The Minnesota House is introducing legislation to legalize marijuana.
According to House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, the bill will work to right some past wrongs of the war on drugs, such as expunging the records of those convicted of marijuana offenses, as well as introducing new tax revenue for the state’s coffers which Winkler expects to eventually grow into a substantial revenue stream.
Winkler also emphasized the goal of having marijuana retail stores be smaller businesses rather than a corporate-dominated industry.
House File 600 has over 30 co-authors, and includes establishing a Cannabis Management Board and advisory councils, legalizing and limiting the possession and use of cannabis by adults, taxing the sale of the product, as well as amending criminal code.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has voiced opposition to the measure introduced by the DFL-controlled House.
“We are focused on the Minnesota Priorities that balance the budget without raising taxes, safely reopen schools and businesses to recover our economy, and support families. I would not consider legalizing recreational marijuana as a Minnesota priority,” said Gazelka in a statement.
“I am open to looking at additional medicinal uses and a conversation around drug sentencing. My main concerns are the unintended consequences of recreational pot, similar to the concerns we all have about tobacco, drinking, or prescription drug abuse. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. We’re just starting to learn about legalization’s adverse effects in other states like Colorado and Washington. There is no reason to rush this in Minnesota without learning more.”
Listen to the full interview with Ryan Winkler, with other topics of education funding and COVID-19-related measures in the Minnesota Legislature.