According to reporting from CBS Minnesota, the Minnesota recreational marijuana legalization bill continues to make progress in our state capital of Saint Paul. If passed into law, the reform legislation would allow for the adult (21+) use of recreational marijuana and would create a system to expunge many prior marijuana-related convictions. Here, our Mankato drug crimes defense lawyers explain what the bill would do, how it would affect state/federal law, and what has to happen next.
Proposal: Legalize Adult-Use of Recreational Marijuana, Expunge Prior Convictions
As of the spring of 2021, 15 U.S. states have approved the recreational use of marijuana at the state-level. The bill making its way through the Minnesota House of Representatives seeks to make our state the 16th. If signed into law in its current form, the Minnesota marijuana reform bill would do the following three things:
- It would allow adults (21+) to possess and use marijuana and cannabis-related products for recreational purposes;
- It would create a highly regulated system to oversee the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana and cannabis-related products in the state; and
- It would allow people who have been previously convicted of misdemeanor marijuana offenses to seek an expungement for those crimes.
Expungement is a court-supervised process whereby a criminal record is officially sealed and essentially erased in the eyes of state law. In other words, the bill would let people clean up their records of misdemeanor marijuana offenses.
Note: Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. While the federal government has largely taken a “hands-off” approach in the states that have legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana use, it is important to remain aware of federal law.
Some Hurdles Still Must be Cleared Before the Bill Becomes Law
In late March of 2021, the Minnesota recreational marijuana reform bill cleared a clear hurdle in the state House of Representatives. It passed out of the agricultural committee by an eight to five vote. By doing so, it now heads to another key committee. The bill still has a number of different obstacles that it must pass before it can become state law. At this point, the outcome is not certain.
That being said, the legislation has some powerful supporters. Most notably, the bill was authored by Democratic House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. It has also received public support from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. However, the Minnesota Senate—which is controlled by a Republican majority—would have to approve the bill before it could get to the governor’s desk.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Drug Crimes Defense Attorney in Minnesota
At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota drug crimes defense lawyers provide aggressive representation. If you or your family member is facing drug crimes charges, we are more than ready to help. Contact our criminal defense team at 507-625-5000 for your strictly confidential case evaluation. We defend drug charges in Mankato and throughout the surrounding region in Southern Minnesota, including in Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties.