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Monday, May 29, 2023

Minnesota Senate Votes to Legalizes Adult-Use Cannabis

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Gov. Tim Walz has pledged to sign the bill.

The Minnesota state Senate gave the final green light early Saturday morning by a vote of 34-32 and sent HF 100, which legalizes recreational marijuana, to the desk of Gov. Tim Walz. Once Walz signs the legislation as he has promised to do, Minnesota will become the 23rd state to have legalized adult-use cannabis.

The final bill – which was first approved by the state House of Representatives on Thursday – allows for an expansion of the existing medical marijuana industry, which permitted only two companies to grow and sell cannabis. The new bill allows for “at least one (retailer) per 12,500 residents,” MPR News reported, which could be a minimum of 450 dispensaries given Minnesota’s population of over 5 million.

The bill would also establish a state cannabis tax rate of 10%, along with the state’s existing 6.875% sales tax, for a total likely tax rate of about 17%, CBS News reported.

But new business licenses are likely 12-16 months away, Fox 9 reported, likely because state regulators will still have to write new industry rules and formulate processes for awarding business permits.

The political victory has been months in the making, and comes as Minnesota continues to grapple with a unique cannabis market that has allowed hemp-based edibles infused with THC to be sold at convenience stores, while keeping medical marijuana flower and other products strictly to highly-regulated dispensaries.

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