Is Recreational Weed Legal in Minnesota? House Passes Marijuana Bill

The Minnesota House of Representatives approved a bill on Thursday that would legalize marijuana for recreational use, but the legislation faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled state Senate.

Minnesota lawmakers backed the amended bill in a 72-61 vote. The legislation would limit the use of cannabis to those aged 21 and older, while also wiping the criminal records of people who previously committed minor cannabis-related drug offenses.

Regulatory boards and advisory councils would be created, product standards would be introduced and restrictions would be placed on cannabis advertising. Taxation on marijuana product sales would also be put in place.

"We've come to this historic moment because of everyone who made their voices heard," House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL) tweeted. "We face an uphill battle in the state Senate, but we're going to keep pushing to #LegalizeMN and pass this critical criminal justice reform."

Under limits set out in the bill, Minnesotans would be able to possess 10 pounds of cannabis in their homes, and as much as two ounces in a public space. Individuals would also be able to transport eight grams of the drug or less.

The plans don't sit well with Republicans. The Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R) told reporters that the bill has "no chance" of passing the upper chamber, and added that it will go "up in smoke," according to Fox 9.

The Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt told the Star Tribune that lawmakers are wasting their time on a marijuana bill that has "no chance of becoming law" with just a few days left in the state legislative session.

Newsweek contacted the Minnesota Republican caucus for further comment.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last December that would have decriminalized marijuana use at the federal level, but the package later died in the Senate. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said last month he expected to introduce a legalization bill in "a few weeks."

A Pew Research poll released last month found that 60 percent of Americans backed recreational cannabis legalization, while a further 31 percent backed legalization for medical use only. Eight percent of respondents said use of the drug should remain a criminal offense.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis use in the U.S. so far, and a majority of states now allow medical use of the drug.

Cannabis plant marijuana
A hemp extract processing and distribution plant in Binghamton, New York. The Minnesota House has moved to legalize the use of cannabis. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images