The Minnesota House on Tuesday, April 25, passed a 300-page bill that would allow adults 21 and older to buy, sell and use cannabis, joining nearly two dozen other states that have legalized the cannabis plant for adult use.
It passed Tuesday afternoon on a 71-59 vote, with two Republicans joining all but one Democrat in supporting the proposal. Lawmakers started debating it Monday night before adjourning and resuming discussion the next day.
"Minnesotans deserve the freedom and the respect to make their own decisions about cannabis use. Our current laws have failed," said Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, who is the bill's author.
The proposal would create a new state Office of Cannabis Management tasked with oversight. Minnesotans looking to cash in on new business would apply for state licenses to grow, manufacture or sell cannabis at dispensaries. It allows a person to keep 1.5 pounds of flowers in their homes, grow up to eight plants, and have two ounces in a public place.
The legislation—which is the culmination of hours of testimony and 16 committee hearings—would also automatically expunge low-level cannabis convictions and set up an expungement board to consider felony offenses. It's a move that supporters say reflects a core goal of the bill: righting the wrongs of cannabis prohibition that have disproportionately harmed people of color.
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