Several Minnesota lawmakers have sponsored a bill submitted this week that would legalize a comprehensive recreational marijuana program in the state for adults 21 years old and up to possess, grow and purchase cannabis. The state would license cannabis businesses and include testing labs to protect consumers. Lawmakers are acknowledging that the prohibition of cannabis today looks similar to the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920's - it creates for crime and danger for people than a legal regulated system and it simply doesn't work. Officials estimate Minnesota's potential tax revenue from legal cannabis between $200-$300 million, of which $10 million would go towards impoverished communities who have been negatively impacted by prohibition. Tax revenue would also be used to provide mental health services, and combat impaired driving and youth drug education.
“Our focus in drafting legislation to end the prohibition of cannabis in Minnesota is to ensure we have a responsible regulatory model for consumer access that still provides for public health, safety and welfare,” he continued. “The time has come for us to have this debate.”