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Majority Leader Winkler outlines principles for cannabis legislation

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Majority Leader Winkler outlines principles for cannabis legislation

St. Paul, Minnesota — Today, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL - Golden Valley) unveiled the principles that will guide legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis. The principles originate from 15 Be Heard on Cannabis events Rep. Winkler and legislators held around the state to encourage Minnesotans to join the conversation on how to legalize and regulate cannabis.

We heard from Minnesotans that our current cannabis laws are doing more harm than good,” said Majority Leader Winkler. “By creating a regulatory framework we can address the harms caused by cannabis and establish a more sensible set of laws to improve our health care and criminal justice systems and ensure better outcomes for communities.”

The following principles are a reflection of the views and concerns Minnesotans shared with legislators:

Regulated Cannabis Marketplace 

  • Transparent governance structure that allows for equitable, safe, and effective administration of cannabis law
  • Moving from illicit to legal market
  • Establish a market that creates opportunities for inclusive economic growth with an emphasis on communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis laws and incorporate social equity
  • Promote a Minnesota-grown industry that has safeguards in place to prevent “big marijuana” from taking over the marketplace
  • Safety for individuals, communities, and the environment

Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform 

  • Do the least possible harm
  • Criminalization is a last resort
  • Address past harms
  • Understandability and adaptability 
  • Racial equity

Public Health and Youth Access Prevention 

  • Improve public health and safety
  • Prevent youth access through evidence-based education and regulation
  • Improve and maintain a clear role for the Medical Cannabis Program

Economic Development and Workforce Standards

  • Provide economic opportunity and restorative justice for communities in Minnesota most harmed by the prohibition of cannabis
  • Protect Minnesota-owned small business owners and employees by supporting safe, secure, and good paying jobs
  • Develop fair and reasonable workplace standards
  • Create a cannabis industry in Minnesota that provides for long term access and promotes self-sustainability

Legalizing cannabis for adult use will offer broad benefits across the state,” said Assistant Senate Minority Leader Jeff Hayden. “This legislation will help address racial disparities in our criminal justice system, restrain a widespread illegal market, and help veterans who deserve access to affordable care to treat PTSD and chronic pain without turning to opioids.” 

We need to create a responsible regulatory framework and get it right. If any state can do this right, Minnesota can,” added Winkler. 

Legislation to legalize cannabis for adult use will be introduced early in the 2020 Legislative Session, which begins February 11.