Minnesota Poised to Become 23rd Recreational Marijuana State

Minnesota's cannabis industry has seen wild swings in recent years.

The recreational cannabis club is poised to get bigger very soon. That is, if everything in Minnesota remains on track as expected.

The state House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a measure on a 71-59 vote to legalize adult-use marijuana, and the state Senate is expected to follow suit with its own bill on Friday, the Minnesota Star Tribune reported.

If lawmakers are successful, Gov. Tim Walz has already pledged to sign the bill into law, and it would make Minnesota the 23rd state to fully legalize marijuana for adults. Delaware became the 22nd earlier this month.

One point of contention among Minnesota lawmakers has been local control for cities and counties that don’t want to embrace legal cannabis. As approved, the House bill as approved will not let localities opt out of marijuana commerce or directly revoke licenses of operators.

There also still are some wrinkles that need to be ironed out between the House and Senate bills, such as personal possession limits and state cannabis tax rates.

The full market likely won’t launch until sometime next year at the earliest, but personal possession and consumption would be legalized this summer, and residents would also be allowed to grow as many as eight cannabis plants per person at home, CBS reported.

The two chambers have until May 22 – when the session adjourns – to approve a final bill.

To date, the Minnesota cannabis market has been a wild pendulum ride from one of the most restrictive medical marijuana markets in the nation – with only two companies allowed to grow and produce MMJ products – to a wide-open hemp edibles market with practically no regulations. The latter development led to more calls for crackdowns, as regulators have taken to filing suit against companies that flout the law.

The latest bills would establish a new state agency, the Office of Cannabis Management, which would be responsible for writing regulations and issuing business permits.

The bill also prioritizes social equity for licensure, in another nod by policymakers who want to right the wrongs done by the war on drugs, the Associated Press reported.

John Schroyer

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