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The Minnesota Daily

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Minnesota legalizes recreational marijuana for adults 21-years or older

Possession changes effectively take place August 1.
Image by Mary Ellen Ritter
Minnesota joins 22 other states in legalizing recreational cannabis use when Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill on Tuesday.

Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law on Tuesday legalizing recreational cannabis use in Minnesota, making the state the 23rd to permit marijuana use.

Possession will effectively be legal on August 1 for anyone 21-years or older. Anyone that age or above can possess up to two pounds of cannabis at home or two ounces in public. The bill also established an agency to be responsible for regulating the marijuana industry in the state.

Businesses will also be allowed to grow, manufacture and sell marijuana. The legislation includes 12 business licenses people can apply for.

As a result of the licensing process, retail dispensaries likely will not begin selling until 2025, according to the Office of Cannabis Management’s website, the agency responsible for regulating the new industry. 

“We’ve known for too long that prohibiting the use of cannabis hasn’t worked,” Walz said in a statement following his signature. “By legalizing adult-use cannabis, we’re expanding our economy, creating jobs, and regulating the industry to keep Minnesotans safe.”

Walz called the legislation “the right move for Minnesota,” adding decriminalizing marijuana and expunging criminal records will help “strengthen communities.”

Anyone with low-level marijuana possession convictions will have their record automatically expunged under the new law beginning in August, although the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension must process each case. People with felony convictions will also have the opportunity to appeal to a review board for expungement or reduced sentences.

Sen. Lindsey Port (DFL–Burnsville), who authored the bill, said in a statement following the Senate’s passing of the bill the new law has seen significant bipartisan improvements since its first introduction in January. 

The final bill passed the state Senate with a 34-32 vote on May 20 after passing the House 73-57 two days earlier, with votes from legislators from both parties.

“The prohibition on cannabis has had tremendously negative impacts on the lives of Minnesotans, especially our communities of color,” Port said in the statement. “It is time for us to change course, create a system that works for adult-use cannabis, and create a regulated market for Minnesota.”

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