Minnesota lawmakers file bill to legalize marijuana in Minnesota

January 29, 2019 04:52 PM

Minnesota will be the next state to tackle the issue of legalized marijuana as legislation was filed Monday in the House and Senate by DFL and Republican members.

House Filed 420 and Senate File 619 would allow 21-year-old Minnesotans to legally use marijuana for recreational use.

"Legalized recreational cannabis has been rapidly growing in popularity, and it's time for Minnesota to prepare itself by staring this conversation at the legislature," said Rep. Mike Freiberg.

Ten states have laws on the books that allow for some form of adult use marijuana. Minnesota allows the medical use of cannabis for certain conditions.

"Three months ago I couldn't have envisioned myself standing at this podium speaking on marijuana issue," Sen. Scott Jensen said.

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Jensen, a Carver County Republican, who is also a family medicine doctor said a recent townhall meeting with constituents convinced him in part to back the legislation.

"They've said 'Doc, with your scientific background, your awareness of what's going on in the field, you need to do this,'" Jensen said.

If Minnesota were to legalize marijuana for recreational use, it would become the eleventh state to do so.  Recreational marijuana is already legal in the ten states highlighted in green on the map below.

The legislation would allow adult-use of the substance, the ability to grow up to four plants in a home, state regulated growing operations and taxation.

"Rarely as a legislature do you get to have a win-win scenario," said Sen. Melisa Franzen, the bill's author.  "To tax a product that consumers say should be taxed and regulated, by doing it we're making it safer removing the need for the black market."

"Legalizing recreational marijuana is a controversial issue, to say the least, and not something I would consider a priority issue," said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a Republican from Nisswa.

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Eric Chaloux

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