Minnesota House votes to legalize marijuana
The Minnesota House voted on Thursday largely along party lines to legalize marijuana.
The Star Tribune reported that the House passed legislation to legalize marijuana, 72-61, with almost all Democrats and six Republicans voting to legalize the substance.
The bill would allow an adult to have two ounces of cannabis in public areas and 10 pounds in their home.
The bill would also allow for low-level marijuana convictions to be automatically expunged and put others under review by a special board, and create a legal marketplace for others to sell marijuana.
The legislation would provide safety requirements and take the revenue generated from the industry and put it towards prevention of substance abuse among minors and drug abuse treatment programs.
Gov. Tim Walz (D) said he would sign the measure, but the bill still needs to pass a Republican-led Senate.
Should the measure pass, Minnesota would join over a dozen states that have legalized marijuana in recent years, including Massachusetts, California and Colorado. The state of New York recently legalized recreational marijuana in March.
According to the Tribune, a heated debate over the issue lasted for five hours before the vote on the bill.
“This bill is a long time coming,” Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) said. “Minnesotans have decided it’s time to legalize cannabis and right the wrongs of the criminal prohibition of marijuana that has failed Minnesotans and has failed Minnesota.”
“It starts with marijuana and it goes on to other things,” Rep. Dave Baker (R), whose son died from an overdose, said. “This is not a joke, this is serious.”