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‘This is a racial justice issue’: Minnesota Dems look to legalize cannabis



Lawmakers and leadership from the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party in Minnesota promise to finally pass a bill to legalize cannabis use for adults over 21, the party announced in a press conference highlighting goals for 2023.

If passed, the legislation would allow adults to possess up to five pounds of cannabis at home or eight grams of concentrate. In addition, transportation of the drug is limited to 800 milligrams of THC cannabinoid product.

The bill also establishes a plan to tax marijuana/cannabis sales, while creating a licensing program for cultivators, transporters, retailers, wholesalers etc.

The approximately 250-page bill would also seek to expunge certain cannabis-related convictions from criminal records, similar to policy enacted in Connecticut.

Democrat state Senator-Elect Clare Oumou Verbeten made it clear that the bill must pass, in her opinion, with the inclusion of the expungements.

“We cannot legalize cannabis without expungement,” she stated. “This is a racial justice issue,” Verbeten continued.

“As we have heard, the harm that has done to communities of color needs to end. We are committed to getting this done, and we just got through a historic election where we now have black women serving in the state Senate for the first time,” the state senator insisted. “I’m really proud to be one of those women,” she added.

The party’s press conference showcased several legislators as well as a hemp farm operator, who claimed there have been historical and “egregious public health outcomes between non-white and white Minnesotans,” which she claims have caused the state to be nicknamed “the Mississippi of the north.”

“Over the last three years, DFLers in the legislature have listened and worked to build a Minnesota-specific model for cannabis legalization,” said Representative Zach Stephenson, a co-author of the bill.

“Our bill will create a safe, well-regulated, legal marketplace where Minnesotans can grow, sell, and buy cannabis if they choose to do so,” he claimed.

The DFL has been pushing for such legislation for several years, with prior attempts coming in early 2019 and mid-2020. The party also sells a T-shirt that says “legalize it” with a marijuana leaf on its website store. The store also includes pro-vaccine and pride-related apparel.

The left-wing party currently controls four of Minnesota’s eight U.S. House of Representatives seats, along with both Senate seats. Popular members of the party include Representative Ilhan Omar, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.





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