Minnesota Legislature Set to Debate Cannabis in Next Legislative Session

Many in the state senate, however, have not been open to legalization. Some Republicans say that would jeopardize public safety.

“It’s well established – public safety is going to go down. We have no way to do a roadside check. We have no way for a trucking company to do a check to make sure that drivers can go out during the day,” Rep. Paul Novotny (R-Elk River) said during a House debate.

Some believe legalizing marijuana will put it into the hands of young people. House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said the bill recently passed in the House provides for tougher regulations.

“Prohibition causes more problems than cannabis itself. We use a criminal justice system to enforce cannabis laws, and most people think it should be legal,” Winkler said.

Real hemp growers in our region are more concerned about the leveling of the playing field between state-licensed medical marijuana suppliers and small businesses that sell CBD.

“Why are they allowed to sell over-the-counter hemp products, CBD products, even though local hemp growers are getting a stop and disclaimer for similar or identical products?” Jeff Brinkman, president of Superior Cannabis Company, said.

Lawmakers are aware of the problem

“We shouldn’t have a situation where Minnesota companies can’t produce a product that’s being sold in Minnesota right now,” Winkler said.

Small cannabis growers say the state must take action to protect Minnesota businesses.

“We don’t want to wait for the supply chain to come from afar. We always have to do this stuff here, locally. Because, you know what, that’s what’s going to build our communities. That’s what It’s going to build our families. It’s going to build our state,” said Tom Cotter, vice president of Superior Cannabis Company.

Winkler says that while regulating CBD is a separate issue from legalizing marijuana, the legislature still plans to discuss how to resolve the issue in 2022.