Minnesota Becomes 23rd State to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis

2.7 min readPublished On: April 30th, 2023By

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota is set to become the 23rd state to legalize adult-use cannabis after the state legislature passed a bill on Thursday, which is now awaiting Governor Tim Walz’s signature. The move comes after years of debate and activism by advocates, who argue that legalizing cannabis could bring significant economic benefits and reduce criminalization of communities of color.

Under the new law, adults 21 and older will be able to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis, and grow up to eight plants per household, with no more than four being mature. The law also includes provisions for expunging certain cannabis-related criminal records and investing in communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

Governor Walz, who has been a vocal supporter of cannabis legalization, is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days. In a statement released on Thursday, he said, “This legislation takes a critical step forward in addressing the equity and criminal justice reforms needed to build a more equitable and inclusive Minnesota.”

Tim Walz (center) Democratic Governor of Minnesota surrounded by supporters.

The legalization of cannabis in Minnesota has been a long time coming. Advocates have been pushing for legalization for years, arguing that it would create new jobs, generate tax revenue, and reduce unnecessary arrests and incarceration of people of color. According to a report by the Minnesota House of Representatives, legalizing cannabis could bring in up to $300 million in annual tax revenue.

Opponents of the bill, however, have raised concerns about the potential risks of cannabis use, particularly for young people. Some have also argued that legalization could lead to an increase in impaired driving and other public health and safety risks.

Despite these concerns, supporters of the bill say that legalization will ultimately benefit Minnesota’s economy and communities. “This is a win for all Minnesotans, but especially for Black and Brown communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of cannabis,” said Rep. Ryan Winkler, one of the bill’s sponsors.

The new law will also create a regulatory framework for the production and sale of cannabis products, including rules for licensing and testing. It will also establish a Cannabis Management Board to oversee the implementation of the law and ensure that it is being carried out in a responsible and equitable manner.

Minnesota joins a growing number of states that have legalized adult-use cannabis, including Colorado, California, and Massachusetts. As more and more states move towards legalization, advocates are hopeful that the federal government will eventually follow suit.

In a statement released on Thursday, Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Steve Hawkins said, “Minnesota’s decision to legalize cannabis reflects the overwhelming public support for ending prohibition and demonstrates that states can and will continue to take action in the absence of federal leadership. We hope this will encourage Congress to take action to end federal prohibition and allow states to determine their own cannabis policies.”

The legalization of cannabis in Minnesota marks a significant milestone for the state and for the broader cannabis legalization movement. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, advocates are optimistic about the potential benefits that legalization can bring, both for individuals and for society as a whole.

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