Recreational cannabis bill closer to law after approval in MN House & Senate

The Minnesota Legislature has passed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana.

Last week, the Minnesota House passed a bill with all but one DFL member voting for it on a 71-59 vote, with the Minnesota Senate on Friday passing it 34-33, with all DFL senators voting in favor.

Numerous law enforcement officials and Republican party members are against this legislation, as we hear from Beltrami County Sheriff Jason Riggs and District 2 Senator Steve Green.

Beltrami County Sheriff Jason Riggs

State Senator Steve Green

The author of the House version of the bill, Rep. Zach Stephenson, says his bill rights the wrongs of cannabis prohibition, including automatic expungement of prior petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor marijuana convictions.

Stephenson also noted that the majority of Minnesotans support legal marijuana.

Governor Tim Walz has previously signaled he’d sign a recreational cannabis bill on his desk.

Some differences exist between the House and Senate versions, such as more local control in the Senate version, allowing cities and counties to limit the number of cannabis businesses within their jurisdictions.

The House bill also has a lower possession limit, at 1.5 pounds, versus the Senate’s 5-pound in-home possession limit.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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