Minnesota lawmakers are persevering with to take small steps towards marijuana legalization.
Wednesday, the Minnesota Home of Representatives held its first public listening to on the invoice to legalize marijuana for adults within the state and expunge some hashish convictions.
The listening to within the Home Commerce, Finance and Coverage Committee comes lower than per week after the invoice was launched within the chamber.
“Members, Minnesotans are prepared,” Rep. Zach Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, mentioned throughout Wednesday’s listening to. Stephenson is without doubt one of the invoice’s 28 co-authors. “Hashish shouldn’t be unlawful in Minnesota. Minnesotans deserve the liberty and respect to make accountable choices about hashish themselves. Our present legal guidelines are doing extra hurt than good.”
The bill would permit adults 21 and older to purchase as much as 2 ounces of hashish at time and domesticate as much as eight vegetation, so long as solely 4 are mature at any given time. Minnesotans might possess 2 ounces in public and 5 kilos at house.
Residence supply from licensed hashish would even be allowed, and prior marijuana convictions can be expunged.
DFL lawmakers — who management each chambers of the Legislature — and Gov. Tim Walz have expressed support for the bill, nevertheless it nonetheless has a protracted highway forward.
Nonetheless, Wednesday’s listening to marked one other step ahead for a invoice that many stay divided on however is getting Minnesotans’ consideration.
DFL proponents argue the tens of millions native governments spend every year on prohibition enforcement could possibly be utilized in higher methods.
“Our invoice will create a secure, well-regulated authorized market the place Minnesotans can develop, promote or purchase hashish in the event that they select to take action,” Stephenson mentioned. “It consists of finest practices for client safety, well being and public security.”
The Home additionally heard from advocates who say legalizing hashish is overdue.
“Prohibition is the issue, not hashish,” mentioned Marcus Harcus with Minnesota Marketing campaign for Full Legalization. “The query shouldn’t be should you suppose individuals ought to devour hashish — as a result of 700,000 Minnesotans already do — however should you suppose individuals ought to be criminalized for it.”
Some voiced their considerations in regards to the probably dangerous results of hashish use, notably for younger individuals.
Heather Bacchus testified that her son Randy suffered from cannabis-induced psychosis and died by suicide in 2021 at age 21.
“Legalization in different states led him to imagine it was useful and it wasn’t. It truly took his life,” Bacchus mentioned.
Others frightened in regards to the substance’s impression on households.
“No quantity of regulation can curtail the harm that immediately’s high-potency leisure marijuana will do to Minnesota households and our high quality of life,” mentioned Ryan Hamilton of the Minnesota Catholic Convention.
Varied different teams have voiced opposition to the invoice, together with regulation enforcement, the Minnesota Security Council and the Minnesota Trucking Affiliation. They’re anticipated to testify when the invoice is heard within the Home Public Security Committee.
Whereas the invoice to legalize leisure marijuana is likely to pass the House, the true battleground would be the Senate, the place Republicans have been in management till this yr. The GOP had blocked hearings on earlier payments, however the DFL now has a one-seat majority.