Third Minnesota House Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

MJ moment

A third Minnesota House committee has approved a bill to legalize marijuana in the state—but even more panels are expected to take up the legislation before it reaches the floor. House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) and other lawmakers filed the measure last month. It would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to eight plants, four of which could be mature. On Wednesday, the House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee advanced the legislation in a 10-2 vote, with one abstention. It’s already been approved by the Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee and the Commerce Finance and Policy Committee as well. “The goal of this bill, among other things, is to shift an illegal marketplace into a safe and legal regulated marketplace for people to purchase and be able to consume cannabis products,” Winkler said in his opening comments. “In doing so, we have an opportunity to build a legal marketplace from the ground up according to policies that reflect the values of Minnesotans.” The proposal now heads to House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee. Winkler’s bill as introduced was identical to a proposal he filed last year, with some minor technical changes. The majority leader, who led a statewide listening to gather public input ahead of the measure’s introduction, called it the “best legalization bill in the country” at the time. It did not advance in that session, however. During Wednesday’s committee hearing, members approved an amendment stipulating that workers can only be penalized for being “impaired” on the job, not simply “under the influence” of marijuana. It also revised loan and grant eligibility requirements and appropriates funds to support services through the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Several…

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