State Prepares Bill That Wipes Clean Criminal History

State Prepares Controversial Bill That Wipes Clean Criminal History

( – The Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) legislators in Minnesota reached a deal on cannabis legislation, combining competing proposals in the House and Senate into a single, more comprehensive piece of legislation.

Tuesday, May 16, marked the conclusion of negotiations between the Minnesota House and Senate on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana for adults, clearing the way for final votes in the session’s waning days.

Although the final votes have yet to be scheduled, Governor Tim Walz has promised to sign the bill into law whenever it reaches his desk.

Rep. Zach Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), a co-author of the House bill, indicated it would still take employees a day or two to write the final bill text as they adjourned. After that, the legislation can be debated and ultimately passed on the floors of the House and Senate.

The new rule makes it easier to have one’s criminal record expunged if they have a prior conviction for a minor cannabis-related misdemeanor.

Recreational marijuana use, possession, and cultivation will become legal on August 1 (once the bill passes), but retail sales at dispensaries will likely not begin for another year.

Possession limitations for cannabis are set at two pounds at home and two ounces in public, and a 10% tax on cannabis products are added on top of existing sales taxes. Other limits include eight grams of cannabis concentrate or 800mg of THC in candies or other consumables.

Misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor possession convictions in Minnesota will be automatically removed. According to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, it will take until August of next year to complete the processing of all automatic expungements. Those convicted of selling marijuana or of other significant but nonviolent marijuana offenses that will no longer be felonies will be able to petition a board to have their records expunged or have a reduction to their sentence.

During talks, local governments were given the right to restrict the number of dispensaries within their jurisdiction and place stricter regulations on their proximity to schools.

Rep. Stephenson warns against taking a puff and then getting behind the wheel. Cannabis laws will be the same as alcohol; you cannot partake and drive. Because there is currently no breath test for cannabis, law enforcement agencies are worried about identifying impaired driving.

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