A 23rd State Legalizes Weed

On Tuesday, Minnesota became the 23rd state in America to legalize cannabis for recreational usage by adults when Democratic Governor Tim Walz signed a new bill into law. 

In addition to legalizing marijuana usage on a recreational basis for certain adults, the new law – which will go into effect over the summer – will offer people who have low-level offenses related to cannabis the opportunity to expunge their records. 

The bill also creates a new state agency called the Office of Cannabis Management that will regulate Minnesota’s cannabis industry.

Jesse Ventura, who served as governor of Minnesota from 1999 through 2003 and has staunchly advocated for the legalization of marijuana, joined Walz at the signing of the bill this week. At that event, he said:

“Prohibition will now end. It’s (been) going on longer than I’ve been alive, the prohibition of a plant made by God. It’s very wonderful to see a dream of yours over 20 years ago finally [happen] today, and I’m still alive to see it.”

The bill only passed through the Minnesota state Senate by a very slim margin of 34-32, strictly along party lines. No Republicans in the state Senate voted in favor of the proposal, though five Republicans in the state House crossed over party lines to support it. 

In commenting on the bill, Walz said it was a great sign of democratic achievement. He said:

“This was an exercise in democracy. I think we had 30-plus hearings.”

State Senator Lindsey Port, who was the bill’s chief author, also added:

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

According to the bill, adults who are at least 21 years of age will be allowed to possess as much as two pounds of cannabis flower while in their homes. Outside of their homes, these adults will be able to carry as much as two ounces of the flower, 800 milligrams of any edible product of cannabis, or up to eight grams of cannabis concentrate.

Any instance of someone possessing or carrying more than those amounts will be subject to legal action. The law is similar to that of other states that have legalized adult recreational-use marijuana over the last few years. 

While many Democrats were in favor of passing this law to allow for recreational usage and to aid those who had been convicted of similar offenses in the past, others raised some concerns. 

Some of the state Republicans who voted against the bill expressed concerns over the mental health impact it could have on people in Minnesota, as well as the negative criminal trends it might create. 

Republican state Senator Warren Limmer, for instance, said:

“We’re opening a door that is going to be very difficult to close, and it’s going to be very difficult to put the genie back on the bottle once this occurs.”