Some Minnesota Lawmakers Committed To Legalize Marijuana In 2023
Back in May of 2021 the Minnesota House of Representatives approved a measure to legalize recreational marijuana. But with the GOP-controlled Senate, the bill did not pass despite a few Republicans backing the bill.
Fast forward to 2023 and this proposal to legalize adult use, of recreational marijuana in Minnesota committee hearings are to begin next week. Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids) who is the lead author of this bill said to Bring Me The News "Minnesotans are ready and I believe 2023 is the year that we will legalize adult-use cannabis in Minnesota."
So what makes this year different that DFL Lawmakers are confident in this bill passing this time? Senator Lindsey Port- DFL from Burnsville/Savage will be the lead author of the bill in the upcoming Senate session. Port said "she's hoping a member of the Republican Caucus will sign on to the bill as a co-author, but Democrats won't be waiting for support from across the aisle to move priorities across the finish line this year. "
Many people believe that having recreational marijuana use illegal in Minnesota has led to higher arrests and harsher penalties for black Americans accused of marijuana-related crimes. According to a report from the ACLU: "Marijuana use is roughly equal among Blacks and whites, yet Blacks are 3.73 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession."
This is a big component of this bill besides making it legal for residents 21 years of age and older to use marijuana recreationally. A key part of this bill includes an expungement program for Minnesotans with cannabis-related offenses on their record.
The first hearing is set to begin on January 11 and Governor Tim Walz Tweeted yesterday morning " It's time to legalize adult-use cannabis and expunge cannabis convictions in Minnesota, I’m ready to sign it into law."