Minnesota adult-use marijuana legalization possible ‘this week’

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Adult-use marijuana legalization could become a reality in Minnesota as early as this week after state lawmakers agreed on final details in a conference committee Tuesday.

Licensed adult-use sales, however, will likely have to wait until summer 2024.

Both houses of the Minnesota Legislature passed adult-use cannabis legalization bills in late April.

In the Senate, legalization passed on a razor-thin party-line vote, 34 in favor to 33 against.

Democrats control both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office.

The House and Senate versions differed on some minute details, including possession limits and municipalities’ power to ban or limit retail licenses.

Lawmakers negotiated on those conflicts in Tuesday’s conference committee to create a final version.

Among the key points agreed to Tuesday:

  • Sales would be subject to a 10 percent tax rate.
  • Localities could not ban cannabis retailers, but they could cap retail licenses based on population.
  • Home cultivators would be allowed to possess up to 2 pounds of finished cannabis flower, far more than other states.

After another round of votes in both houses of the legislature, final language could reach Democratic Gov. Tim Walz for final approval as soon as this week, according to the Star Tribune.

Walz has pledged to sign marijuana legalization into law.

Minnesota’s legislative session ends May 22, but Rep. Zack Stephenson, legalization’s main House sponsor, vowed the bill would pass and be signed this year.

Minnesota would be the 23rd state to legalize adult-use cannabis, and the second this year after Delaware.

The adult-use marijuana industry continues a steady expansion across the United States.

Sales in Maryland began July 1, and sales in Missouri began earlier this year.

Other states in play in 2023 include Ohio, where a ballot initiative is expected to go before voters in November.