Recreational marijuana could soon be legalized and regulated in Minnesota under bills that are entering the final rounds of debate at the Legislature.
The House, where Democrats comfortably outnumber Republicans, was set to pass its marijuana bill Monday night after green-lighting similar legislation in 2021. The Senate, where Democrats hold only a one-seat majority, is scheduled to vote Friday on its own version.
“Today is a big day because we are now at the five-yard line” for legalizing cannabis, the lead author, Democratic Rep. Zack Stephenson, of Coon Rapids, said at a news conference ahead of a debate that was expected to run late into the evening.
LEGALIZING POT IS NOT GOOD FOR NEW YORK OR THE US
The bill has an emphasis on social equity, Stephenson said, and the overall focus is to make sure that people who have been harmed most by previous marijuana laws would benefit most through jobs and opportunities in the new, legal cannabis market.
Across the country, Black and Hispanic Americans have been disproportionately burdened by state convictions for marijuana-related offenses.
Republican Rep. Nolan West, of Blaine, said at a separate news conference that he planned to vote in support of the bill because Stephenson had worked closely with him to address his concerns.
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