Yo, what’s good? I’m Dan, and lemme tell ya, it’s a great day for Minnesota. Governor Tim Walz just signed the cannabis legalization bill into law, making us the 23rd state in the US to legalize recreational weed. It’s about time, right?
At the signing ceremony on Tuesday, Walz acknowledged that prohibition doesn’t work, and that it’s time for Minnesota to start expunging non-felony cannabis offenses. He also believes that adults should be able to make their own decisions about cannabis use. Preach, governor.
“We’ve known for too long that prohibiting the use of cannabis hasn’t worked. By legalizing adult-use cannabis, we’re expanding our economy, creating jobs, and regulating the industry to keep Minnesotans safe. Legalizing adult-use cannabis and expunging or resentencing cannabis convictions will strengthen communities. This is the right move for Minnesota,” Walz said.
The 300-page bill is a game-changer. Adults over 21 can now legally use recreational weed in Minnesota. Plus, the bill aims to regulate the industry and transform the current black market into licensed businesses throughout the state. There are 12 different business licenses a person can apply for in the recreational market, as well as additional licenses for medical cannabis.
The new law will automatically expunge non-felony cannabis offenses and establish a board to review more serious cannabis crimes. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will start clearing records on August 1st.
The bill was designed with social equity in mind and grants social equity status to military veterans or active service members who were denied honorable status because of a cannabis offense, farmers from underrepresented communities, and residents of areas which have experienced a disproportionately large amount of cannabis enforcement.
The Office of Cannabis Management will oversee the regulation and sale of cannabis products in Minnesota.
Adults over 21 can now legally possess up to two pounds of weed in a private residence and grow up to eight cannabis plants at home, including four mature, flowering plants. Out in public, Minnesota adults are allowed up to two ounces.
The bill co-author Rep. Zack Stephenson believes that it will take 12 to 18 months before residents and visitors will be able to purchase recreational weed products in licensed stores. He assures Minnesotans that lawmakers have put a lot of thought into the bill and the road ahead.
Minnesota has come a long way. More than two dozen legislative committees vetted the legislation, with the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate approving separate cannabis legalization bills in late April. A conference committee reconciled the differences between the bills, followed by House approval of the consensus bill on May 18. It passed in the Senate on May 20 and headed to Walz’s desk for signing.
This new law is also aligned with what most Minnesotans want. A recent poll found that 64% of registered voters were in favor of legalizing cannabis for adults. Minnesota legalized medical cannabis back in 2014, and now we’re taking it to the next level.
All I can say is, it’s about damn time. Minnesota is finally catching up with other states and joining the cannabis revolution. Let’s celebrate this victory and keep pushing for more progressive laws. Peace out.