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Cannabis bill clears first committee in Minnesota House

Minnesota lawmakers have given their first-ever endorsement to a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana.

Members of the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee voted 10-7 Wednesday to advance the measure. DFL members supported the measure while Republicans did not.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said the goal of his bill is to create a safe and legal marketplace for adults to use cannabis.

“From a health perspective, from a racial equity perspective, from a criminal justice reform perspective, from just being able to do a better job of regulating a product that can be used responsibly, it’s time for Minnesota to change its cannabis laws,” Winkler said.

The bill sets up a regulatory framework for adult use cannabis and establishes taxes. A new Cannabis Management Board would be created to oversee recreational use as well as the state’s existing medical marijuana program.

Other sections of the bill, such as the expungement of marijuana-related criminal offences will be heard by another House committee during a future hearing.

Supporters and opponents testified during the remote hearing. Marcus Harcus, of Minneapolis, was among those who spoke in favor of the bill. [Read more at MPR News]

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