St. Paul – Deputy Minority Leader, State Rep. Jon Applebaum (DFL – Minnetonka) today announced plans to introduce a bill to legalize the personal, recreational use of marijuana in the state of Minnesota. Under the legislation, the state would regulate marijuana in a similar fashion to alcohol, with purchase, possession, and use only permitted by those aged 21 or older. Currently, eight states and Washington, D.C. have approved measures legalizing marijuana in such a manner.
“The world is changing, and Minnesotans are rightfully developing different attitudes on marijuana,” Rep. Applebaum said. “Other states’ successes, along with the failed prohibition attempts of others, have validated the need for a statewide conversation on legalizing the personal, recreational use of marijuana.”
“Ultimately, I envision a billion dollar ‘Made in Minnesota’ marijuana economy, where the products are grown by Minnesota farmers, distributed by Minnesota companies, and sold by Minnesota small business owners," he added. "Ideally, all tax proceeds would be directed towards funding Minnesota’s public schools and would result in lower taxes for Minnesota families.”
Rep. Applebaum’s legislation would allow Minnesotans to use, possess or purchase up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use. It also lays out a framework for the licensure and regulation of its cultivation, harvesting, processing and retail sale, which would begin in 2019. Minnesotans would also be permitted to grow up to six marijuana plants at a time, with three or fewer being mature. Use of marijuana in public places, as well as operating a motor vehicle under its influence, would remain illegal.
“We’re working to keep Minnesota regionally competitive on many fronts, and legalizing marijuana is an issue that can help us move forward,” Rep. Applebaum said. “Aside from its proven, significant economic benefits, safely legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana will improve our criminal justice system by allowing law enforcement officials to spend more time and resources addressing serious crimes, and will promote individual freedom and liberty for Minnesotans to consume an objectively non-dangerous product.”