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RELEASE: Rep. Jess Hanson Votes For, House Passes Adult-Use Cannabis

Thursday, May 18, 2023

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved the conference committee report for the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Minnesota. Rep. Jess Hanson (DFL – Burnsville) co-authored and voted for the bill, and it passed on a bipartisan vote of 73-57.

“Prohibition is the problem in Minnesota, not cannabis,” said Rep. Hanson. “Prohibition has caused more harm than good, and the time has come to end this outdated and ineffective policy. Not only has the failed system of prohibition failed to take cannabis off the streets or out of the hands of kids, but it has also disproportionately targeted and criminalized Black and Brown Minnesotans who use cannabis at the same rates as their white neighbors. The bill is targeted to ensure those who were harmed the most by prohibition have the opportunity to participate in the legal market.”

This legislation provides for automatic expungement of prior petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor marijuana convictions and creates a Cannabis Expungement Board to review other cannabis convictions and determine whether a person is eligible for expungement.

This legislation directs the Department of Employment and Economic Development to give grants to nonprofit corporations to subsidize startup loans to new cannabis microbusinesses and help cannabis businesses start and train employees.

“I’m proud of the communities that have worked on this issue for decades,” said Rep. Hanson. “Starting as a legalization advocate and now an elected member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, I know the amount of time and energy spent to organize and educate our government around the harms of prohibition and the benefits of legalization. As we move forward, we must stay involved with our government to ensure this is a responsible market accountable to the needs of small businesses and consumers. I’m thankful for this bill, and I look forward to continuing the work.” 

After the Senate takes action on the conference committee report, Governor Walz has indicated he will sign the bill. Video of the floor session will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube Channel.