After advancing through 13 committees and narrowly winning a 34-33 vote, Minnesota’s State Senate finally approved a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis on April 28th. But before it reaches the desk of Governor Tom Walz (who has pledged to sign it), the bill with have to move to a conference with the State House to reconcile differences with a companion reform measure passed three days prior. With the session ending on May 22nd, the clock is running for lawmakers to get the final bill in front of the governor. Here’s what sets the two versions apart:
- Local Autonomy
The Senate would grant localities more freedom to regulate trade within their borders, including the authority to restrict the number of cannabis retailers, enforce zoning requirements, and impose registration fees. The House bill only allows cities to pass time, place, and manner restrictions.
Under the Senate’s bill, eligible adults could possess up to five pounds from home cultivation, plus another two pounds purchased elsewhere. The House’s version, on the other hand, only allows for up to 1.5 pounds all-in.
- Tax Rates
The Senate’s bill sets a 10% tax with 25% going to local oversight needs, while the House would impose an 8% tax on cannabis products, and allow for adjustment as the industry matures.
- Past Offenses
Under the Senate’s bill, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension would begin the process to expunge misdemeanor records in 2025. Under the House’s version of the bill, automatic clearing of records would start almost immediately.
- Public Nuisance
Can’t stand the smell of weed? Root for the Senate. Their bill blanketly labels the use of any cannabis flower “which is injurious to health, indecent or offensive to the senses” a nuisance. It also allows anyone “whose personal enjoyment is lessened by a nuisance” to bring legal action.