Bipartisan Bill on Recreational Marijuana Unlikely to Pass

(AP/KNSI) - A Minnesota Senate committee has voted to kill a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, making it unlikely that the legislation will pass this year.

Senator Melisa Franzen wrote the bipartisan bill which would legalize recreational marijuana use for adults of 21 years and older.

The GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-3 along party lines to reject the bill.

Ten states and the District of Columbia allow recreational marijuana. Minnesota allows for medical marijuana under strict rules but does not permit recreational use.

This bill would primarily focus on the regulatory framework to provide a responsible oversight of recreational use of cannabis.

"I believe the state has both a public health and safety interest in regulating and educating Minnesotans on the risk of the recreational use of cannabis. Regulating cannabis and providing the necessary oversight and legal framework moving forward will reduce not increase its access to youth," says Franzen.

This bill seeks to responsibly regulate and address all aspects of cannabis use by prohibiting the usage and selling to minors under 21, upholding current law prohibiting impaired driving, protect employer rights to keep the workplace safe, protect landlord rights to prevent smoking on their property and establishing rules on the operation of dispensaries.

The revenue from taxation would be distributed to mental health services, training for police and public health education for teens about the potential health consequences of cannabis use.

The revenue would also be used to fund research on mental health impacts and the risk factors for addiction, as well as study the effects of cannabis related to potency levels and dosage for safe driving.

They also want to move to decriminalize and expunge past nonviolent offenses.

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