The latest to usher in a new era of legal adult-use cannabis legislation, Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize recreational cannabis on Tuesday. Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed the bill into law after the Senate approved the legislation on May 20.
The governor was expected to sign the bill ahead of time, stating at the signing ceremony that prohibition “does not work” and indicating adults should be able to make their own decisions when it comes to cannabis use.
“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,” Walz said. “Legalizing adult-use cannabis and expunging or resentencing cannabis convictions will strengthen communities. This is the right move for Minnesota.”
What’s in Minnesota’s Recreational Cannabis Bill?
The massive, 300-page
•Allows adults over the age of 21 to use, possess and purchase recreational cannabis
•Legalizes possession of up to two ounces in public for adults over 21, up to eight grams of cannabis concentrate or edible products containing up to 800 mg of
•Legalizes possession of up to two pounds of cannabis in a private residence
•Allows limited home cultivation (up to eight cannabis plants at home, including four mature flowering plants) for adults over 21
•Creates a new regulatory framework to license cannabis businesses for the cultivation, manufacturing and sale of cannabis at retail dispensaries, including a total of 12 different business licenses for the recreational market
•Expunges low-level cannabis convictions, automatically expunging non-felony offenses and establishing a board to review more serious crimes
•Grants social equity status to military veterans or active service members denied honorable status due to a cannabis offense, farmers from underrepresented communities and residents or areas which have experienced disproportionate levels of cannabis enforcement
•Establishes an Office of Cannabis Management to oversee regulation and sale of cannabis products in the state
Possession for adults of legal age will officially be legal beginning Aug. 1. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s process of automatically clearing records with low-level cannabis offenses will also commence on Aug. 1.
The Road Ahead
Bill sponsor Rep. Zack Stephenson (D) praised the bill ahead of its final passage, saying it creates a safe and well-regulated marketplace for Minnesota, including “best practices for consumer, health and public safety.”
“It also prioritizes a robust expungement program, so people who have been disproportionately impacted by our current cannabis laws can move on with their lives. It is time for legalization, and I’m proud to carry this bill forward,” Stephenson said.
Of course, big changes are already on the horizon in just a couple of short months, though Stephenson cautioned residents that it will take some time for the market to fully come to life. Specifically, he said that it could take up to 18 months before retail stores are actually open and ready to sell recreational cannabis products.
Minnesota is already at least somewhat acclimated with cannabis, having legalized medical use in 2014. It also appears that many Minnesotans are ready for this next step, as a