A marijuana legalization bill cleared another Minnesota Senate committee on Wednesday, bringing the total number of panels in the chamber to advance the legislation so far this session to seven.
The Human Services Committee passed the measure from Sen. Lindsey Port (D) in a voice vote.
“This allows adults to safely and responsibly use cannabis,” Sen. Clare Oumou Verbeten (D), who presented the bill on behalf of Port, told committee members. “It creates a regulated marketplace that’s much safer than our current underground illicit marketplace.”
“Cannabis prohibition has caused immense harm in our communities, and that’s particularly when it comes to the criminal justice system,” she said. “Black Minnesotans and white Minnesotans consume cannabis at very similar rates, yet Black Minnesotans are five times more likely to be arrested for possessing cannabis. The expungement that we see in this bill is really important to me, because if we’re going to go forward with legalizing cannabis, we really have a responsibility to clear those records.”
With majorities in both the House and Senate and control over the governorship this session, Democratic-Farmer-Labor party officials are confident that legalization will be enacted in short order following the extensive committee consideration.
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