Minnesota is poised to become the 23rd state to legalize recreational marijuana, after the state Senate gave its final stamp of approval on legislation early Saturday morning.
The bill, which would allow adults over 21 to carry up to 2 ounces of marijuana in public and possess up to 2 pounds at home starting Aug. 1, now heads to Gov. Tim Walz’s (D) desk for signature. He is widely expected to sign the legislation.
“Legalizing adult-use cannabis and expunging cannabis convictions is good for our economy and the right move for Minnesota,” Walz tweeted last month. “When the bill reaches my desk, I’ll be proud to sign it into law.”
The legislation would automatically expunge low-level cannabis convictions and set up a board to consider expunging and resentencing felony cannabis convictions.
However, state Rep. Zach Stephenson (D-Coon Rapids), the bill’s sponsor, warned on Friday that it could take time to expunge records.
“Starting right away, we will begin the process of expunging tens of thousands of cannabis convictions,” he tweeted. “But it took 50 years to create all those convictions, and it will take months, even years, to complete this process.”
Stephenson also said there likely would not be licensed dispensaries for up to 18 months, as a new state agency sets up the legal market.
The Minnesota Senate, which had been controlled by Republicans for several years, had previously blocked efforts to fully legalize marijuana in the state, according to CBS News Minnesota.
Democrats retook control of the state Senate this year, giving the party control of both chambers and the governor’s mansion. (Full Story)