Minnesota House Passes Cannabis Legalization for the First Time

The cannabis legalization movement makes history seemingly every day, continuing important momentum in the fight against failed Drug War policies. Despite record-breaking polling numbers showing widespread support for ending prohibition, legislative victories are extremely tough. While some of the victories may seem like they happen quickly, the foundation for these wins takes many years, if not several decades. It probably surprises some that Minnesota hasn’t already legalized cannabis, but the state’s house just passed such a bill for the first time. While passage in the Senate, is unlikely it’s important to celebrate these victories as they beget more victories and bring us one step closer to the ultimate goal. KSTP Channel 5 reported:

The bill, sponsored by House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, would allow for the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana and expunge the criminal records of non-violent offenses involving cannabis.

“The war on drugs is a failed policy. The harms caused by current cannabis laws cannot be allowed to continue,” Winkler said in a statement. “Minnesota’s illegal cannabis market creates bad outcomes for everyone. Responsible regulations and safeguards to prevent youth access are a better solution to address the harms our current laws fail to address.”

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The bill heads next to the Republican-controlled Senate, but Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has already said it will not be brought to the floor for a vote.

The legislative process is often a complicated and tricky proposition, especially for the cannabis community as there are a lot of details to be worked out to legalize the right way. It’s difficult to navigate various interests through different committees, and this bill had to survive 12 committees to finally make its way to a floor vote. It takes tenacity to a lot of determination to accomplish such a goal and Minnesotan advocates should be commended. They have the foundation of the House built, now they just have to figure out the Senate.

One of the best things about working in drug policy reform is that you learn something new all of the time, virtually every single day. Even when you don’t achieve your ultimate goal and you lose an election or legislative battle, you gain wisdom as you find new allies and absorb new information. While the folks in the Land of 10,000 Lakes apparently won’t win the ultimate goal of ending cannabis prohibition this legislative session, they are in a better position than ever before and I predict that they will be joining the states that have swept Reefer Madness into the dustbin of history within the next few years.

Kind Leaf thanks activists everywhere working to free the cannabis plant.

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