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Law Minnesota

Baron23

Well-Known Member
PTSD Patients Can Now Buy Minnesota’s Medical Pot

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota residents suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder can start buying medical marijuana.

Tuesday brought the latest expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program that launched in July 2015. Patients suffering chronic pain that couldn’t be treated with other means were allowed to use the drug starting last summer, a move that added thousands of customers to the state’s pool.

But manufacturers aren’t expecting the same rush of new patients to help offset their heavy financial losses in the first years of legal sales. State data shows just 105 patients with PTSD had started or completed the registration process in the month leading up to legal sales.

Meanwhile, patient advocates are pushing to add even more conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Minnesota medical marijuana users struggle with cost, finding doctors to prescribe

Almost three years after marijuana was legalized for some medical purposes in Minnesota, some providers, patients and patients' loved ones say the program is frustrating, and the medicine, for many, is unaffordable.

"I just think it's so sad why we can't set up a program that someone would find easier than (it is)," said Pat Mullen of Duluth. "They've got to find a way to inform people."

When Mullen's fiancee, the late Linnea Stephan, was fighting brain cancer, they sought a prescription for medical marijuana to counter the nausea caused by chemotherapy, he said. But they couldn't find any oncologist at either Essentia Health or St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth willing to certify her for that condition.

Unable to find a certifying provider in Duluth, the couple turned to a Twin Cities clinic.

"It wouldn't surprise me if there's someone in Duluth, but that's part of the problem is how would I find out?" Mullen asked. "How would I know who it would even be?"

There's no provider directory on the website of the Minnesota Department of Health's Office of Medical Cannabis. The department "cannot say" what providers are in the registry, said Dr. Tom Arneson, research manager for the cannabis office.

That came as a surprise to the Health Department's boss when she was asked about it during a visit to Duluth last week. "That's a new one on me, that we don't do that," said Jan Malcolm, who Gov. Mark Dayton appointed as health commissioner in late January.

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Different hospitals, different approaches

Patients may find more difficulty obtaining medical marijuana certification at certain hospitals.

At St. Luke's, oncologists are the only practitioners who are on the registry, said Dr. Gary Peterson, the hospital's chief medical officer. That's not to say that an oncologist would necessarily agree to certify a particular patient.

"I would think that each individual cancer patient ... would be evaluated individually as to the appropriateness of medical marijuana," he said. "We wouldn't expect that to be the first-line treatment."

But the decision about whether to certify patients is left up to the practitioners, Peterson said.

Essentia Health takes a more centralized approach. Dr. Jeffrey Lyon, an internist who is on the medical cannabis committee at Essentia, said practitioners are asked to try "evidence-supported treatments" before considering medical marijuana as an option. If the clinician then wants to recommend medical marijuana, he or she first must refer the case to the committee, which then rules on whether the patient can be certified.

An expedited process is allowed for terminally ill patients with "intractable nausea," he said.

Lyon has led the committee since the beginning of the year, and there hasn't been a single request during that time, he said.

Arneson said he senses frustration from prospective patients in the Duluth area.

"We get complaints about not being able to find (a practitioner) to certify a patient from all over the state, don't get me wrong," he said. "But we have received a number from the northeastern part of the state with specific complaints about organizations."

The cost

Income may be a factor in holding down the number of participants from some parts of the state.

"Most people can't afford this program," Arneson said. "That's just the reality of it. So it depends a little bit on the distribution of income, I would say."

The average monthly cost for marijuana patients in Minnesota is $150, Dr. Adam Locketz said.

Locketz is a practitioner for TimeWise Clinic, which operates in Duluth and Lake Elmo, Minn. He has certified close to 2,000 patients for medical marijuana, some referred from larger clinics.

But there are other costs before the patient even gets to the marijuana distribution center, especially in the first year. Locketz said he charges $250 for the first visit to certify a patient, with declining rates after that. The state charges another $200 to place the patient on the registry, and then $50 every succeeding year. A patient must be recertified each year.

The costs and the hurdles have created a problem for the state's medical marijuana program, Lyon said.

"The state has created this system, and they're not seeing the number of people buying their product that they had hoped for," he said.

Nonetheless, state data shows growth in the patient registry every month since the program started accepting patients in June 2015. The curve became steeper starting in August 2016, when intractable pain became a condition for which marijuana could be prescribed.

As of March 31, 9,435 patients were enrolled and in active status in the registry, the Office of Medical Cannabis reported. That was up from 5,119 a year earlier.

Nearly two out of three Minnesota patients who received medical marijuana are certified for intractable pain.

Those patients may be able to break their dependence on opioids, Locketz said.

"Daily I'm seeing patients back who, over a period of years, have been able to use this to come off of fentanyl patches or oxycodone," he said.

But while data coming from states with legalized medical marijuana shows a trend toward lower opioid use, Lyon said there's still a lack of quality clinical research in the field.

"Maybe medical marijuana will be a significant tool in decreasing opioid abuse," he said. "We just don't know."

Qualifying conditions

Conditions for which Minnesota residents may be eligible to receive medical marijuana:

• Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting

• Glaucoma

• HIV/AIDS

• Tourette syndrome

• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

• Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy

• Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

• Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease

• Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year

• Intractable pain

• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Two conditions will be added this year. Patients can enroll beginning July 1 and pick up medication beginning Aug. 1:

• Autism

• Obstructive sleep apnea
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member



APNewsBreak: Top executive out at medical marijuana company


ST. PAUL, Minn. — The chief executive of one of Minnesota’s two medical marijuana manufacturers has left the company after years of financial losses.

Andrew Bachman, LeafLine Labs’ co-founder and its chief executive since 2016, is no longer with the company “in any official capacity,” the company said in a Thursday statement to The Associated Press. The company’s entire 5-member board has also been replaced.

The statement didn’t give a reason for Bachman’s exit, and a company official didn’t respond to questions about his departure. Bachman didn’t respond to a voicemail or text message seeking comment.

But LeafLine has struggled since medical marijuana sales began in 2015 in Minnesota. The Cottage Grove-based company lost $6.9 million in its first two financial years, and documents provided by state regulators to The AP showed LeafLine lost another $5.3 million in 2017.

Two top executives left LeafLine last year and it temporarily scaled back its operations in November during a supply shortage that Bachman blamed on lab testing delays.

LeafLine was founded and backed by several family members of the popular Minnesota nursery Bachman’s Floral Garden and Gift Centers, though it’s unclear if any family members are still involved at the company after Bachman’s exit. LeafLine was one of two manufacturers selected to grow and cultivate medical marijuana in 2014, the year Minnesota’s Legislature passed its law.

Minnesota’s program is among the most restrictive of 30 states that allow medical marijuana. Using the plant form is banned, and the state limits the availability of marijuana pills and oils to patients with 10 severe conditions. Each manufacturer is required to perform several rounds of testing on their medication and must run four dispensaries across the state.

Those restrictions have made business difficult for both of the state’s manufacturers. An audit last year showed the two companies, LeafLine and Minnesota Medical Solutions, had lost a combined $11 million in just two years of legal sales. But while Minnesota Medical Solutions has been trending in the right direction — it turned a small profit in 2017 — LeafLine has lost more money each year it’s been in business.

After losing $4.7 million in 2016, a financial audit shows the company lost another $5.3 million in 2017. All told, LeafLine has lost more than $12 million in its three years of operations.

The company also struggled late last year with supply, turning away some patients and temporarily closing a storefront in Eagan due to what Bachman said was a delay in the state-mandated, third-party testing of its medication.

This isn’t LeafLine’s first brush with turnover. Bachman was the company’s fourth chief executive since the company formed in 2014. He took over after Manny Munson-Regala, previously a top state regulator of the medical marijuana industry, left the company in 2016 after just eight months on the job.

Last fall, the company’s chief medical officer and chief financial officer resigned, with Bachman citing “personal and professional reasons.”
 

MinnBobber

Well-Known Member
I'm very active in trying to add new medical conditions in MN, but our program is sooo bad that it is really hard to fix.
There are only two vendors and each has their own territory, so functionally it is two monopolies :(
Their pricing is extreme, the last time I checked their tincture/oil was $208 for 1000 mg of actives :drooling:
In some parts of the state, patients have to go 100 miles to get their medicine.

We cannot do a voter referendum as only the State Legislature can change the mmj law or bring in full legal adult cannabis.
The House recently voted to allow sale of flowers, but the Senate is a tough sell on that. And even if that passed, I'm guessing we are talking $400 OZs????

That's the latest from MN
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Judge Says Police Seizure Of 900 Pounds Of Marijuana Was Illegal

Minnesota judge throws out case after ruling that cops conducted an unconstitutional search.

Months after two men were arrested for trying to transport large amounts of cannabis through Minnesota, a judge has set them free and dismissed the original charges.

At issue in the case was whether or not the search of the vehicle that initially led cops to discover the weed was legal. And on Tuesday, the judge hearing the case ruled that the cops’ search was unconstitutional.

Marijuana Bust in March
The whole thing started back in March of this year. That’s when state trooper Aaron Myren pulled over two men from Montana who were driving through Minnesota.

The men traveling inside the truck were identified as 31-year-old Jared Michael Desroches and 24-year-old Alexander Clifford Gordon.


According to Myren, he became suspicious because the two men were towing a camper trailer behind their truck. Myren claimed that it is unusual to see a camper during that time of the year. Additionally, Myren also claimed that the vehicle was swerving and driving unsteadily.

Finally, Myren decided to pull over the vehicle when he noticed a large crack in the windshield.

After Myren pulled them over, the two men reportedly said they had some marijuana in the vehicle with them. At that point, Myren and the police dog he had with him apparently began searching the vehicle and the trailer.


That’s when they discovered that the trailer was filled with weed. Specifically, the trailer contained 900 pounds of weed, 406 one-gram containers of concentrates, 112 containers of wax, and at least $15,000 in cash.

Myren arrested the men and seized the weed. The two men were initially charged with two counts of first-degree controlled substances sale.

Judge Rules Vehicle Search Was Unconstitutional
Now, months later, District Judge Timothy Churchwell has dismissed the charges.


He ruled that the vehicle search conducted by Myren was unconstitutional. As a result, it was illegal for cops to seize the marijuana, and without that, there is no evidence to bring against Desroches and Gordon.

Judge Churchwell explained that it was allowable for Myren to pull over the vehicle because of the cracked windshield. But beyond that, the judge said, Myren had no probable cause to conduct any searches of the men’s truck or camper trailer.

Interestingly, local media reported that Myren’s dashcam footage played a key role in the judge’s decision. Specifically, the footage threw much of Myren’s testimony into question.

For example, Myren claimed that it is unusual for campers to be on the road in March. However, footage from the incident showed a number of other camper trailers driving on the same road.

Similarly, Myren said that the men were driving erratically. But the footage showed that the men were driving just fine.

“The video played a huge role in us getting it tossed out because a lot of it didn’t match up to what [Myren] was saying,” the defendants’ lawyer Paul Applebaum told local media.

And as for the claim that the men were driving erratically, Applebaum explained: “The squad video, which essentially records from the same vantage point as Myren’s, shows that the pickup never crossed the fog-line—it merely touched it once for a fraction of a second and proceeded flawlessly for a substantial distance before Myren pulled it over.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
That’s when they discovered that the trailer was filled with weed. Specifically, the trailer contained 900 pounds of weed, 406 one-gram containers of concentrates, 112 containers of wax, and at least $15,000 in cash.


Dang....and that was my stash for the next 6 months!! hahaha
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Minnesota Lawmakers Introduce Cannabis Legalization Bill

State lawmakers in Minnesota introduced a bill this week that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults and establish a legal marijuana industry in the state. The bill, HF 4632, was introduced by House of Representatives Majority Leader Ryan Winkler on Tuesday with the support of 33 cosponsors.

Winkler, a Democrat, said in February that he and his colleagues in the House were working on what he said would be “the best legalization bill in the country to date.” He added that the lawmakers working on the bill would learn from the mistakes of the 11 other states that have already legalized marijuana.

Soon after, however, attention shifted from pending legislative priorities to dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe. But with restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus now beginning to be relaxed, Winkler believes it’s time to renew the push to legalize cannabis.

“We made a commitment to introduce legislation this session, and we wanted to follow through on that commitment,” he said in a statement. “Our current priority is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, but after the town halls and discussions around this issue, we still wanted to put a strong bill forward. As we look to come out of this crisis as a better, stronger Minnesota, we need to continue working toward legalizing cannabis for responsible adult use.”

If passed, Winkler’s bill would legalize the use and possession of cannabis by adults. Up to 1.5 ounces of pot could be legally carried on one’s person and up to ten pounds of marijuana could be kept at home. Growing up to eight cannabis plants, four of which may be flowering, would also be legalized.

The bill also provides a regulatory framework for a commercial cannabis industry to be established in Minnesota. Labeling, packaging, and testing requirements would be implemented for cannabis products and dosage sizes would be restricted, among other regulations.

Social Equity Measures Written Into Bill
Several social equity provisions are also written into the bill, including the establishment of an Office of Social Equity that would distribute grants to promote economic opportunity and community stability. The measure also prioritizes social equity applicants for business licenses in the new cannabis industry. HF 4632 provides for the expungement of most cannabis convictions, as well.

The bill was crafted after months of public discussions and research that included an analysis of the successes and challenges of cannabis legalization in other states. Unlike other states, the legislation does not include provisions that allow local jurisdictions to ban cannabis businesses, a power that has been used to thwart the growth of the legal cannabis industry in California.

“Minnesotans have been loud and clear that our current cannabis laws are doing more harm than good,” Winkler said. “By creating a regulatory framework, we can address the harms caused by cannabis and establish a more sensible set of laws to improve our health care and criminal justice systems and ensure better outcomes for communities.”

Last year, a bipartisan bill to legalize cannabis was introduced in Minnesota but failed to survive a vote by a state Senate committee. When Winkler first announced the new bill’s imminent introduction in February, he acknowledged it would be a long road to legalization subject to amendments and compromise and it is “highly likely that it will take more than one year to get it done.”
 

CarolKing

Always in search of the perfect vaporizer
With all these states having such a difficult time with their state budgets, making cannabis legal would be a great way to pay the bills. Coronavirus have devastated most city and state budgets.
 
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Baron23

Well-Known Member
Minnesota’s White Earth Nation Legalizes Medical Cannabis

Because they are a sovereign nation, the tribe will determine their own cannabis laws, independent from the state of Minnesota.



Minnesota’s White Earth Nation voted last Tuesday to fully legalize medical cannabis on the reservation. Now, all growing, regulating, and distribution will be allowed within the borders of the tribe as soon as they are able to get their distribution up and running.
The vote was approved at a nine-out-of-10 ratio, following in the footsteps of the Red Lake Nation, a Minnesota tribe who have already legalized medical cannabis back in May. Now, a medical cannabis program can begin on the reservation, paving the way for a strong entrepreneurial future and access to needed medicine.
“It’s exciting,” White Earth Chairman Michael Fairbanks said. “The membership has spoken and it’s overwhelming.”
Indigenous Communities And Cannabis
Minnesota tribes are able to get into the cannabis industry ahead of their entire state as members of the Indigenous community, since they govern their own nations. Governor Tim Walz has expressed support of medical and recreational cannabis and a desire to legalize more in coming years, but right now, the tribes will have much looser restrictions than the state as a whole, as Minnesota still does not allow medical cannabis to be smoked or ingested. Only pills, powders, and lotions are medically legal in the state currently, and the state is very restrictive about what they prescribe and why.

Luckily, White Earth Nation will not have to jump through these hoops. This is because as sovereign nations, the tribes don’t have to follow state laws on medical cannabis. This also means they can expand beyond the two distribution companies currently allowed in Minnesota, Leafline Labs and Minnesota medical Solutions. And, it gives the tribes more control over what people can be prescribed cannabis for. White Earth will have control over who produces the cannabis and who is eligible to use it for medicine, as well as how they choose to regulate and operate the inner workings of their industry.
“Minnesota is getting really close to having recreational marijuana, so it’s good to get our foot out there and mark our spot,” Fairbanks said.
While it’s too soon to tell when the medical cannabis program will be up and running, farmers on the White Earth reservation already grow hemp, so the switch should be somewhat seamless for those looking to branch into a new cash crop. However, they still need to work out all the details of the new program, who will be able to grow, and what it will allow.
This will also give the tribe a head start if cannabis finally gets legalized in Minnesota. While the state has seen a lot of legal cannabis support from Minnesota voters, and Walz has expressed that he would legalize recreational cannabis if he gets a bill on his desk, many fear the Republican-held Senate would never pass such a bill.
While cannabis is still illegal federally, and legal medical cannabis is still slowly coming to the tribes of the state, there is no doubt that White Earth Nation and Red Lake Nation will have a leg up on the competition when full legalization finally takes hold.
 

MinnBobber

Well-Known Member
Good for them. I wonder if they will/can allow visitors to buy? Or visitors with a medical card elsewhere = reciprocity??
.............
Our MN medical program is very restrictive and very expensive and very bureaucratic.

There is just a one month window each year to petition to add new conditions.
The Health Dept screens which submissions even go to a committee which recommends approval or rejection.

Since several “Cannabis for COVID “ studies are happening worldwide, I petitioned to add COVID. One concluded study even showed cannabis stopped the deadly lung Cytokine storm and reversed lung damage in mice!

Rejected, to not even get a chance with the committee review. WTF??

Cannabis could help stop the next 1700 COVdeaths in MN but noooo

Since our Health Dept acts as a super gatekeeper, it’s another reason we need full adult legal here.

Very disappointing but not a surprise.
 
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momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Minnesota House Committee Urges Marijuana Decriminalization And Expungements As Racial Justice Moves For 2021


A panel of Minnesota lawmakers is backing the decriminalization of marijuana and expunging past cannabis records as a way to help “dismantle systemic racism” in the state.

Last week, the House Select Committee On Racial Justice adopted a report that broadly details race-based disparities and recommends a series of policy changes that could resolve those issues.

In order to “address disproportionately harmful impacts on communities of color” in the legal system, the legislature should pursue cannabis decriminalization and clearing the records of those convicted on non-violent marijuana offenses, the report states.

The select committee was tasked with assessing racial disparities in the state as part of a resolution that was approved by the House in July. It urges the governor and the Senate to “adopt resolutions affirming that racism is a public health crisis resulting in disparities in family stability, health and mental wellness, education, employment, economic development, public safety, criminal justice, and housing.”

To that end, panel members are calling for their recommendations to “be at the center” of the legislature’s work to put together a budget in fiscal year 2021, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) said in a press release.

Winkler filed a bill earlier this year to fully legalize marijuana in Minnesota, describing it as the “best” in the country in part because it would have prioritized social equity in the industry. It did not move in the legislature, however.

Gov. Tim Walz (D), who backs legalization, said last year that he was directing state agencies to prepare to implement reform in anticipation of legalization passing.

“I’m proud of the Select Committee’s hard work this year to help Minnesotans understand the historical context behind systemic racism, and to give the unacceptable racial disparities throughout the state the attention they deserve,” the committee’s co-chair Rep. Rena Moran (D) said.

“Now, it’s time for the rest of the Legislature to follow through on these important recommendations to help Black, Indigenous, and People of Color live healthy, safe, and prosperous lives full of opportunity to reach their full potential,” she said.

In addition to the cannabis-related recommendations, the panel also advised the legislature to implement a pilot program that relates to “women convicted of non-violent drug-related felony crimes” and “certified substance use disorder treatment programs.”

Co-chair Rep. Ruth Richardson (D) said that the “COVID-19 pandemic and senseless murder of George Floyd shined a light on the historical and contemporary injustices that are still embedded in our society.”

“The work we did on this select committee was long overdue and it represents a commitment to bring about meaningful change in our state and the Minnesota House as an institution,” she said.

Prior to the committee vote to adopt the report, Richardson drew a distinction between the decriminalization recommendation, which she said was supported by law enforcement, and broader legalization.

As in Minnesota, members of the U.S. House of Representatives were also motivated to take action on drug reform following the police killing of Floyd, introducing a resolution in May that specifically cites the racial injustices of the war on drugs.

In June, Georgia lawmakers included a provision to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession as part of a comprehensive policing reform bill that did not ultimately advance.

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, meanwhile, pushed the legislature to move beyond simply decriminalizing marijuana and pursue legalization during a summer special sessionthat was largely focused on criminal justice reform. That did not materialize, but a working group comprised of four Virginia cabinet secretaries and other top officials submitted recommendations to the governor and lawmakers last month about how to best implement a legal marijuana program in the state.

In North Carolina, a racial justice task force convened by Gov. Roy Cooper (D) recently issued a report that calls on the state to decriminalize marijuana possession and initiate a study on whether to more broadly legalize cannabis sales.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Top Minnesota Lawmakers File Marijuana Legalization Bill For 2021


Top Minnesota lawmakers introduced a bill on Monday that would legalize marijuana in the state.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) filed the legislation, which is also being cosponsored by the House speaker. 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 bill is identical to a proposal the majority leader filed last year, with some minor technical changes. Winkler, 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 the legislature, however.

“This bill is ready to go from the Minnesota House,” Winkler said at a press conference on Monday. “Our priorities are to end the black market” and provide a “safe, regulated marketplace.”

The legislation will give “Minnesotans the freedom to make their own decisions on a product that has some challenges, but is relatively safe, especially compared to other products,” he said.

The majority leader also talked about the need to legalize in a regional context.

“As South Dakota legalizes, the ability for Minnesotans to drive across the border to get cannabis increases significantly,” he said. “If people are willing to drive to Wisconsin go and buy fireworks, they certainly will drive to South Dakota to buy cannabis.”

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.

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 businesses from operating in their areas.

Retail cannabis sales would be taxed at 10 percent. Part of that revenue would fund a grant program designed to promote economic development and community stability.

The bill calls for the establishment of a seven-person Cannabis Management Board, which would be responsible for regulating the market and issuing cannabis business licenses.

People living in low-income neighborhoods and military veterans who lost honorable status due to a cannabis-related offense would be considered social equity applicants eligible for priority licensing.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) voiced support for legalizing cannabis days ahead of the new bill’s introduction.

In a press release, she said it’s “clear that our current cannabis laws aren’t working for Minnesota.”

“Smart, sensible legislation can address racial inequities in our criminal justice system, tackle the harms caused by cannabis, and ensure better outcomes for communities,” she said.

Rep. Patrick Garofalo (R) voiced support for the legalization proposal, saying in a statement on Monday that lawmakers “of all political parties should work together towards implementing a better regulatory model to address the expensive, inefficient, and unfair prohibition on marijuana.”

“Contrary to what some will say, this is not a partisan issue,” he said. “Many Republicans are interested in reforming these expensive laws.”

Leili Fatehi, campaign manager for Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation (MRMR), told Marijuana Moment that the bill “has been a long time coming.”

“We are encouraged to see that the first three authors on the bill include the House majority leader, the speaker of the House, and the chair of the Ways and Means Committee,” she said. “This authorship is the strongest indication of the MN House majority’s commitment to legalization, expungement, and regulation.”

The next step for lawmakers is to hold a series of additional public hearings on the proposal to gather feedback from residents.

Gov. Tim Walz (D) is also in favor of ending marijuana prohibition, and last week he called on lawmakers to pursue the reform as a means to boost the economy and promote racial justice.

Beyond providing the state with needed tax revenue, he said legalization would also help address “the equity issue and, quite honestly, the racial impact of our cannabis laws.”

“I will say this, I will certainly leave open that possibility. Our neighboring states have done both of those things,” Walz said of legalizing sports gambling and cannabis. “I obviously recognize that that’s not a 100 percent slam dunk for people, and they realize that there’s cost associated with both. But my message would be is, I don’t think this is the time for me to say I’m shutting the door on anything.”

The governor did not include a request to legalize through his budget proposal, however, as his counterparts in some other states have.

Walz did say in 2019 that he was directing state agencies to prepare to implement reform in anticipation of legalization passing.

The new bill’s sponsor, Winkler, said last month that if Senate Republicans don’t go along with the policy change legislatively, he said he hopes they will at least let voters decide on cannabis as a 2022 ballot measure.

Heading into the 2020 election, Democrats believed they had a shot of taking control of the Senate, but that didn’t happen.

The result appears to be partly due to the fact that candidates from marijuana-focused parties in the state earned a sizable share of votes that may have otherwise gone to Democrats, perhaps inadvertently hurting the chances of reform passing.

The Republican-controlled Senate remains an obstacle to reform, with Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R) saying recently that while he would be “open to expanding medical use or hearing criminal justice reforms,” he doesn’t “believe fully legalized marijuana is right for the state.”

“While the Senate majority’s opposition makes the bill unlikely to pass into law, post-Census redistricting means that the MN Senate is up for reelection—in its entirety—again in 2022,” Fatehi of MRMR said. “This time, there will be no question in the minds of Minnesotans as to who’s responsible for keeping the state from legalizing cannabis.”

In December, the Minnesota House Select Committee On Racial Justice adopted a report that broadly details race-based disparities in criminal enforcement and recommends a series of policy changes, including marijuana decriminalization and expungements.

Another factor that might add pressure on lawmakers to enact the reform is the November vote in neighboring South Dakota to legalize adult-use cannabis.

Also next door, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) is pushing lawmakers to enact marijuana reform and recently said that he is considering putting legalization in his upcoming budget request.

Read the full Minnesota marijuana legalization bill and a summary by following title link and scrolling to the bottom of the article.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Minnesota Marijuana Legalization Bill Clears Second House Committee


A second Minnesota House committee approved a bill on Tuesday that would legalize marijuana in the state—though several other panels are expected to take up the legislation over the course of the next few weeks before it reaches the floor.

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 Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee passed the measure in a 7-5 vote. This comes one week after the Commerce Finance and Policy Committee advanced the legislation. It will next head to the Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee.

“The fact of the matter is that our laws are the part of this system that don’t work,” Winkler said on Tuesday. “We criminalize responsible adults who use cannabis for their own purposes. We criminalize people who use cannabis for their health benefits. We criminalize veterans who use cannabis as an alternative to opioids. And we criminalize countless African Americans because of their use of a substance that is common.”

“As we look at making updates to the way we treat cannabis and we look at ways to make responsible smart policy choices, we have to make sure that we are actually dealing with cannabis as it is—not as people believe it to be during a period of Reefer Madness in the 20th century,” he said. “Things are not that way.”

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.

During the latest committee meeting, members approved an amendment that would clarify the process for veterans to qualify for medical cannabis and appropriate funds for job training for the marijuana industry. The bill also underwent other changes during last week’s initial hearing.

On-site consumption and cannabis delivery services would be permitted under the bill. And unlike in many legal states, local municipalities would be banned from prohibiting marijuana businesses from operating in their areas.

Retail cannabis sales would be taxed at 10 percent. Part of that revenue would fund a grant program designed to promote economic development and community stability.

The bill calls for the establishment of a seven-person Cannabis Management Board, which would be responsible for regulating the market and issuing cannabis business licenses. It was amended in committee on Tuesday to add members to that board who have a social justice background.

People living in low-income neighborhoods and military veterans who lost honorable status due to a cannabis-related offense would be considered social equity applicants eligible for priority licensing.

Local chapters of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the United Food and Commercial Workers chapter and Sensible Change Minnesota submitted written testimony in favor of the proposal ahead of Tuesday’s hearing.

Gov. Tim Walz (D) is also in favor of ending marijuana prohibition, and last month he called on lawmakers to pursue the reform as a means to boost the economy and promote racial justice. He did not include a request to legalize through his budget proposal, however.

Walz did say in 2019 that he was directing state agencies to prepare to implement reform in anticipation of legalization passing.

Winkler, meanwhile, said in December that if Senate Republicans don’t go along with the policy change legislatively, he said he hopes they will at least let voters decide on cannabis as a 2022 ballot measure.

Heading into the 2020 election, Democrats believed they had a shot of taking control of the Senate, but that didn’t happen.

The result appears to be partly due to the fact that candidates from marijuana-focused parties in the state earned a sizable share of votes that may have otherwise gone to Democrats, perhaps inadvertently hurting the chances of reform passing.

In December, the Minnesota House Select Committee On Racial Justice adopted a report that broadly details race-based disparities in criminal enforcement and recommends a series of policy changes, including marijuana decriminalization and expungements.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Third Minnesota House Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill


A third Minnesota House committee has approved a bill to legalize marijuana in the state—but even more panels are expected to take up the legislation before it reaches the floor.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) and other lawmakers filed the measure last 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.

On Wednesday, the House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee advanced the legislation in a 10-2 vote, with one abstention. It’s already been approved by the Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committeeand the Commerce Finance and Policy Committee as well.

“The goal of this bill, among other things, is to shift an illegal marketplace into a safe and legal regulated marketplace for people to purchase and be able to consume cannabis products,” Winkler said in his opening comments. “In doing so, we have an opportunity to build a legal marketplace from the ground up according to policies that reflect the values of Minnesotans.”

The proposal now heads to House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee.

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.

During Wednesday’s committee hearing, members approved an amendment stipulating that workers can only be penalized for being “impaired” on the job, not simply “under the influence” of marijuana. It also revised loan and grant eligibility requirements and appropriates funds to support services through the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Several people testified in favor of the proposal, including those representing the marijuana and beer industries. There was also an attempt to table the legislation from an opposing lawmaker, but the member’s motion failed 5-8.

Under the bill, 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

On-site consumption and cannabis delivery services would be permitted under the bill. And unlike in many legal states, local municipalities would be banned from prohibiting marijuana businesses from operating in their areas.

Retail cannabis sales would be taxed at 10 percent. Part of that revenue would fund a grant program designed to promote economic development and community stability.

The bill calls for the establishment of a seven-person Cannabis Management Board, which would be responsible for regulating the market and issuing cannabis business licenses. It was amended in committee last week to add members to that board who have a social justice background.

People living in low-income neighborhoods and military veterans who lost honorable status due to a cannabis-related offense would be considered social equity applicants eligible for priority licensing.

Gov. Tim Walz (D) is also in favor of ending marijuana prohibition, and in January he called on lawmakers to pursue the reform as a means to boost the economy and promote racial justice. He did not include a request to legalize through his budget proposal, however.

Walz did say in 2019 that he was directing state agencies to prepare to implement reform in anticipation of legalization passing.

Winkler, meanwhile, said in December that if Senate Republicans don’t go along with the policy change legislatively, he said he hopes they will at least let voters decide on cannabis as a 2022 ballot measure.

Heading into the 2020 election, Democrats believed they had a shot of taking control of the Senate, but that didn’t happen.

The result appears to be partly due to the fact that candidates from marijuana-focused parties in the state earned a sizable share of votes that may have otherwise gone to Democrats, perhaps inadvertently hurting the chances of reform passing.

In December, the Minnesota House Select Committee On Racial Justice adopted a report that broadly details race-based disparities in criminal enforcement and recommends a series of policy changes, including marijuana decriminalization and expungements.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Minnesota Marijuana Legalization Bill Clears Fourth House Committee


A bill to legalize marijuana in Minnesota cleared a fourth House committee on Wednesday, bringing it another step closer to a floor vote in the chamber.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) and other lawmakers filed the measure last 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 Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee heard testimony from advocates and industry stakeholders, and members put a number of questions to Winkler. Lawmakers voted 8-5 to advance the legislation.

This comes three weeks after the Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee approved the bill. Previously, it’s moved through the Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee and the Commerce Finance and Policy Committee as well.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the panel approved an amendment that refines the definition of hemp and lays out the process that regulators would follow if they suspect that marijuana products are being distributed in violation of the statute.


“Legalization of adult-use cannabis is coming to Minnesota one time or another,” Winkler said. “The question is not whether we are able to stop the trend. The question is whether we are well-prepared to do this right from the beginning.”

“We’ve heard consistently that a cannabis marketplace is an opportunity for small- and medium-sized Minnesota businesses to be successful, to create jobs and opportunity throughout Minnesota,” he said. “And we want to make sure that people who have been most adversely affected by the war on drugs have an opportunity not only to have criminal records expunged and to have their records cleared, but to have an opportunity to participate in the growth of a new business at the very foundation.”

The legislation next heads to the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee.

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 bill, 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.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Minnesota Marijuana Legalization Bill Will Get House Floor Vote Next Month, Majority Leader Says


A top Minnesota lawmaker says a bill to legalize marijuana that has already cleared four House committees will receive a floor vote in the chamber next month.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), sponsor of the reform legislation, said it will move through its remaining committee stops by the end of April, setting the stage for action in the full chamber in May.

“Minnesotans are ready for cannabis, and we will keep pushing until it gets done,” Winkler told Fox 9.

Winkler, Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) and other lawmakers filed the measure in February. It would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to eight plants, four of which could be mature.

The House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee was the latest panel to advance the bill last week. Before that, the Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee, Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee and the Commerce Finance and Policy Committee approved the proposal.

Its next stop is the Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee, though a hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Still, even if the legislation does make it all the way through the House, it’s expected to face a significant challenge in the Republican-controlled Senate, where lawmakers have signaled that they’re more interested in revising the state’s existing medical cannabis program than enacting legalization of adult use.

After the New York legislature approved a recreational cannabis legalization bill—which the governor promptly signed into law—Winkler said that Minnesota is “falling behind a national movement towards progress.”

“MN has some of the worst criminal justice disparities in the country, and legalizing cannabis & expunging convictions is a first step towards fixing that,” he tweeted.


He also weighed in on news that the Biden administration had fired certain White House staffers who admitted to prior marijuana use as part of their background check process, saying “this is a pointless move in a country where cannabis legalization is a reality in several states. And by the way—Minnesota should be one of them.”


The majority leader’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 legislation, 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.

On-site consumption and cannabis delivery services would be permitted under the bill. And unlike in many legal states, local municipalities would be banned from prohibiting marijuana businesses from operating in their areas.

Retail cannabis sales would be taxed at 10 percent. Part of that revenue would fund a grant program designed to promote economic development and community stability.

The bill calls for the establishment of a seven-person Cannabis Management Board, which would be responsible for regulating the market and issuing cannabis business licenses. It was amended in committee last week to add members to that board who have a social justice background.

People living in low-income neighborhoods and military veterans who lost honorable status due to a cannabis-related offense would be considered social equity applicants eligible for priority licensing.

Gov. Tim Walz (D) is also in favor of ending marijuana prohibition, and in January he called on lawmakers to pursue the reform as a means to boost the economy and promote racial justice. He did not include a request to legalize through his budget proposal, however.

Walz did say in 2019 that he was directing state agencies to prepare to implement reform in anticipation of legalization passing.

Winkler, meanwhile, said in December that if Senate Republicans don’t go along with the policy change legislatively, he said he hopes they will at least let voters decide on cannabis as a 2022 ballot measure.

Heading into the 2020 election, Democrats believed they had a shot of taking control of the Senate, but that didn’t happen.

The result appears to be partly due to the fact that candidates from marijuana-focused parties in the state earned a sizable share of votes that may have otherwise gone to Democrats, perhaps inadvertently hurting the chances of reform passing.

In December, the Minnesota House Select Committee On Racial Justice adopted a report that broadly details race-based disparities in criminal enforcement and recommends a series of policy changes, including marijuana decriminalization and expungements.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Minnesota Marijuana Legalization Bill Sails Through Fifth Committee, With Floor Vote Expected Next Month


A bill to legalize marijuana in Minnesota advanced again on Monday, passing a fifth House committee as it moves closer to floor action.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) and other lawmakers filed the measure in February. 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 Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee approved the bill, which it amended, in a 11-7 vote on Monday.

“This bill, first and foremost, is a recognition of the major racial disparities in how our current drug laws are enforced,” Winkler told the panel prior to the vote. “We have similar cannabis use rates across populations in Minnesota, but we have disproportionate policing and enforcement as applied to African Americans in Minnesota—anywhere from four to 10 times greater arrest rates. We have whole communities that have been adversely affected by the war on drugs.”

The majority leader added that “we have an opportunity to create the kind of new industry that can be a model for not only how to be inclusive and how to repair past wrongs, but also to do so in a way that upholds very high environmental standards.”

Members adopted a number of changes to the proposal. For example, it now stipulates that members of a cannabis advisory council established under the bill could not serve as lobbyists while on the panel and for two years after they end their service.

Other provisions of the amendment stipulate that marijuana products cannot be flavored to taste or smell like anything but the plant itself. Regulators could also adopt rules to “limit or prohibit ingredients in or additives to cannabis or cannabis products.”

Another change lays out rules for marijuana delivery services, including requiring that they verify that a customer is at least 21 years old.

The revised legislation also creates a substance use disorder treatment and prevention grant funded by marijuana tax dollars.

This latest vote comes about three weeks after the House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee passed the legislation. Before that, it’s moved through the Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee, the Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee and the Commerce Finance and Policy Committee.

The bill’s next stop is the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee, which is scheduled to take up the measure on Wednesday.

Winkler recently said that he expects the legislation to go through any remaining panels by the end of April, with a floor vote anticipated in May.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Sixth Minnesota House Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill On Its Path To The Floor


A bill to legalize marijuana in Minnesota is going through a thorough vetting process, with a sixth House committee on Wednesday giving the reform proposal a green light following a hearing.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) and other lawmakers filed the measure in February. 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.

Days after a separate panel approved the legislation with amendments, the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee passed it in a 9-7 vote.

“The purpose of House File 600 is to eliminate the harm that cannabis has in our society,” Winkler said of the bill at the hearing. “The primary harm that cannabis poses in Minnesota is the prohibition and criminal enforcement of cannabis.”

“The goal of House File 600 is to shift in a legal marketplace that is policed and over-policed disproportionately and instead to create a policy of repair, an opportunity for those most adversely affected by the war on drugs,” he said.

The House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee was the last body to approve the bill, on Monday, and members there adopted a number of changes to the proposal. For example, it now stipulates that members of a cannabis advisory council established under the bill could not serve as lobbyists while on the panel and for two years after they end their service.

Before that hearing, the House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee, the Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee, the Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee and the Commerce Finance and Policy Committee each advanced the measure.

Its next stop is the State Government Finance and Elections Committee.

Winkler recently said that he expects the legislation to go through any remaining panels by the end of April, with a floor vote anticipated in May.

Still, even if the legislation does make it all the way through the House, it’s expected to face a significant challenge in the Republican-controlled Senate, where lawmakers have signaled that they’re more interested in revising the state’s existing medical cannabis program than enacting legalization of adult use.

After the New York legislature approved a recreational cannabis legalization bill—which the governor promptly signed into law—Winkler said that Minnesota is “falling behind a national movement towards progress.”

“MN has some of the worst criminal justice disparities in the country, and legalizing cannabis & expunging convictions is a first step towards fixing that,” he tweeted.

The majority leader’s bill as introduced was identical to a proposal he filed last year, with some minor technical changes. Winkler, 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 legislation, 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.

On-site consumption and cannabis delivery services would be permitted under the bill. And unlike in many legal states, local municipalities would be banned from prohibiting marijuana businesses from operating in their areas.

Retail cannabis sales would be taxed at 10 percent. Part of that revenue would fund a grant program designed to promote economic development and community stability.

The bill calls for the establishment of a seven-person Cannabis Management Board, which would be responsible for regulating the market and issuing cannabis business licenses. It was amended in committee month to add members to that board who have a social justice background.

People living in low-income neighborhoods and military veterans who lost honorable status due to a cannabis-related offense would be considered social equity applicants eligible for priority licensing.

Cannabis retails sales would launch on December 31, 2022.

Gov. Tim Walz (D) is also in favor of ending marijuana prohibition, and in January he called on lawmakers to pursue the reform as a means to boost the economy and promote racial justice. He did not include a request to legalize through his budget proposal, however.

Walz did say in 2019 that he was directing state agencies to prepare to implement reform in anticipation of legalization passing.

Winkler, meanwhile, said in December that if Senate Republicans don’t go along with the policy change legislatively, he said he hopes they will at least let voters decide on cannabis as a 2022 ballot measure.

Heading into the 2020 election, Democrats believed they had a shot of taking control of the Senate, but that didn’t happen.

The result appears to be partly due to the fact that candidates from marijuana-focused parties in the state earned a sizable share of votes that may have otherwise gone to Democrats, perhaps inadvertently hurting the chances of reform passing.

In December, the Minnesota House Select Committee On Racial Justice adopted a report that broadly details race-based disparities in criminal enforcement and recommends a series of policy changes, including marijuana decriminalization and expungements
 

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