in November, The Democrats internally agreed to discuss the issue imminent.
House Speaker Melissa Hortmann (D) recently said she expects cannabis reform to be included in the governor’s next budget request, though she reiterated that reform “will take a long time” to move through the legislature.
While marijuana reform has been left off the list of legislative priorities Democrats unveiled this month, Hortmann said the issue is a “priority,” albeit a “very large and complex one.”
conservative It included funding to implement the legalization in his latest executive budget request, but lawmakers were unable to enact the policy change. Opinions differ between him and Hortmann as to how quickly the case can progress in this hearing with Walz He recently said it would be “by May” The spokesperson noted that it could take until next year.
Winkler told the Marijuana Moment earlier this month that he agrees with the governor, saying “it’s likely that [passing legalization] By May.”
“The reason is that the legislature will defer until next year at the end of May, and so if they don’t do it on that schedule, it will take another full year—and I don’t think anything will be improved or improved by waiting.” “So it is in everyone’s interest to pass this law.”
Two polls released in September revealed that the majority of Minnesotans Support legalizing marijuana use for adultsAnd one survey showed more Minnesotans approving of the state’s move to legalize foods containing THC, which was enacted earlier this year.
a Survey conducted by officials with the House of Representatives At the annual state fair launched in September, he also found majority support for legalization. This poll by the legislature found that 61 percent of Minnesotans support legalizing cannabis use for adults.
Support rose this year from 58 percent when Public Information Services in the House Survey goers to think about this issue in 2021. in 2019, The House poll found 56 percent Legalization support.
Delaware lawmakers approved a marijuana legalization bill in committee one day after advancing the regulatory proposal.