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In a historic vote on May 13th, the Minnesota House voted to legalize recreational cannabis use. The highly contested vote, which concluded 72-61 in favor of the Bill HF 600, took place late on Thursday after five hours of debate on the House floor. However, experts say the chances of it passing in the Senate are low since the Senate Majority Leader, Republican Paul Gazelka, has made it abundantly clear that he has no plans to take the Measure to the Senate floor for debate. Regardless of what Sen. Gazelka says, it was unlikely that the Measure would pass the Senate by May 17th, which is when the current legislative session would conclude. 

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Measure HF 600: What are the Details? 

Measure HF 600 establishes a regulatory framework for adult-use (recreational use) of cannabis and moves the medical cannabis program under the newly created Cannabis Management Board. The Measure also establishes taxes on adult-use cannabis, which the government will use to create grants to assist individuals entering into the legal cannabis market.

Furthermore, the bill amends criminal penalties and provides for the expungement and resentencing of certain convictions that are voided once cannabis is rescheduled. Below are some of the provisions in Measure HF 600 in detail;

Minnesota’s Cannabis Management Board

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Measure HF 600 establishes the Cannabis Management Board, which consists of nine members. The board is tasked with overseeing the regulation of the production and sale of recreational cannabis, recreational cannabis products, and medical cannabis. The board has the following powers;

  • It has temporary expedited rulemaking authority.
  • It oversees the office of social equity, which administers grants to entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities trying to enter the cannabis industry. 
  • To contract with an outside vendor to establish a statewide monitoring system to track cannabis and cannabis products from seed or immature plants to disposal or sale to a customer.

Minnesota’s Cannabis Advisory Council

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Measure HF 600 establishes an advisory council consisting of individuals with experience and expertise in subjects that are likely to be affected by the legalization of adult-use cannabis. The Measure directs the council to meet monthly or at the call of the chair and gives it the following duties;

  • Reviewing the national cannabis policy 
  • Examining the effectiveness of the state cannabis policy
  • Reviewing developments in information and research about cannabis 
  • Taking public testimony from the various stakeholders 
  • The Measure prohibits members of the advisory council from working as lobbyists while on the council or two years after leaving the council. 

Recreational Use of Cannabis in Minnesota

Minnesota House Votes to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Use

Measure HF 600 also details the legal limitations on the use, possession, and transportation of cannabis and cannabis products. It establishes civil penalties for violations and states that a person age 21 or older may: 

  • Possess up to two ounces in a public place
  • Possess no more than ten pounds of cannabis in a person’s residence 
  • Possess or transport eight grams or less of adult-use cannabis concentrate 
  • Possess or transport edible products infused with a total of 800 mg or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Give away cannabis and cannabis products in an amount that is legal for a person to possess in public (two ounces)
  • Use cannabis and cannabis products in private areas 
  • Cultivate up to eight cannabis plants, of which four or fewer may be mature, flowering plants.

What is perhaps the stand-out prohibition in this bill is the manufacture or sale of cannabis candies like gummies that could be used to market cannabis to children. However, as thorough and inclusive as this bill is, the chances that it will even make it to the floor of the Republican-controlled Senate are slim to none, so it might still be a while before the legal cannabis industry can set up in Minnesota. 

Minnesota House Votes to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Use

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