DFL House and Senate members held a joint press conference this week to announce the introduction of HF 600 to legalize the adult-use cannabis in Minnesota. Adult-use cannabis in South Dakota passed via constitutional amendment and is likely to do the same in North Dakota during their legislative session. After legalization in two of the most conservative state Legislatures surrounding Minnesota, it only demonstrates the greater bipartisan support towards legalization.
DFL members stated during the press conference that this bill has bipartisan support in the House and would create a safely regulated market with the same restrictions as with tobacco or alcohol. Members mentioned their concerns that as more surrounding states legalize the more Minnesotans will have the opportunity to travel across state lines to buy and distribute within the state. It is important to not let Minnesota fall behind in legalizing cannabis and to create preventative policy before it becomes a problem.
This bill also highlights the criminal justice aspect of legalizing cannabis in Minnesota and will expunge the records of past cannabis convictions. Minnesota disproportionally convicts more people of color on charges related to cannabis than white Minnesotans. The legalization of adult-use cannabis in Minnesota and the expungement of these past convictions are steps forward in addressing the real racial disparities within the state.
The passing of this bill will create a greater revenue source towards health, education, and infrastructure. There has been strategic planning with agencies in the past year with considerations towards impaired driving, landlord rights, zoning laws, operation outlines, and continued education on the effects of cannabis. DFL members stated that it is time to pass this legislation, there will be significant benefits, and Minnesota is ready.
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