Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill Tuesday legalizing recreational cannabis use for adults, making the Gopher State the 23rd in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana.
The bill, which will come into effect this summer, will also offer expungement for low-level cannabis-related offenses. Additionally, the bill will establish a state Office of Cannabis Management which will be tasked with regulating the industry.
Joining Walz at the bill’s signing was former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, a staunch advocate for cannabis legalization who ran the Land of 10,000 Lakes from 1999 to 2003. “Prohibition will now end, it’s (been) going on longer than I’ve been alive, the prohibition of a plant made by God,” the former Navy SEAL said, KARE 11 reported. “It’s very wonderful to see a dream of yours over 20 years ago finally [happen] today and I’m still alive to see it.”
So excited to be joining @GovTimWalz today to finally legalize recreational cannabis in Minnesota. Thank you to the Gov. and his staff for allowing me to witness first hand this historic moment in MN history.
— Jesse Ventura (@GovJVentura) May 30, 2023
The final version of the bill passed by a slim margin in the Minnesota Senate, getting approved by a party line vote of 34-32, with none of the state’s Senate Republicans voting for it. Five of Minnesota’s House Republicans crossed party lines to approve the measure, according to KARE. Walz lauded the signing as a democratic achievement saying, “This was an exercise in democracy. I think we had 30 plus hearings.”
The bill was passed as part of a landmark session in which 60 bills were put on Walz’s desk and a number of priorities for the state’s Democratic Party were addressed, KARE 11 reported. (RELATED: ‘Bonkers’: Minnesota Finishes Legislative Session With Sweeping Left-Wing Reforms)
The legalization bill ends a “prohibition,” according to the state’s lawmakers, including chief author of the bill Sen. Lindsey Port who said, “The prohibition on cannabis has had tremendously negative impacts on the lives of Minnesotans, especially our communities of color, and it is time for us to change course, create a system that works for adult-use cannabis, and create a regulated market for Minnesota,” KARE 11 reported.
Some Republicans in the state raised concerns that the bill would impact mental health and criminal trends negatively. “We’re opening a door that is going to be very difficult to close, and it’s going to be very difficult to put the genie back on the bottle once this occurs,” Republican Sen. Warren Limmer said, according to the outlet.
The bill will allow adults aged 21 and over to possess up to two pounds of cannabis flower in their homes and carry up to two ounces of flower, eight grams of concentrate, or 800 milligrams of edible cannabis products, KARE 11 reported.