A bill to legalize marijuana in Minnesota was approved by a House committee on Wednesday—the first of up to a dozen panels that are expected to take up the reform legislation in the weeks to come in advance of a floor vote.
House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) and other lawmakers filed the measure earlier this month. It would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to eight plants, four of which could be mature.
The House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee passed the bill in a 10-7 vote.
A second hearing on the proposal is scheduled in the Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee for February 23.
Winkler’s bill as introduced was identical to a proposal he filed last year, with some minor technical changes. The majority leader, who led a statewide listening to gather public input ahead of the measure’s introduction, called it the “best legalization bill in the country” at the time. It did not advance in that session, however.
Under the proposal, social equity would be prioritized, in part by ensuring diverse licensing and preventing the market from being monopolized by corporate players. Prior marijuana records would also be automatically expunged.
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On-site consumption and cannabis delivery services would also be permitted. And unlike in many legal states, local municipalities would be banned from prohibiting marijuana