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Senate Media Services

Capitol Report: Evaluating the 2023 Legislative Session / Providing Environmental Stewardship / Legalizing Recreational Cannabis

Governor Tim Walz and DFL leaders hold a ceremonial bill signing celebrating the passage of a new two-year state budget. Plus, Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson joins Capitol Report moderator Shannon Loehrke to offer his perspective on the new budget.

Representative Rick Hansen, Chair of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, called the committee’s budget bill “the most significant environment and climate bill in Minnesota history, both in terms of its investment and its reforms.” He joins Shannon to talk about funding for natural resources and provisions to alleviate chronic wasting disease, stop invasive carp and address PFAS contamination.

Also in the program, highlights from the bill signing to legalize recreational adult-use cannabis. Plus, remarks from a press conference on the last night of session that changed the Nurses at the Bedside Act to the Nurse and Patient Safety Act, an agreement intended to improve working conditions for nurses while eliminating a provision that would have ensured nurse input in hospital staffing levels.

Bill Legalizing Recreational Use of Cannabis Signed into Law

Beginning August 1, Minnesota residents will be able to legally use and possess marijuana without facing a criminal charge. At a State Capitol ceremony Tuesday, May 30, Governor Tim Walz signed into law the bill legalizing adult-use cannabis.

An Office of Cannabis Management will be established to regulate the industry, and a ten percent tax will be charged on recreational cannabis sales. The new law will allow sales for adult-use cannabis beginning in early 2025. Grants are provided for cannabis growers, along with the funding of substance abuse treatment and prevention.

The new also creates a process for the expungement of non-violent marijuana possession convictions.

Governor Tim Walz, DFL Leaders Discuss the State's New Budget

Governor Tim Walz and legislative leaders took questions from the Capitol press corps Wednesday, May 24, shortly after a budget signing ceremony on the Capitol steps. In particular, reporters posed questions about tax rebates, sports betting, the size of the new state budget and the potential impact of a future recession on Minnesota’s economy. Governor Walz has signed all of the budget bills into law, but he said he is still considering bills relating to capital improvements, the legalization of cannabis and regulations for transportation network drivers.

Governor Walz, DFL Leaders Hold One Minnesota Budget Signing Ceremony

In front of the State Capitol, surrounded by DFL lawmakers and supporters, Governor Tim Walz ceremonially signed a piece of paper representing the culmination of his vision for a One Minnesota budget plan. The Walz and DFL budget agenda includes investments to reduce childhood poverty, support economic growth for all people, expand health care access, improve education funding, invest in transportation and capital projects, and promote initiatives to mitigate climate change and protect Minnesota’s environment. Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic and House Speaker Melissa Hortman also addressed the crowd at the Wednesday, May 24, celebration.

Senate Leaders Recap the 2023 Session

Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic and Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson separately addressed the media Monday, May 22, following the adjournment of the 2023 session. Senator Dziedzic characterized the session as “transformational, historic, consequential,” while Senator Johnson said it was “one of the more partisan sessions that you have seen.”

Since the legislature convened in January, lawmakers enacted a state budget that allocated nearly $15 billion in additional funding for a host of state programs and services, including about $1.2 billion more for education, $1 billion more for transportation and $1.3 billion more for human services. Last minute agreements between DFL and GOP leaders secured a $2.6 billion boost for wide-ranging capital projects and $300 million for nursing homes. In addition, the legislature passed a tax bill providing relief for low-income families with children, a break on social security taxes for most seniors and a one-time rebate of about a $260 per person.