Legal Marijuana In Minnesota – Here’s How It’ll Work
Big news arrived in Minnesota Saturday when the state Senate passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Minnesota. It will now make its way to the desk of Gov. Tim Walz, who has made it known that he will sign the bill into law.
That means Minnesota is poised to become the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana. While most know that the 300-page bill states that marijuana use will be legal for those 21 and older, there are a lot of questions about what else needs to be known.
CBS News points out that one thing the bill mandates immediately is the expungement of all misdemeanor marijuana offenses. The state will then create a Cannabis Expungement Board, which will review felony cases for possible expungement.
StarTribune.com reports the state will create a new state agency called the Office of Cannabis Management which will be responsible for licensing cannabis and hemp businesses and overseeing the legal recreational market and the existing medical cannabis and hemp-derived markets.
But, when will people in Minnesota be able to legally smoke marijuana? The bill states that adult possession, use, and home cultivation of marijuana would be legal on July 1, 2023. What's odd is that bill does not lift existing criminal penalties for those same actions until August 1. Therefore, StarTribune.com says August 1 is the date for cannabis legalization.
At that time Minnesotans of legal age can possess or publicly transport up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower, up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates, and edibles containing up to 800 milligrams of THC. They can also possess up to 2 pounds of marijuana in their homes and grow up to eight cannabis plants per household.
Once recreational marijuana is officially legal, that doesn't mean it will be legal to smoke wherever you want, however. The bill states that persons 21+ would only be allowed to use marijuana in a private residence or yard, or on private property not accessible to the public as long as permission is granted by the owner. Side note: it would not be allowed in a multifamily housing building unless you're a registered medical cannabis patient.
It will also be allowed at a business or event that is authorized for on-site consumption, but it will take some time for such businesses will be open. House bill sponsor DFL Rep. Zack Stephenson of Coon Rapids has said he expects it to be at least 12 months to 18 months before walk-in, adult-use retail dispensaries are opened in Minnesota.
The bill makes it very clear where you can legally use cannabis products and it's also clear where you can't. While it will be prohibited in any public place not licensed for use, it will also be illegal to consume marijuana products in motor vehicles, on school property, or in state correctional facilities. Driving while under the influence of cannabis is also illegal and the state is studying the creation of an oral fluid roadside test that would detect the drug as well as working with law enforcement to better identify impaired drivers.
Furthermore, owners of child daycares must disclose to parents or guardians if their employees are allowed to use cannabis products on the premises outside of business hours.
As things move forward, there will be a lot of questions and one would expect the state will be providing guidance through various mediums, but those are the basic highlights of what is to come in Minnesota.
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