The Minnesota House of Representatives, in a bipartisan vote, for the first time in Minnesota history passed a Bill to legalize responsible adult-use marijuana. Though the Bill highly regulates and restricts, adults would no longer be subject to arrest, criminal conviction or incarceration simply for moderate use of marijuana. An unjust law would no longer orphan children. The old, cruel rule would no longer ruin people. And unintended disparate impacts based on race, would no longer result in dramatically higher marijuana arrests and imprisonment rates for African-Americans. And starving illegal drug businesses of cash flow will reduce violent crime, improve public safety.
We celebrate this historic moment in Minnesota. We applaud the hard work, by so many, for so long, to get this far.
But of course, to make HF600 law the Minnesota Senate must also pass it. And the Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka expressed opposition, including not scheduling committee hearings for companion Bill SF757. Still, this could be remedied in a legislative conference committee. Legislators could make a deal.
Majority Republican & Democratic Support
Fewer than 10% of U.S. adults say marijuana should not be legal at all, as of April 16, 2021, according to Pew Research.
And though support among Republicans, especially older, is less than Democrats, most Republicans back legalizing marijuana according to recent polling.
Democracy is rule by the people, by the majority. That’s why we decide elections by the highest percentage of votes, whether a majority or sometimes a plurality. And according to Gallup polling, a supermajority now favors marijuana legalization, 66%.
So contact Senate Majority leader Paul Gazelka and ask him to support HF600 – SF757.
Substance of the Bill
Though not perfect, the Bill is a step forward. Rep. Ryan Winkler led a multiyear effort, through Town Hall meetings throughout the State of Minnesota, and a dozen or so legislative hearings. This led to the Bill’s passing the Minnesota House after a bipartisan majority floor vote.
The bill creates a regulatory framework for adult-use cannabis, moves the medical cannabis program under a new Cannabis Management Board, taxes adult-use cannabis, creates grants to help individuals enter into the legal market, amends criminal penalties, provides for expungement and resentencing of some convictions, and reschedules marijuana.
Perhaps the key public policy change is to enact a law that would destroy the underground, illegal market. Prohibition laws criminalizing marijuana have created a lucrative underground economy, unregulated – without banking access or police protection from violent crime. So, Prohibition as a public policy, simply put, creates violent crime. And legalization will dramatically reduce violent crime related to an underground marijuana economy by destroying it. Moreover, we can then redirect law enforcement resources towards enforcement of real crimes.
As a consumer advocacy group, we applaud the provisions of the Bill that state that a person age 21 or older may:
- two ounces or less of cannabis in a public place;
- ten 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;
- give away cannabis and cannabis products in an amount that is legal for a person to possess in public;
- use cannabis and cannabis products in private areas; and
- cultivate up to eight cannabis plants, of which four or fewer may be mature, flowering plants.
We should not regulate Marijuana more than beer and wine. So we should have no limits on quantity, other than home production (comparable to home beer and wine production limits). But the Bill is a step forward, which we support.
Make Minnesota the Next Free State
Would you like to help make Minnesota the next free state? We invite you to join us, as a member and volunteer.
When will we legalize? When you join us.