The plan to legalise marijuana in Minnesota was approved by a House committee on Wednesday, but it still must pass a complicated series of votes before it can become law.
After a lengthy debate, the bill was approved by the House Commerce Committee on a voice vote, despite some Republican opposition. There will be plenty of opportunities for proponents and opponents of legalising marijuana to voice their ideas, but they didn’t waste any time packing the hearing chamber.
State Representative Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), who authored the legislation, remarked, “Members, Minnesotans are ready.” I strongly disagree with Minnesota’s prohibition of cannabis.
This bill, at 243 pages, is one of the longest and most intricate pieces of legislation that Congress will debate this session. It establishes a statewide regulatory framework for the cultivation and sale of cannabis products to adults over the age of 21. The legislation additionally establishes a procedure to expunge previous marijuana-related offences.
There are still many problems. Statewide licencing is what proponents of legal marijuana want, but local governments argue that they should be in control of policing the industry.
Edina’s city manager, Scott Neal, told legislators, “When there’s going to be a problem — and there will be a problem with a retailer in the future — it’s just not an option for us to point people to St. Paul and say, ‘Go go to the state government about this.
The DFL-controlled committee rejected a Republican amendment that would have given communities more authority.
We don’t want different rules in different parts of the state, Stephenson added.
The bill proposes establishing a Cannabis Management Office at the state level to oversee the regulatory framework, a position that is expected to cost around $100 million per year to staff. For local and minority-owned firms to compete with larger, out-of-state corporations, that amount would fund licencing, testing, enforcement, and grant programmes.
In order to pay for the regulatory framework, the measure adds an 8% tax on marijuana to the state’s 6.8% sales tax. If the bill passes this year, proponents project that consumers will be able to legally purchase marijuana from a dispensary as early as the summer of 2024.
The grant programme was viewed as crucial by business owners as a means of preventing the monopolisation of their industry by corporations based in other states.
Rather than being left out, Veronika Alfaro, owner of Mi Sota Essence in Eagan, suggests paving the way for other local companies.
Two years ago, a similar bill cleared the House, and its supporters are hopeful that this year will be no different. The Senate, where the Democrats have a slim majority, is a more pressing concern.
The governor said he had a conversation with Stephenson and the bill’s author in the senate, Lindsay Port, on Tuesday. The governor expressed his desire for the bill to pass but urged the legislature to continue debating the issue.
“Current procedures are inefficient, in my opinion. In my opinion, prohibition is ineffective because of “What Walz told the media. “There have been unfairnesses, in my opinion. I’m willing to let them figure out what works best for them.”