Minnesota House, Senate, approve adult-use cannabis bill

Lawmakers in the Senate gave their seal of approval in a 34-32 vote early Saturday morning. The...
Lawmakers in the Senate gave their seal of approval in a 34-32 vote early Saturday morning. The bill now moves to the governor's desk.(Dakota News Now)
Published: May. 20, 2023 at 1:16 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, MN. (KARE) -- Early on Saturday morning a much-debated piece of legislation moved through the Senate and is now headed to the desk of Gov. Tim Walz for a promised signature.

After 1 a.m., the Legal Adult-Use Cannabis bill passed through the Senate with a 34-32 vote. This bill would not only legalize cannabis for use by adults, but would also automatically expunge low-level cannabis offenses for tens of thousands of Minnesotans.

“The prohibition on cannabis has had tremendously negative impacts on the lives of Minnesotans, especially our communities of color, and it is time for us to change course, create a system that works for adult-use cannabis, and create a regulated market for Minnesota,” said Senator Lindsey Port (DFL-Burnsville), chief author of the legislation.

Gov. Walz has indicated he plans to sign the bill when it arrives on his desk.

If passed, retail sales wouldn’t start in Minnesota until 2024 with local governments controlling the location of the stores. This would allow local lawmakers the ability to prevent retailers from opening near schools or parks.

Rep. Dave Baker (R-Willmar) spoke out against the bill on Friday, saying he believed it could lead to addiction.

“More youth will become addicted to drugs because of this bill. Now just let that sink in for a minute — it’s going to happen,” said Rep. Baker, who was one of 56 House Republicans to vote against the bill. “They won’t likely die from cannabis, but they will become addicted through cannabis.”

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