MN House Passes Marijuana Bill – Senate Likely to Pass on Grass
The road to making marijuana legal for recreational use in Minnesota has been a long and bumpy one, and despite a historic bill passage, legalization is far from certain.
Minnesota House of Representatives yesterday voted 72-61 to approve a bill that would allow adults in the state to buy and possess up to 1.5 ounces of pot and grow up to eight plants, four of which could be mature.
But after making it through 12 different committees and being passed by the House, the GOP-led Minnesota Senate is set to puff, puff, pass on the bill with the Majority Leader Paul Gazelka saying that "The marijuana bill in the Senate is up in smoke. That's not going to happen."
In the final bill that was passed, many GOP suggested amendments were adopted by the majority Democrats in the House, like 5% of all marijuana revenue to be used for treatment and prevention programs, $1 million over two years would go to the Minnesota State Patrol for drug recognition training and extra staff, and money for a roadside saliva test pilot program to test drivers for use of the drug.
House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said that "Cannabis prohibition in Minnesota has been a failure. The criminal penalties associated with cannabis prohibition have been unfairly applied to communities of color, especially Black Minnesotans."
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison sent out some Tweets yesterday during the vote saying that, "Law enforcement in MN should be focused on serious crimes, not low-level cannabis offenses that lead to significant racial disparities in our criminal-justice system and injustice in our communities, and do little or nothing to keep us safer."
The Senate leadership says that it won't even bring the bill up for a vote and that recreational pot in Minnesota won't be happening anytime soon. If you'd like to share your opinion with your State Senator, here is the contact information for all of them, get on the phone or send an email to let them know how you feel.