Governor Tim Walz proposed legalizing marijuana as part of a supplemental budget plan released by his office.
Minnesota enters the 2022 Legislative Session with a projected $7.7 billion budget surplus for 2022/2023. Walz’s overall proposal focuses on health and safety, funding local law enforcement and first responders, and putting a stop to violent crime, according to an overview of the plan from Walz and Lt Gov Peggy Flanagan.
The governor says Minnesota needs modernized solutions to harness the benefits of legalizing cannabis, including expanding the economy, creating jobs, and allowing law enforcement to focus on violent crime.
Walz has previously stated that he would sign a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, but this is the first time he’s actually proposing the idea. In 2021, the DFL-controlled state house passed a legalization bill, but it went nowhere in the GOP-controlled Senate.
The proposal would include more than $25 million to create a Cannabis Management Office that would be responsible for implementing the framework for regulations for adult and medicinal use. The funding would also go towards expunging non-violent offenses involving marijuana and supply grant money for those looking to enter the legal cannabis market.