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Minnesota: House Lawmakers Advance Adult Use [Cannabis] Legalization Measure

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For the first time ever, members of the Minnesota House of Representatives have approved legislation to legalize and regulate adult use [cannabis] and to automatically expunge past cannabis-related convictions.

“It’s time for Minnesota to become a leader in the midwest when it comes to sensible [cannabis] policy,” said NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf. “Not only would the passage of this bill allow police and courts to reprioritize their limited resources toward fighting serious crime rather than interacting with otherwise law-abiding Minnesotans over low-level possession offenses, but it would also provide relief to thousands suffering the collateral consequences of a [cannabis] arrest and conviction. I strongly encourage members of the Senate to follow the will of their constituents, a majority of whom support this policy change, and consider this common-sense remedy to the failed policy of prohibition.”

House File 600, sponsored by House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), allows adults ages 21 and older to legally possess up to ten pounds of [cannabis] in a private residence, up to two ounces in public, and to home-cultivate as many as eight [cannabis] plants (up to four mature) for personal use.

The House chamber, which is Democrat-controlled, voted to approve the measure by a bipartisan vote of 72 to 61, thus sending the bill to the Republican-majority Senate for further consideration. Prior to reaching the House floor, the bill had received approval from twelve separate legislative committees.

House File 600 also facilitates the automatic expungement of certain past [cannabis] convictions, allows for the on-site consumption of cannabis in licensed facilities, permits home delivery, and includes social equity provisions to reduce barriers of entry into the industry for communities that have historically been most adversely impacted by prohibition.

According to statewide polling data, 51 percent of MN residents think that Minnesota lawmakers should “legalize [cannabis] for recreational use” — up from only 30 percent in 2014.

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NORML advocates for changes in public policy so that the responsible possession and use of [cannabis] by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties. NORML further advocates for a regulated commercial cannabis market so that activities involving the for-profit production and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products are safe, transparent, consumer-friendly, and are subject to state and/or local licensure. Finally, NORML advocates for additional changes in legal and regulatory policies so that those who use [cannabis] responsibly no longer face either social stigma or workplace discrimination, and so that those with past criminal records for [cannabis]-related violations have the opportunity to have their records automatically expunged.

Find out more at norml.org and read our Fact Sheets on the most common misconceptions and myths regarding reform efforts around the country.

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