Minnesota Marijuana Legalization Bill Sponsor Expects GOP Support In House Floor Vote This Week

MJ moment

Getting a bill to legalize marijuana in Minnesota to the House floor has been no small task. But after advancing it through 12 committees in recent weeks, the measure’s sponsor, Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), is expecting it to pass with some Republican support on Thursday. In a phone interview with Marijuana Moment, Winkler talked about his legislation’s exhaustive path through the committee process and what to expect as it finally heads to the floor for consideration. While he’s confident that the chamber will approve it—especially considering how many members from both parties have already had a chance to submit input and amendments in a dozen panels—its prospects remain uncertain in the GOP-controlled Senate. Even so, the legalization proposal has generated significant public interest and media attention. And the majority leader says, at the very least, that has boosted support for other, more modest cannabis reform bills. “By putting this bill front and center and making it such a priority and driving public attention, Republicans are more willing to expand Minnesota’s medical cannabis program to [include a flower option], and they are more open to decriminalizing elements of our current system.” “I think we are having an effect on them, and they feel the pressure to find a way to act because they know that they are losing this and the public will eventually win and get this,” Winkler said. For advocates, those incremental reforms would be welcome, of course. But in a year that has already seen several states like New York and Virginia legalize adult-use cannabis, the leader’s bill passing would be the most significant victory. “This bill is really a product of a two-year process to develop it, identify priorities, concerns, issues, figure out what works and what doesn’t from other states [and] get a huge amount…

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