Minnesota cannabis bill could see new restrictions

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(ABC 6 News) – Some big changes could be coming to Minnesota’s adult-use cannabis bill making its way through the state capitol. Two different versions of the bill, one in the House and one in the Senate, both had hearings Tuesday.

Local Hemp Farmer and owner of Willow’s Keep Farm, Ted Galaty was in St. Paul talking to the Senate State and Local Government committee. Galaty says he makes weekly trips to the capitol to educate lawmakers about hemp.

“It’s a plant that can feed you, it can clothe you, it can shelter you, and it can heal you. And that’s what I want people to understand. There’s no other plant that can do that,” Galaty said.

Following a lengthy hearing, the committee adopted a 142 page amendment creating distinctions between the industrial hemp industry and the recreational marijuana industry. Galaty argues that because hemp products have low concentrations of THC, regulations should be different than high-inducing cannabis.

“If they ram this bill through, without thinking about these local hemp farmers, we’re gonna suffer,” he explained.

The amendement also gives local governments more control over sellers’ licenses and registrations.

In the House Transportation Finance committee Tuesday, lawmakers discussed a big sticking point for both opponents and some supporters of legalization. Right now, the bill allows adults to have 5 pounds of cannabis at home. An amendment to be voted on in a future committee, would bring that number down to 1.5 pounds.

“Five pounds of cannabis is enormous. So enormous that the state patrol can’t even stand to look at it without confiscating it,” said Representative Nolan West (R, Blaine).

The bill’s author, Representative Zack Stephenson (DFL, Coon Rapids), said Tuesday he plans on approving the change.

“I will commit to you publicly now that I will accept this amendment when offered in the commerce committee and encourage a yes vote on it in the commerce committee,” Stephenson said in committee.

Both bills still have multiple committee stops before making their way to the House and Senate floors.