Recreational Cannabis Moves Forward in Minnesota House of Reps

Recreational Cannabis Moves Forward in Minnesota House of Reps

Earlier this year, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz made it clear that he is all for legalizing recreational cannabis. Despite the wails of Gov. Walz and countless Minnesotans, the state Senate has fallen on deaf ears. Unfortunately for the Minnesota Senate, the bill calling for the legalization of recreational cannabis in Minnesota moves forward.

Governor Walz pleads for legal weed.

The Governor of the Gopher State, Tim Walz, expressed his interest in providing access to recreational cannabis for Minnesotans in late February. A bill suggesting the recreational legalization of cannabis was presented in the Land of 10,000 Lakes in 2019 but was shot down by the Minnesota Senate. Politically referred to as HF 4632, the bill outlined a comprehensive regulatory framework for adult-use cannabis. However, the bill supporting recreational cannabis failed to be heard before the legislative session ended in May of 2020, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions.

Current cannabis statues in Minnesota

As of 2021, the state of Minnesota allows medical access to cannabis for its residents. Although Minnesota has not implemented recreational access to cannabis, the Land of 10,000 Lakes has decriminalized possession of cannabis. More specifically, a person who possesses less than 42.5 grams (or 1 ½ ounce) is subject to receiving a $200 fine. Those found guilty of having 1 ½ ounce are subject to be charged with a felony and may face upwards to 10 years in prison and restitution up to $10,000. Possession of more cannabis than the amounts mentioned above are subjected to harsher prison sentences and fines up to a whopping $250,000.

Minnesota House advances cannabis bill.

Although Gov. Walz appears to be pressing the Minnesota Senate regarding legalizing recreational cannabis, they are not expressing urgency nor concern regarding the matter. Walz stated that the benefits of access to recreational cannabis stretch beyond increased revenue for the state but would also help address the tainted sociopolitical climate surrounding cannabis, citing “the racial impact of cannabis laws.”

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler expressed similar interest as Gov. Walz, stating he would align with an adult-use bill. However, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka made it clear that he would do everything in his power to resist such a bill. So far, Senator Gazelka has been unsuccessful in his suppression of legal cannabis in Minnesota. The Minnesota House passed the cannabis bill by a margin more extensive than expected. Senator Gazelka will come face-to-face with the bill sooner than later. And if the Minnesotans have any say in it (which they do, because, you know, democracy…), his attempts will be futile.

Medicinal Minnesotan cannabis

In 2014, the Minnesota legislature passed SF 2470. This bill authorized the Minnesota Department of Health, or MDH, to supervise its medical cannabis program. Furthermore, SF 2470 enabled qualifying patients with particular medical conditions to access medical cannabis products in various forms ranging from dry to liquid cannabis.

Federal correlations to Minnesota weed laws

Minnesota is not the only state looking to revamp cannabis statutes. In 2021, the entire nation is looking to the same with the help of an act yet to be heard in the US Senate. The MORE Act had been trying to get enough traction in Congress to be heard on the house floor for quite some time. Politically referred to as H.R. 3884, the MORE Act was drafted and sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY.) The MORE Act would eventually find bipartisan support of over 120 cosponsors. At the time of this article, the MORE Act has yet to be passed. We doubt the MORE Act will impact the Senate’s decision on legalizing recreational cannabis in Minnesota.

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