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US (MN): Hemp growers worry about State legalizing cannabis

Minnesota is on the verge of legalizing adult-use cannabis, sparking a lucrative new recreational marketplace, but supporters are cautioning lawmakers not to inadvertently snuff out a widely popular hemp industry.

Legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis and regulate its cultivation, processing and sale narrowly cleared the Minnesota House and Senate this week. But there are differences between the two bills as well as other revisions supporters hope to see addressed in a joint committee of lawmakers before the legislation is sent to Gov. Tim Walz, who is expected to sign it.

“It’s been a long process, and I’m excited that we have taken this critical step,” said Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, after the bill cleared the House on Tuesday. “We are going to get this done this year. We are right at the doorstep.”

Sen. Lindsey Port, DFL-Burnsville, said cannabis prohibition has failed and harmed too many lives with a disproportionate impact on people of color. “It is time for us to change course and create a system that works,” Port said after the Senate approved the legislation Friday along party lines.


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