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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Senate voted along party lines this afternoon to approve a bill legalizing recreational marijuana use and possession.

The legislation passed by a one-vote margin with all of the Senate Democrats voting yes and all of the Republicans voting against the measure, which is now expected to go to a conference committee where a group of lawmakers from both chambers will negotiate a compromise version for final passage. The Minnesota House voted 71-59 earlier this week to approve a similar bill.

According to Minnesota Senate Media Services, "the bill would also create a regulatory framework to govern the production and sale of products, expunge the criminal records of people convicted of non-violent cannabis-related offenses and offer incentives to new businesses with a focus on providing socially equitable opportunities to Minnesota communities."

Some buds of marijuana sit on a wooden board next to a neatly rolled joint.
Not police photo - just some other pot. (Phil Lewis)
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Governor Tim Walz has said he will sign a bill legalizing recreational marijuana if it reaches his desk. Once it receives final approval from the legislature and is signed by the governor, a new law would take effect on August 1, making Minnesota the 23rd state to legalize pot.

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