Minnesota Moves Closer to Recreational Cannabis Legalization
CannaBlog by Cory Parnell, COO and Principal at Bridge West CPAs and Advisors to the Cannabis Industry
In Minnesota, the push for recreational cannabis legalization has been ongoing for several years. Efforts to legalize recreational cannabis have faced resistance from some lawmakers and law enforcement officials. Read our CannaBlog to learn about the state’s steps toward legalizing recreational cannabis.
On April 28, 2023, the Minnesota Senate narrowly approved a bill (34-33 vote) that would allow adults 21 or older to possess, use, and cultivate small quantities of marijuana for personal use. The bill would also create a system and regulatory framework for cultivating, processing and selling cannabis products. On April 25, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act. The bills are currently heading to a conference committee where their differences must be reconciled in a final version. Tim Walz, Minnesota’s Democratic Governor, indicated that he would sign the plan into law once the differences between those two bills are reconciled. The legalization of cannabis for recreational use would take effect on August 1, 2023.
One of the main arguments favoring cannabis legalization is that it would generate significant tax revenue for the state. In states like Colorado, where recreational cannabis has been legal since 2014, tax revenues from cannabis sales have exceeded $1 billion since legalization. This revenue can be used to fund essential state programs and services in Minnesota. Another argument favoring cannabis legalization is that it could reduce the harm caused by prohibition. Criminalizing cannabis use has resulted in thousands of arrests and convictions, disproportionately affecting communities of color. Legalization would also reduce the number of people exposed to the unregulated black market for cannabis. Opponents of cannabis legalization argue that it could increase crime, impaired driving, and addiction. There are also concerns about the adverse health effects of cannabis use, particularly in young people.
Despite these concerns, polls suggest that most Minnesotans support cannabis legalization. A 2022 survey conducted by the Star Tribune found that 53% of MN adults supported legalizing recreational cannabis, while 33% opposed it, and 11% were undecided. If the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act becomes law, Minnesota will join the growing number of states that have legalized recreational cannabis. As of 2023, 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for adult use.
At the time of publishing this CannaBlog, it is unknown if the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act will become law. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration, where it may face more opposition. However, its passage in the House is a promising sign for those who support cannabis legalization in Minnesota.
For additional information about legalizing adult-use cannabis in Minnesota, contact us and visit the official webpage of Minnesota’s adult-use cannabis legislation. Bridge West CPAs & Advisors to the cannabis industry will continue to monitor the progress of this bill and provide updates as they become available. Stay tuned for more news on recreational cannabis legalization in Minnesota!