Tomorrow is the start of the 2020 legislative session in Minnesota and it's going to be a banner year to be an advocate.
In Minnesota, like most other states, we have what's called a part-time legislature (although, as Ballotopedia points out, this still means it's about 74% of a full-time job) which means the legislature only convenes for part of the year. Minnesota has a two-year cycle in which one year is a budget year (last year) and the next year is typically a bonding year (this year). The former is longer and the latter is shorter -- which means this year will be a sprint.
For those of us working in the cannabis space, there will be a lot packed into a very short timeline:
First, in the legalization space, conversation will continue around introducing legislation that moves Minnesota toward responsible legalization and regulation of adult-use marijuana. Although we may still face a stalemate in the Senate, there's great momentum coming from the House and Majority Leader Winkler who has toured the state talking with Minnesotans about legalization. He recently said of his work: “We heard from Minnesotans that our current cannabis laws are doing more harm than good,” said Majority Leader Winkler. “By creating a regulatory framework we can address the harms caused by cannabis and establish a more sensible set of laws to improve our health care and criminal justice systems and ensure better outcomes for communities.”
Second, in the hemp space, there will be continued discussion of how we can strengthen our state's hemp program and provide clarity and guidance for consumers and businesses alike. As you may have seen over the past several months, there has been considerable issue with the lack of consistent laws governing the hemp growing, transporting, processing, and product space. The Minnesota Hemp Association has taken on several issues in this space, most recently responding to the USDA's interim final rule on hemp production with its extensive concerns.
>> Join us for the MN Hemp Association's lobby day on March 5 to help tell legislators that we need to support this thriving industry. More info here. Get an in-depth preview of hemp issues at the legislature at our Cannabusinenss Strategy Session on Feb. 21. More info here.
There's plenty of work to be done during the 2020 session and plenty of opportunities to be a part of it! Join us in advocating for a better cannabis future in Minnesota!