Lawmakers in the Minnesota Senate blocked a vote on an adult-use cannabis legalization bill May 18 when they voted against a procedural motion that would have pulled the legislation from committee and brought it to the floor for a vote, according to the Duluth News Tribune.
Senate Democrats led the push to bring the legislation to the floor, arguing that the House passed the bill, but it had not yet received a hearing in the Senate, the news outlet reported.
The Republican-led Senate then voted, 33-31, against the motion to take up the legislation, according to the Duluth News Tribune.
“Minnesotans want to have this conversation about legalization of cannabis, and they want to see us move ahead,” the bill’s author, Senate Majority Leader Melisa López Franzen, DFL-Edina, told the news outlet. “We all know that legalizing cannabis will have economic benefits, but just as importantly, we need to address the disparities in the criminal justice system around cannabis.”
While Minnesota currently has a medical cannabis program, Republicans voiced concerns about broader legalization.
“I can’t believe we’re even talking about that,” Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said on the floor, according to the Duluth News Tribune. “This is not helping police. If it’s voted in, police are going to have a little more security because they’re going to be cleaning up a lot of accidents on our highways."