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Student demonstrators in the rainy weather protesting outside of Coffman Memorial Union on Tuesday.
Photos from April 23 protests
Published April 23, 2024

Minn. Senate paves way for greener future by approving cannabis legalization bill

21-year-olds will be able to sell, grow and consume cannabis once the legislation is signed by Gov. Tim Walz.
Image by Mary Ellen Ritter
Minnesota joins 22 other states in legalizing recreational cannabis use when Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill on Tuesday.

The last major hurdle to cannabis legalization was passed on Friday after the Minnesota Senate voted on a bill to legalize the selling, growing and consumption of weed for those age 21 and older.

The bill passed the Senate along party lines in a 34-33 vote. 

Gov. Tim Walz has already indicated his intention to sign the bill into law. Minnesota will join 22 other states who legalized cannabis for recreational use. 

All criminal records associated with the possession or sale of marijuana will be removed.

Co-author of the bill Sen. Lindsey Port (DFL-Burnsville) said eliminating all criminal records associated with marijuana was a priority when passing cannabis legalization.

“There can be no legalization without expungement,” Port said. “The harm of incarceration has been borne primarily by communities of color, especially Black men.”

Sen. Clare Omou Verbeten (DFL-St. Paul) said the bill takes steps toward fixing Minnesota’s past mistakes with cannabis.

“People should know that these convictions have a long, lingering effect on people’s lives,” Verbeten said. “This is what this bill is about. It’s about righting those past wrongs.”

While medical cannabis use and hemp-derived low-THC food and drinks were already legal, Minnesotans will be able to legally smoke marijuana, upon signing the bill into law.

Minnesotans can carry two ounces of cannabis in public and one and a half at home once the law is enacted. 

Minnesotans will be able to grow cannabis plants for business or personal use in their home. Eight cannabis plants can be grown at once as long as only four are matured at a time.

Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) said the bill lacks funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment.

“Our communities will be less safe with increased use and availability of marijuana,” Nelson said in a statement.

The bill will also create a Cannabis Advisory Council with health experts, farmers and state and city officials to study the effectiveness of Minnesota’s marijuana legislation and industry.

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