Image courtesy Minnesota House of Representatives.

State Senator Gary Dahms, of Redwood Falls, has expressed concerns about the Senate Democrats’ bill to legalize recreational marijuana. Major concerns raised include: 

  • Insufficient infrastructure currently in place to regulate marijuana; 
  • Law enforcement officers’ concerns, many of which involve driving while impaired.
  • Children’s access to drugs and potential intoxication and overdose
  • The impact this legislation would have on medical cannabis manufacturers, as their licenses would  expire on July 1, 2024. 

On Thursday, Feb. 9, the Senate Democrats’ bill to legalize recreational marijuana (Senate File 73) in Minnesota passed out of the Senate Committee on Environment, Climate, and Legacy  along party-line votes. This is just one of the 18 committee stops that the legislation must pass before it  goes to the Senate floor, and next, it will move to the Senate Transportation Committee. 

Under this legislation, an adult over the age of 21 may use, possess, or transport cannabis and  paraphernalia. This bill would also create the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Advisory  Council. These organizations would oversee the state’s production and sale of cannabis flowers, cannabinoid  products, and hemp-derived consumer products as well as the medical cannabis program. 

Dahms said, “The are many glaring issues with the Democrats’ proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Minnesota. This legislation is far too broad, and its language leads to  countless questions that need to be answered.” 

To address these concerns, Senate Republicans have offered several amendments to ensure important  safety regulations are in place. Democrats, however, continue to reject all Republican proposals. 

“A common theme of this session is Democrat legislation lacking an accurate fiscal note, and this same  pattern endures with their marijuana legislation. How can we create a large new agency to oversee  regulation without knowing the additional costs this will have on Minnesotans? As this legislation advances,  I hope to see the folks carrying this bill back up a little and see the flaws,” Senator Dahms concluded.