Legal marijuana push starts in Minnesota; supporters say ‘2023 is the year’Posted by On

Supporters of legal marijuana unveiled their legislation Thursday at the state Capitol, vowing to take advantage of full Democratic control of the Legislature and pass a pot bill into law in 2023.

The 243-page measure is similar to one that passed the House in 2021 before getting blocked by Republicans who then controlled the Senate. It legalizes marijuana use by anyone 21 years of age and older. The bill creates a licensing and taxation system while implementing an expungement process for marijuana-related convictions.

“Minnesotans deserve the freedom and respect to make responsible decisions about cannabis decisions themselves,” state Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, the lead House author, said during a news conference. “Our current laws are doing more harm than good.” 

Stephenson, the House Commerce committee chairman, said he had scheduled a hearing in his committee for Wednesday. Similar hearings will soon be scheduled in the Senate.

Critics have said the bill fails to address public safety concerns that led police groups to oppose previous legalization efforts. Republicans cautioned the DFL to move slowly.

“We don’t take the risks that marijuana poses to youth,…

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