Is Weed Legal in Minnesota?

Is recreational cannabis legal in Minnesota? Is medicinal marijuana legal in Minnesota? What about Minnesota's CBD laws? Find out about the weed laws in Minnesota in this article.

We note that the subject contained in this article represents illegal activity in certain jurisdictions. Whilst we do not condone any acts which are contrary to any such laws, we understand that readers in those jurisdictions which have decriminalised cannabis may find this article of interest.

Sharing its border with five states, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, Minnesota is home to expansive parks, historical museums, and some of the healthiest people in America.

Minnesota derives its name from the Dakota tribe's word mnisota, meaning "cloudy, muddy water" or "sky-tinted water," and is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

In the mid 19th century, Minnesota became home to a large number of European immigrants from Scandinavia, Germany and Central Europe. The state is still considered central to Scandinavian American, German American and Czech American cultures.

The state now has one of the highest standard of living indexes in the US, behind only Connecticut and Massachusetts. Minnesota is also one of the best-educated and wealthiest states.

Minnesota has bred a number of famous film stars, including classics like Judy Garland and Tippi Hedren, and more recent legends Chris Pratt, Seann William Scott and Jessica Biel. The Big Lebowski directors Joel and Ethan Coen also hail from Minnesota.

Although Minnesota experiences extreme temperatures in winter and summer, outdoor activities are hugely popular. In warmer months, the numerous lakes are used for water skiing, fishing and canoeing. More than 36% of Minnesotans fish – second only to Alaska.

When it's cooler, ice fishing takes place thanks to its introduction by Scandinavian immigrants. Frozen lakes are also used for ice hockey, curling and skating, and snow sports like skiing and snowmobiling are king in the mountains.

There are more bike trails in the Minnesotan countryside than any other US state, and the forests and parks to the north are used year-round for hunting, camping and hiking. 

Minnesota is an outdoorsman's dream vacation spot. But can you smoke weed in Minnesota?

Is recreational cannabis legal in Minnesota?

Recreational cannabis is illegal in Minnesota, but possession has been decriminalized. In November 2018, elected governor Tim Walz was keen to get legalised recreational cannabis off the ground, stating that "the time is here and we're seeing it across the country. Minnesota has always been able to implement these things right". 

Walz argued that revenue from cannabis sales would be good for the state, and legalization would result in fewer people being locked up for petty drug charges.

In January 2019 a bill was proposed which would legalise the sale, possession and cultivation of limited quantities of cannabis for adults. In March 2019 this bill was voted down, and no further bills have been put forward to legalize recreational cannabis.

Possession of up 1.5 ounces for personal use is a petty misdemeanour, so it carries no more than a $200 fine and no criminal record. Repeat offenders may be asked to attend drug education classes, but it still won't result in a record.

The law changes slightly when considering a vehicle – up to 1.4 ounces inside a vehicle is a petty misdemeanour, but more than that will get up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Possession of between 1.5 ounces to 10 kilograms is considered a felony and results in up to 5 years in prison and a $25,000 fine, and possession of between 10 and 50 kilograms can result in a maximum 20 year prison term and $250,000 in fines. 

Selling outside of a registered dispensary is illegal, but giving a gift of up to 1.5 ounces without money changing hands is still a petty misdemeanour with the same $200 possession fine.

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Is medicinal marijuana legal in Minnesota?

Medicinal marijuana has been legal in Minnesota since May 2014, when Governor Mark Drayton signed Senate File 2470 into effect, which had nine serious medical conditions on the list. Actual sales of medicinal marijuana commenced in July 2015.

Minnesota's medicinal marijuana program is considered one of the most restrictive in the US. There are only a small number of conditions which qualify, and there are limited legal forms of cannabis.

The original medical conditions include cancer, glaucoma, ALS, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease and HIV/AIDS. In 2016, 'intractable pain' was added to the list, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was added in 2017. Chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration were added late 2019, and will come into effect in August 2020.

Qualifying patients are only able to access cannabis liquid, pill or vaporized method without using any dried leaves or plant form. Like most states, Minnesota patients need to be registered and approved by a physician prior to accessing medicinal marijuana.

Patients are able to purchase and be in possession of no more than 30 days' supply of pill, liquid or vaporizer form. Minnesota's restrictive laws do not allow patients to nominate a caregiver and have no allowances for home cultivation. They also do not allow for reciprocity between other legal states.

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Is CBD legal in Minnesota?

In 2018, the US Federal Government signed the Farm Bill into effect, legalising hemp products and cannabidiol (CBD) products with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of under 0.3%. THC is the psychoactive element of cannabis, so using legal CBD products won't get you high. The good thing is, CBD has a whole range of benefits on its own.

CBD can be used in a number of different ways, including as a topical cream, an ingestible oil, and as a vapour. Topical creams can have a great effect on inflammation and muscle pain – from keyboard strain to arthritis. Ingestible oils can be dropped under the tongue or mixed in with lattes, cocktails or baked goods.

CBD is becoming such a popular industry that a number of celebrities are jumping on board. Kristen Bell is launching her CBD skincare line Happy Dance later this year, and pro skateboarder Matt Miller has his own line of muscle repair CBD products.

CBD products interact with the endocannabinoid system and pets have the same receptors. There are a number of pet-specific products to help your furry friends with anxiety and inflammation.

Although testing is still in early stages, there is evidence to suggest that CBD products can help you cut down on smoking and drinking. There are even studies underway to discover whether CBD can help with gingivitis!

As these products become more mainstream, their benefits can be studied and understood more closely. The next big thing in natural medicine is only just getting started!

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Laura Desmond
Laura Desmond

Laura Desmond is an Adelaide-based writer with a keen interest in the arts, gender politics and social change. She is currently working to obtain a Master in Writing through Swinburne University.

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