Adult-Use Cannabis: Legalizing, Regulating and Expunging

Minnesota’s system of cannabis prohibition has not worked.  It has failed to keep our communities safe, and enforcement has caused harm, especially in our communities of color.

Senate DFLers led the way in legalizing, regulating, and expunging cannabis to address these harms. Adults over the age of 21 will be able to have up to 2 ounces of cannabis in public and up to 2 pounds in their home starting August 1. The Office of Cannabis Management will be stood up to create and enforce the licensing system, with a focus on social equity applicants so those most harmed by prohibition are best positioned to benefit from legalization. Quality, ingredients, labeling, packaging, and sales will be regulated from seed to purchase. Most importantly, those who have criminal convictions due to cannabis prohibition will have their records expunged automatically or reviewed for resentencing or expungement.

Cannabis will be subject to a gross receipts tax of 10%, in addition to the state’s 6.875% sales tax and any other local sales taxes that would apply. Local units of government are able to reasonably regulate cannabis businesses in their communities as long as an outright prohibition isn’t established.

Low-dose hemp edibles and beverages legalized last session are subject to the same regulation as adult-use cannabis in the bill, ensuring product quality and allowing for more oversight of these products.

The medical cannabis program stays intact ensuring patients have access to medical cannabis. The registration fee for patients in the medical cannabis program is eliminated.

The industry will come online in stages, with legalization and expungement starting this summer along with the standing up of the Office of Cannabis Management. The first legal sale of cannabis is expected to happen in the next 12 to 18 months. This bill is comprehensive. It went through over 30 committee hearings in the Senate and House, has input from stakeholders across Minnesota, and does what Senate DFLers set out to accomplish – legalize cannabis and undo the harm from its prohibition, regulate the market to ensure safe products for consumers, and stamp out the illicit market. There will be additional cannabis bills in the future as this industry is stood up, just as there are regular liquor bills. But we have laid the framework to legalize, regulate, and expunge, as we promised we would.

Jess Yeganeh