For the first time ever, members of the Minnesota House of Representatives have approved legislation to legalize and regulate adult use marijuana and to automatically expunge past cannabis-related convictions.
House File 600, sponsored by House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), allows adults ages 21 and older to legally possess up to ten pounds of marijuana in a private residence, up to two ounces in public, and to home-cultivate as many as eight marijuana plants (up to four mature) for personal use.
The House chamber, which is Democrat-controlled, voted to approve the measure by a bipartisan vote of 72 to 61, thus sending the bill to the Republican-majority Senate for further consideration. Prior to reaching the House floor, the bill had received approval from twelve separate legislative committees.
House File 600 also facilitates the automatic expungement of certain past marijuana convictions, allows for the on-site consumption of cannabis in licensed facilities, permits home delivery, and includes social equity provisions to reduce barriers of entry into the industry for communities that have historically been most adversely impacted by prohibition.
According to statewide polling data, 51 percent of MN residents think that Minnesota lawmakers should “legalize marijuana for recreational use” — up from only 30 percent in 2014.
“It’s time for Minnesota to become a leader in the midwest when it comes to sensible marijuana policy,” said NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf. “Not only would the passage of this bill allow police and courts to reprioritize their limited resources toward fighting serious crime rather than interacting with otherwise law-abiding Minnesotans over low-level possession offenses, but it would also provide relief to thousands suffering the collateral consequences of a marijuana arrest and conviction. I strongly encourage members of the Senate to follow the will of their constituents, a majority of whom support this policy change, and consider this common-sense remedy to the failed policy of prohibition.”