Legislators in the state of Minnesota have introduced a bill to legalize cannabis and establish a legal industry in the state. The bill, HF 4632, was introduced last week by House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler.
We made a commitment to introduce legislation in this session, and we wanted to follow through on that commitment,” he said in a news release. Our current priority is to respond to the covid-19 pandemic, but after the town hall meetings and discussions around this issue, we still wanted to bring forward strong legislation. As we seek to emerge from this crisis with a better, stronger Minnesota, we must continue to work to legalize cannabis for responsible adult use.
If passed, the bill will legalize the use and possession of cannabis for adults. The limit for possession on the street will be set at 42g of cannabis and up to 4.5kg can be kept at home. Cultivation of 8 cannabis plants, 4 of which are in bloom, would also be legal.
The bill also provides a regulatory framework for the creation of a commercial cannabis industry in Minnesota. Labeling, packaging, and testing requirements would be implemented for cannabis products, as would regulated dosages.
Social justice measures included in the bill
Several social justice provisions are also included in the bill, including the creation of a social equity office that would distribute grants to promote economic opportunities and community stability. The measure also gives priority to those discriminated against by the prohibition to access commercial licenses for the new cannabis industry. HF 4632 also provides amnesty for most cannabis convictions.
The bill was developed after months of public discussion and research that studied the successes and challenges encountered in other U.S. states that have already legalized. Unlike other states, the legislation does not include provisions allowing local jurisdictions to ban cannabis businesses, a possibility used to thwart the growth of the legal cannabis industry in California.
The Minnesotans have said loud and clear that our current cannabis laws do more harm than good,” Winkler said. “By creating a regulatory framework, we can address the harm caused by cannabis and establish a smarter set of laws to improve our health and criminal justice systems and ensure better outcomes for communities.
Last year, a bipartisan bill to legalize cannabis was introduced in Minnesota but did not survive a vote by a state Senate committee. When Winkler first announced the imminent introduction of the new bill in February, he acknowledged that it would be a long road to legalization subject to amendments and compromise and that it would “most likely take more than a year to do so.”