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Public opinion on marijuana ranges from accusations that it’s a “dangerous gateway drug” to claims that it can cure cancer. With such a wide range of ideas circulating on the topic, it’s no wonder that the law seems confused about where it stands on marijuana as well.
In October 2022, President Biden issued a pardon for Federal offenses of simple marijuana possession and ordered an administrative review to explore how it is scheduled. Currently, Federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, along with heroin and LSD. However, individual Governors will determine whether their states follow suit.
Although some states have legalized recreational marijuana, most sit on the fence about how to treat this drug. Minnesota is one of the many states that criminalizes marijuana in some contexts but not in others. Keep reading to learn when it is legal to possess marijuana in Minnesota, when it isn’t and the various penalties that can result from marijuana crimes.
Were you or a loved one charged with a marijuana-related crime? One of our talented criminal defense attorneys can help you navigate Minnesota drug law and design a strategy specific to you. Contact us online to schedule a consultation.
In 1976, Minnesota joined several other states in reducing the penalties for possessing a small amount of marijuana to a petty misdemeanor, which carries a maximum $200 fine. The State defines a “small” amount to be 42.5 grams or less of marijuana. This does not apply to the drug in its resinous form.
In 2014, Minnesota became the 22nd state to legalize medical cannabis.
At first, the law didn’t allow patients with a prescription to smoke marijuana leaves; they were only allowed to use pills, oils and vaporizers. However, the State Legislature expanded the law to include smoking dried cannabis leaves in 2021. As of August 2022, Minnesota’s medical marijuana program also added cannabis-infused edibles to its options for patients.
To be eligible to use medical marijuana in Minnesota, you must be a Minnesota resident who has been certified with one of the following qualifying conditions, as defined by the Minnesota Department of Health:
Although these are the only medical disorders that currently qualify, the Medical Cannabis Review Panel hears all petitions for new additions to the list and reviews them annually.
Despite several proposals to legalize recreational cannabis—including a 2019 bill that would have allowed people over 21 to possess, grow and purchase limited amounts of cannabis—recreational marijuana remains illegal in Minnesota. However, several proposals for its legalization remain under consideration in the House.
In July 2022, Minnesota legalized beverages and food containing THC derived from hemp. However, packages must be limited to 50mg of THC total, with a maximum of 5mg of THC per serving. This legislation began as an effort to address unregulated Delta-8 THC products, and whether or not the legislature realized their laws would also apply to Delta-9 THC (the primary psychoactive component in marijuana) is unclear.
Although the State of Minnesota decriminalized possession of 42.5 grams or less of marijuana, there are still many marijuana-related drug crimes that can land you in a world of legal trouble. With these crimes, the amount of drugs in your possession and whether you intended to distribute it will play a huge part in your sentencing. Here are some of the maximum penalties for marijuana-related drug crimes that can also result in imprisonment in Minnesota:
As you can see, marijuana-related drug crimes in Minnesota can still take a huge toll on your life, despite medical marijuana being legal. If you’re charged with a drug crime in Minnesota, the best thing to do is seek out legal representation immediately.