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Minnesota Becomes 23rd State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana


Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota, a Democrat, signed a bill into law on Tuesday, making recreational marijuana use legal in the state. With this move, Minnesota becomes the 23rd state to legalize adult-use cannabis and the third Midwestern state to do so.

Governor Walz emphasized that prohibition has proven ineffective and has led to the criminalization of many individuals. He highlighted the need to begin the expungement process for those with marijuana-related convictions and the dangers associated with purchasing cannabis on the streets. He believes that adults should have the freedom to make decisions regarding these choices.

The bill, which received bipartisan support, was passed by the Democratic-led Minnesota House and Senate chambers earlier this month after several months of review since its introduction in January.

Starting from August 1, Minnesota residents aged 21 and older will be permitted to possess up to two ounces of marijuana flower in public and up to two pounds at home. The legislation also includes provisions for automatically expunging low-level convictions and establishing a review board to assess eligibility for higher-level offenses, providing an opportunity for individuals with marijuana convictions to clear their records.

Furthermore, the law establishes an Office of Cannabis Management responsible for regulating and overseeing the sale of cannabis products in the state. It aims to create a safe and well-regulated legal marketplace while prioritizing consumer protection, public safety, and health. The bill's sponsor, Democratic state Representative Zack Stephenson, stated that the legislation also focuses on implementing a robust expungement program to help individuals disproportionately affected by existing cannabis laws move forward with their lives.

Representative Stephenson clarified that although the regulatory and expungement efforts would begin once the law takes effect, significant changes would not happen immediately. It could take up to 18 months to establish licensed dispensaries, and expunging tens of thousands of past cannabis convictions might require years to complete, as mentioned on Twitter.

Governor Walz's recent authorizations include progressive measures such as restoring the voting rights of thousands of convicted felons and enshrining the right to abortion into state law. The legalization of marijuana now joins this list of progressive reforms in Minnesota.

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