Minnesota Cannabis Legalization

The push to legalize cannabis for adult use in Minnesota gained a great deal of momentum when the Minnesota House of Representatives voted in favor of legalization. Now the marijuana legalization effort will head to the Minnesota State Senate, where it will probably face an uphill battle. Could recreational marijuana soon be legal in Minnesota? And what would this mean for large cannabis operators who are looking to expand their operations into new states? Keep reading this blog to find out.

New Law Would Make It Legal to Possess Cannabis in Minnesota

In May, a cannabis legalization measure came up for vote in the Minnesota House. Since that part of the state legislature is divided almost evenly along party lines – with a slight majority of Democrats over Republicans – the vote was expectedly close. Ultimately, the House voted 72-61 to pass the measure, representing a major step forward for legalization efforts in the state.

The proposed law would allow Minnesota residents over the age of 21 to possess as much as two (2) ounces of cannabis outside their homes. This would effectively eliminate the prosecution of most misdemeanor marijuana possession cases since the vast majority of these cases tend to involve the possession of a small amount of cannabis. Additionally, the proposed legislation would allow Minnesotans to have as much as 10 pounds of marijuana inside their homes. Importantly, however, the law would still not make it legal to grow, cultivate, or manufacture large amounts of cannabis without a state-issued license to do so.

What Is the Future of Marijuana Legalization in Minnesota?

States like Virginia and New York have legalized adult-use cannabis since the 2020 election. Could Minnesota be next? Now that the Minnesota House has expressed its support for adult-use cannabis legalization, the bill moves to the state Senate. However, that is likely where the measure will die. That’s because there is a clear GOP majority in the Senate, and Republican lawmakers have historically opposed efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Prior to voting on the legislation, the House held a dozen hearings to discuss and shape the proposed law. By contrast, the Senate called for exactly zero hearings on cannabis legalization before ending its session on May 10. The lack of a debate on the Minnesota Senate floor certainly does not bode well for the cannabis legalization bill in later sessions since Republicans would need to call for a vote for the measure to even have a chance of becoming law.

What Are the Economic Benefits of Cannabis Legalization?

The hope among supporters of cannabis legalization efforts in Minnesota is that those currently objecting to the proposed law will eventually see the benefits of allowing adult-use cannabis sales. One of these benefits is economic: states where cannabis has been legalized for both recreational and medical use have generated billions of dollars in annual tax revenues. With that in mind, lawmakers who drafted the latest version of Minnesota’s cannabis legalization measure included provisions that would establish a Cannabis Management Board to implement, oversee, and enforce the new regulations. This would include oversight of tax revenues from the legal sale of marijuana in licensed dispensaries.

The author of the bill, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, said that now is the time to change outdated laws criminalizing possession and use of marijuana. Winkler added that the legislation approved in the House would “right the wrongs of the criminal prohibition of cannabis that has failed Minnesota.”

Contact Scythian Real Estate for Information on Cannabis Sale-Leaseback Transactions

Scythian Real Estate is a privately held cannabis real estate fund that works with some of the most sophisticated cannabis operators in the United States. Scythian provides capital to cannabis companies through sale-leaseback deals involving properties used for retail dispensaries. If you are a cannabis operator looking to expand into new markets, or if you are interested in securing financing for existing operations, email Scythian today.


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