During their first committee meeting last week, bicameral and bipartisan legislators ironed out some differences they had on cannabis legalization measures that were approved in both chambers in April. The members adopted some amendments on temporary regulations for hemp-derived CBD products and how the measures defined marijuana.
Senate bill SF 73 was sponsored by Senator Lindsey Port while the House version, HF 100, was sponsored by Representative Zack Stephenson. Stephenson stated that he and Port were focused on finishing the job, noting that Minnesota’s current drug laws were doing more harm than good.
The bills were identical in the beginning before being amended in the respective chambers during the committee process. Following approval of the bills, bipartisan lawmakers were appointed as negotiators to resolve any differences and reach an agreement.
The main components of both legislations include the following:
- Individuals aged 21 years and older will be allowed to buy and possess no more than two ounces of marijuana in public. This is in addition to being permitted to grow up to eight plants at home.
- Gifting up to two ounces of cannabis without remuneration between of age individuals will also be allowed.
- The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension would be in charge of identifying individuals eligible for relief and automatically process their expungements.
- Marijuana delivery services and on-site consumption permits would be permitted and approved under the resolutions.
- Some of the taxes would be allocated toward grants to support farmers and programs to treat substance misuse.
Currently, the key differences in both bills include limits on marijuana possession and tax rates for marijuana along with local control. With regard to taxes, HF 100 imposes an 8% tax on marijuana sales while SF 73 calls for a 10% tax to be levied on cannabis sales. Regarding possession, SF 73 proposes to allow individuals to possess up to two pounds of cannabis in public and up to five pounds of self-cultivated marijuana at home. On the other hand, HF 100 seeks to permit individuals to possess up to 1.5 pounds in a private dwelling.
Given that the legislative session is set to end soon, the negotiators will need to speed up this harmonization process. Governor Tim Walz has called on supporters to join the administration and legislators in their push to legalize cannabis in this session. In January, he sent out an email blast encouraging individuals to sign a petition supporting the reform. Earlier this year, the governor also released a budget request that included proposed funding for cannabis record expungement and implementation of cannabis legalization.
As the goings-on in Minnesota indicate, medical and recreational marijuana have to go through various legislative processes in order to be legalized at state level. The process is different for companies such as IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC), which focus on making cannabis-based medicines. In this case, the FDA has a clear process through which those formulations have to be taken before they can be approved and licensed for use in the healthcare system.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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