by Scott McClallen
The Minnesota House voted 72-61 to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and expunge minor marijuana convictions.
The Senate leader, however, designated the bill dead upon arrival.
“The war on drugs is a failed policy,” House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said. “The harms caused by current cannabis laws cannot be allowed to continue. Minnesota’s illegal cannabis market creates bad outcomes for everyone. Responsible regulations and safeguards to prevent youth access are a better solution to address the harms our current laws fail to address.”
The bill moves from the House to the Senate, where it’ll likely die.
Senate GOP leadership has rejected House File 600, which seeks to authorize Minnesotans 21 or older to possess:
- Two ounces or less of cannabis in a public place;
- 10 pounds or less of cannabis in a person’s residence;
- Eight grams or less of adult-use cannabis concentrate;
- edible products infused with a total of 800 mg or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); and
- up to eight cannabis plants, of which four or fewer may be mature, flowering plants.
At least 34 states have legalized either recreational or medicinal marijuana.
However, Minnesotans couldn’t light up wherever they please under the proposed language.
Cannabis consumption would be restricted to private residences, prohibited in a motor vehicle since it can equate to driving while intoxicated, or at a school since the drug is still illegal on the federal level.
If passed by the Senate and signed into law, legal marijuana would be taxed 10% of gross receipts on retail and on-site sales, in addition to state sales tax and any locally imposed sales taxes. However, medical sales and farm equipment purchased for cannabis cultivation would be exempt from the 10% sales tax.
The passage followed five hours of arguments.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) called the bill a “waste of time” and questioned Democrat’s priorities considering lawmakers have three days of the regular session to pass a budget before lawmakers will likely reconvene in June.
If a budget isn’t passed by June 30, the state government shuts down.
– – –
Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.