Minnesota House passes conference committee report to legalize adult-use cannabis in Minnesota
May 22, 2023
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House approved the conference committee report for the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Minnesota. The bill, authored by Zack Stephenson (DFL - Coon Rapids), passed on a bipartisan vote of 73 to 57.
“We know Minnesota’s current cannabis laws are doing more harm than good,” said Rep. Zack Stephenson. “Over the last three years, DFLers in the legislature have worked and listened to build a Minnesota-specific model for cannabis legalization. This bill creates a safe, well-regulated legal marketplace, and includes best practices for consumer protection, health, and public safety. It also prioritizes a robust expungement program, so people who have been disproportionately impacted by our current cannabis laws can move on with their lives. It is time for legalization, and I’m proud to carry this bill forward.”
Introduced in January, the bill was reviewed and approved by 16 committees before reaching the House Floor. In its current version, it would permit a person age 21 or older to:
• possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower in a public place or 2 pounds in a person’s residence;
• possess or transport no more than 8 grams of adult-use cannabis concentrate;
• possess or transport edible products infused with up to 800 milligrams of THC;
• give away cannabis flower and cannabinoid products in an amount that is legal for a person to possess in public;
• use cannabis flower and cannabinoid products in private areas; and
• cultivate up to eight cannabis plants, of which four or fewer may be mature, flowering plants.
Once signed into law, Minnesota will become the 23rd state to legalize adult-use cannabis and the third state in the Midwest. Created with this bill is the Office of Cannabis Management, which will oversee the regulation of cannabis, cannabis products, hemp edibles, and hemp-derived consumer products.
“Our current cannabis laws aren’t working for Minnesota,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Criminalizing a product many people think should be available continues a legacy of racial injustice no longer defensible. This sensible legislation addresses racial inequities in our criminal justice system and mitigates risks posed by legalizing the adult use of cannabis. It is time to end prohibition and to move forward with legislation.”
This legislation provides for automatic expungement of prior petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor marijuana convictions and creates a Cannabis Expungement Board to review other cannabis convictions and determine whether a person is eligible for expungement.
This legislation directs the Department of Employment and Economic Development to give grants to nonprofit corporations to subsidize startup loans to new cannabis microbusinesses, and help cannabis businesses start and train employees.
“This bill is grounded in racial justice, and represents one of the most significant criminal justice reforms in our state’s history,” said House Majority Leader Jamie Long. “While people of all races use cannabis at roughly the same rate, Black Minnesotans are more than three times more likely to be arrested for possession than White Minnesotans. Through this bill, we are expunging low-level cannabis convictions and making sure those harmed the most by prohibition have opportunities to succeed.”
The bill is currently moving through the legislative process in the Minnesota Senate. You can view the debate on the House Youtube Channel.