House Approves Recreational Cannabis Bill

May 18, 2021

The measure, which bars cities from prohibiting the establishment of a licensed cannabis business, faces opposition in the Senate.

On a vote of 72-61, the full House on May 13 approved a measure that would legalize the sale and use of recreational cannabis statewide.

The bill, HF 600 (Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley), also establishes a regulatory framework and provides for expungement of low-level criminal cannabis convictions.

The League of Minnesota Cities does not have an official position on the bill but has raised concerns with the author about restrictions on local control. The bill prevents cities from prohibiting the establishment of a licensed cannabis business, but does preserve the authority cities have to regulate cannabis as they do all other businesses.

Local regulation of cannabis businesses

Article 1, section 12 of the bill addresses the role of local governments in regulating adult use cannabis. It states that:

  • Local units of government may not prohibit the possession, transportation, or use of cannabis or cannabis products authorized under the chapter.
  • Local units of government may not prohibit the establishment of a cannabis business licensed under this chapter.
  • Local units of government may establish reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of operations, and the Cannabis Management Board must work with local units of government to establish a model ordinance.
  • Local units of government may conduct studies on establishing reasonable limitations on the time, place, and manner of the operation of cannabis businesses, and local governments engaged in such a study may prohibit a cannabis business from opening until Jan. 1, 2024.
  • Local units of government are directed to review applications sent by the board and certify whether the application complies with local ordinances.
  • The Cannabis Management Board must seek input on applications from local governments.
  • The Cannabis Management Board must establish an expedited complaint process for complaints made by local governments.

Other measures in the bill

The bill places legal limitations on the use, possession, and transportation of cannabis and cannabis products and establishes civil penalties for violations. The measure allows a person age 21 or older to possess:

  • Two ounces or less of cannabis in a public place;
  • Ten pounds or less of cannabis in a person’s residence;
  • Eight grams or less of adult-use cannabis concentrate;
  • Edible products infused with a total of 800 mg or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); and
  • Up to eight cannabis plants, of which four or fewer may be mature, flowering plants.

Adults who have legally purchased cannabis could give to another adult up to 1.5 ounces of it, up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrate, or an edible cannabis product infused with up to 800 milligrams of THC.

Cannabis consumption would be restricted to private residences and properties, and prohibited in a motor vehicle, on a school bus or van, at a public school, charter school, or correctional facility, and at any location where smoking is prohibited under the Clean Indoor Air Act.

The legislation also moves the medical cannabis program under the newly created Cannabis Management Board; establishes taxes on adult use cannabis; creates grants to assist individuals entering into the legal cannabis market; amends criminal penalties; provides for expungement and resentencing of certain convictions; reschedules marijuana; and appropriates money.

Senate companion not moving

The bill is unlikely to become law due to opposition in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) has stated the Senate will not be taking up the companion to HF 600, SF 757, authored by Sen. Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina).

For more background information about this bill, read a previous article

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