Franzen, Freiberg introduce recreational cannabis bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Senator Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina) and Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) introduced a bill outlining the legalization of recreational cannabis for the state of Minnesota today. This bill will focus on the regulatory framework and address the revenue collection from the sale of recreational cannabis.

“The state has both a public health and safety interest in regulating and educating Minnesotans on the effects of the use of cannabis in order to provide the necessary oversight and legal framework moving forward,” said Sen. Franzen. “I will tackle this issue with an open mind, and I am not working on this issue to appease any particular interest group. My intent is that we treat smoking cannabis similar to cigarettes and uphold the Clean Indoor Air Act while regulating all aspects of cannabis use.”

Five years ago, state lawmakers and members of the public participated in a month-long conversation about the legalization of medical cannabis. While emotions ran high, a bipartisan consensus created a carefully regulated system with safeguards to prevent abuse. As more states legalize cannabis for recreational use, most recently our Midwest neighbor Michigan, Minnesota has thus far been reluctant to engage in the kind of serious conversations that happened five years ago. Sen. Franzen and Rep. Freiberg seek to change that this year.

“The ways things are going, legalized recreational cannabis is coming to Minnesota sooner rather than later. We need to approach this with smart, public health-focused policy that safely establishes legalized cannabis without creating a new Big Tobacco,” said Rep. Freiberg. “Legalized recreational cannabis has been rapidly growing in popularity, and it’s time for Minnesota to prepare itself by starting this conversation at the legislature.”

On the campaign trail, Governor Tim Walz indicated that he would sign a recreational cannabis bill into law should it reach his desk. Public opinion polling conducted by KSTP and SurveyUSA prior to the midterm elections found that 56 percent of Minnesotans favor legalization.

HF 420; SF 619 will do the following:

  • Attempt to eliminate black market sales of cannabis
  • Study effects of cannabis related to potency levels and dosage for safe driving
  • Warn public about consumption, if you have risk factors for addiction
  • Restrict access to youth
  • Decriminalize and expunge past non-violent offenses
  • Fund studies by the scientific community that is peer-reviewed on mental health impact and risk factors

 

Senator Melisa López Franzen
Melisa López Franzen represents District 49 in the southwest Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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