Senate vote puts Minnesota on track to legalize marijuana | NASCAR and racing news
Posted on April 28, 2023
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Senate voted to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana on Friday, but the bill will require more work and negotiation before it can become law.
The vote was 34-33 with all Democrats voting yes and all Republicans voting no. There are several differences between the Senate bill and the accompanying version that passed the House 71-59 on Tuesday, so a House-Senate conference committee must resolve them before the final votes in each chamber.
Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has pledged to sign the law into law once it reaches his desk. It seeks to replace the illegal market in marijuana with a legal and regulated market and to erase the criminal records of residents convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses such as simple possession.
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“Cannabis prohibition is a failed system that has failed to achieve desired goals and has caused incredible costs to our communities, especially communities of color,” lead author, Democratic Sen. Lindsey Port of Burnsville, told her colleagues.
Port said lawmakers have “an opportunity to undo some of the damage done and create a unique regulatory system that works for Minnesota consumers and businesses, while ensuring a chance in this new market for communities that are strongest.” are affected by the ban. ”
Republican senators argued during the debate that the law is not ready to become law this year and needs more work. They expressed concern about the impact on road safety and crime, addiction and other mental health problems. They protested because the law prevents local governments from banning the sale of cannabis if they don’t want to. And they said they weren’t reassured by the experiences of other states that have legalized it.
“We’re opening a door that’s going to be very difficult to close, and it’s going to be very difficult to put the genie back on the bottle when that happens,” said Republican Sen. Warren Limmer of Maple Grove, the lead Republican on the committee for Justice and Public Safety of the Senate.
Both versions of the bill are over 300 pages long. One of the main differences is that the Senate version allows people to have up to 5 pounds of cannabis flower at home, although as little as 2 pounds could come from sources other than home growing. The house limit is 1.5 pounds regardless of the source. The tax rate for cannabis products in the Senate bill is 10%, compared to 8% in the House version.
Minnesota would become the 23rd state after Delaware to legalize adult-use cannabis. Possession of marijuana would become legal this summer, including growing up to eight plants at a time. However, sponsors say it will take a year or more of regulatory work before pharmacies can begin retail sales.
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