Minnesota lawmakers introduce bill to legalize marijuana numbered HF420

Minnesota lawmakers on Monday introduced legislation in both chambers of the state legislature that would legalize the use and sale of recreational marijuana by 2022.

The bill, numbered HF420 in the House version, would allow individuals who are 21 or order to "cultivate, consume, use, and possess cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis accessories," according to the text of the legislation. The bill has bipartisan support.

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State Rep. Mike Freiberg (D), one of the authors of the bill, said at a news conference Monday that the legalization of marijuana will "become inevitable in Minnesota."

“The issue of cannabis legalization is one that’s moving incredibly fast around the country, at a certain point it will become inevitable in Minnesota. We have two options in front of us. One is to get in front of this issue and put strong public health protections in place and the other is to wait for it to come to us," he said, according to the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune reported that the legislation could face roadblocks in the state Senate, where Republicans have the majority.

Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R) said in a statement he doesn't think the bill "has a chance" in the Senate in 2019, according to the newspaper.

“Legalizing recreational marijuana is a controversial issue, to say the least, and not something I would consider a priority issue. Considering that it’s linked to mental health problems, driving accidents, and impaired teen brain development, I don’t think it has a chance to pass the Senate this year," he said.