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Is Marijuana Legal in Minnesota? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

At Toepfer at Law, we know that the laws surrounding drug crimes are complex, and many offenders don’t realize the legal consequences of their actions. If you need a legal advocate to fight for your future, we may be able to help. Give us a call at (320) 497-4416 today.

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.


Minnesota’s Marijuana Laws

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.

Medical Cannabis

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:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (must meet DSM-5)
  • Cancer, if the disease or its treatment causes severe or chronic pain, nausea, severe vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting
  • Chronic motor or vocal tic disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease
  • Intractable pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (effective Aug. 1, 2023)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (effective Aug. 1, 2023)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year, that causes severe or chronic pain, nausea, severe vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting
  • Tourette syndrome
  • 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.

    Recreational Marijuana

    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.

    Products Containing Hemp-Derived THC

    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.

Penalties for Marijuana-Related Drug Crimes

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:

  • Felony marijuana possession: up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $1,000,000
  • Felony marijuana distribution: up to 35 years in prison and maximum fine of up to $1,250,000.
  • Selling paraphernalia to a minor: up to one year in jail and up to a $3,000 fine.

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.

Charged with a Marijuana Drug Crime? Contact Toepfer at Law

At Toepfer at Law, we know that laws surrounding marijuana are confusing, and the legal implications of using marijuana aren’t always clear. However, that doesn’t stop the State from inflicting harsh punishments on people convicted of marijuana crimes.

If you were charged with a drug crime in Minnesota, just remember: It doesn’t have to ruin your life. You just need a legal expert to advocate for you and tell your side of the story. Ready to get started? Give us a call at (320) 497-4416 to schedule a consultation. Together, we’ll find the best way to protect your future.

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Toepfer at Law

11 Seventh Ave N Suite 203
St. Cloud, Minnesota 56303

Phone (320) 497-4416 Fax (320) 295-7813
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