DFL leader reveals plan for marijuana legalization in Minnesota

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler aims to introduce it early in the 2020 session.
Publish date:

We're a week away from the start of the 2020 legislative session in Minnesota, and a DFL leader says he intends to propose a marijuana legalization bill early on.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D-Golden Valley) revealed on Tuesday the "principles" that will guide the legislation for the legalization of cannabis use by adults.

It's based on the findings and feedback at 15 Be Heard on Cannabis events held by Winkler and other lawmakers around the state in recent months.

The principles revealed by Winkler on Tuesday looks at how the cannabis marketplace would be regulated, how it would be handled at the criminal and legal level, what opportunities there would be economically, and what the requirements would be on the health and education side.

Among the tenets set out by Rep. Winkler is establishing the cannabis market in a way that "creates opportunities for inclusive economic growth with an emphasis on communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis laws," such as the African-American population.

Related to that is addressing the past harms created by the state's current cannabis laws, which comes after other states that legalized the drug included provisions allowing for prior marijuana offenses to be expunged from individuals' criminal records.

The DFL also wants the marijuana marketplace to be, forgive the expression, homegrown, in an attempt to prevent "big marijuana from taking over the marketplace."

The plan would also be to increase public health and safety education about the drug, and to take steps to prevent underage youth from accessing the drug.

The big question will be whether such a law can pass.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Gov. Tim Walz has indicated he would be willing to sign a marijuana legalization bill, but while it could make it through the DFL-controlled House, the GOP-controlled Senate is a different matter.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said before last year's session he didn't consider marijuana legalization a priority, before linking it to "mental health problems, driving accidents, and impaired teen brain development."

He also told MPR News in October that he didn't expect the Senate would pass such legislation in 2020 either.

There is a possibility next year in the event that the DFL flips the Senate and retains the House in this November's elections, which could potentially pave the way for legalization to start in 2022.

Next Up

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day 2020?

Most services will not be running on Thursday and unlike most years, many stores will be closed, too.


How a turkey's brush with celebrity in Bloomington came to a tragic end

DNR: if you care about wild animals, stop feeding them

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers/Badgers football game canceled due to COVID-19 issues

The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will not take place for the first time since 1906.

coronavirus, Iowa

MN health officials don't think downside of COVID-19 peak has arrived

We could be in a trough between a series of waves, Jan Malcolm said.

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.


Husband and wife sentenced for fraud scheme through their drywall firm

The Annandale pair bilked an insurance company out of more than $300,000.


4 pedestrians suffer life-threatening injuries after being struck by vehicle

Two vehicles crashed into a car that was on the side of the road after striking a deer.

Marcus Carr

Gophers season preview: New lineup, deeper bench, more questions

Mathew Goldstein takes a deep dive into the murky waters of the college hoops season.


Photos: ViV!R, Minneapolis' new Mexican cafe and shop, is now open

The team behind the acclaimed Popol Vuh have opened the cafe in the same space.


At Wiscoy Township's sole precinct, election judges ditched masks

Voter and Wiscoy resident Kaitlyn O'Connor took a photo of the judges after asking them to wear masks, she said



Minnesota legislative leader introduces marijuana legalization bill

The bill would allow adults age 21 and older to possess and consume cannabis.

Marijuana legalization bills are officially proposed in Minnesota

Companion bills have been put forward in the House and the Senate.

Could Minnesota be next in line for legal marijuana?

Michigan voted for it, North Dakota against it, could Minnesota be asked next?

Marijuana legalization bill fails in Senate committee

Today's vote is a blow to Minnesota's "legalize recreational pot" movement.


Sen. Tina Smith introduces federal bill to legalize marijuana

The legislation would legalize and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol and tobacco.

adam weeks

MN GOPers facing new claims they recruited legal pot candidates to run in swing races

Republicans have allegedly been encouraging people to run as legal marijuana candidates to take votes away from Democrats.

Screen Shot 2020-04-08 at 9.05.59 AM

House Majority Leader sorry for giving the finger during insulin presser

Rep. Ryan Winkler said he was frustrated over Republicans' comments about a bipartisan insulin affordability deal.

DFL selects legislative leaders in Minn. Senate, House

Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, was selected as the new Senate Majority Leader after a closed meeting Thursday. As expected, Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, was picked as House Majority Leader.