Minnesota House Ag Committee approves cannabis legalization bill

The measure would make a legal marketplace to grow, buy and sell cannabis with regulations.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KVRR) — The Minnesota House Agriculture Committee is the sixth to approve the state’s cannabis legalization bill.

DFL State Rep. Zack Stephenson of Coon Rapids introduced the House bill last month. It includes traffic safety provisions and an eight percent tax on top of the state’s six and a half percent sales tax.

“Minnesotans are ready for this. Our current laws regarding cannabis are doing more harm than good. Minnesotans deserve the freedom and respect to make their own decisions,” Stephenson said.

Some working in the hemp industry criticizing the language of the bill which could change the definition of hemp.

“The definition in this bill changes the term of hemp which may affect the ability for hemp-based businesses having banking, credit card processing and insurance. It’s important that we keep the definition the same as the 2018 farm bill,” Steven Brown of the Minnesota Cannabis Association said.

The 2018 farm bill listed hemp as a covered commodity under crop insurance. They say they do not want to be directly associated with the cannabis industry where it could change state regulations.

“The bill only allows for cannabinoids to be produced and sold. This may hurt hemp farmers and would limit the marketplace. Also hurts breweries and edible manufacturers by forcing them to produce products in separate facilities. This would outcast 98% of the current manufacturers. Breweries will not be able to sell on premise. This will really hurt them,” Brown said.

Brown says his group is all for legalizing cannabis but are not for the current language that hurts hemp-derived businesses.

Stephenson says it’s a phenomenal opportunity for Minnesota to thrive in the cannabis industry but there’s always room for changes in the bill.

“I don’t want to miss that opportunity. We’re working on language, we will continue to work on language. What’s happening in Minnesota is kind of special around some of these THC infused beverages. We don’t want to mess that up,” Stephenson said.

Governor Tim Walz says he’s ready to sign cannabis legalization into law once it reaches his desk.

Categories: Minnesota News, Politics / Elections