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Minnesota’s New Recreational Marijuana Legislation

Minnesota has stepped to the forefront of the marijuana legalization and decriminalization front with a sweeping new law that is set to legalize the possession or use of marijuana. In a sweeping change, Minnesota has passed and sent to the desk of Governor Walz for his signature a law that will completely change the landscape for possession and manufacture of marijuana throughout the State of Minnesota. This law could be in effect as early as the end of May, 2023. Minnesota is set to join nearly two dozen other states in legalizing / decriminalizing marijuana.


Marijuana will be legal to possess in Minnesota


Minnesota is set to legalize recreational possession and use of marijuana, which would allow a person in Minnesota to: possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower in a public place or 1.5 pounds in a person's residence; possess or transport no more than 8 grams of adult-use cannabis concentrate; possess or transport edible products infused with up to 800 milligrams of THC; give away cannabis flower and cannabinoid products in an amount that is legal for a person to possess in public; use cannabis flower and cannabinoid products in private areas; and cultivate up to eight cannabis plants, of which four or fewer may be mature, flowering plants.


Minnesota will clean up minor misdemeanor marijuana convictions


The Minnesota marijuana legislation is set to automatically expunge low-level (presumably misdemeanor / gross misdemeanor) marijuana convictions.  Also, the legislation sets up an expungement board to consider felony offenses.  It is unclear if this board will need an expungement petition filed through a Minnesota District Court to begin the process, but presumably there will be a process for filing for expungement through this board.  This legislation does not apply to any other controlled substance.  Anyone convicted previously with this type of offense may seek an expungement and should get the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle this.  


Minnesota changes in law will not affect other states


The legalization of marijuana possession and consumption is a great step forward, but the legislation does nothing to change the marijuana laws in bordering states.  Specifically, selling or possessing marijuana with intent to deliver to others is still a felony charge in North Dakota that can carry a potential prison sentence.  Also, driving a motor vehicle while impaired by marijuana is still a crime in Minnesota and Minnesota’s neighboring states.  Finally, a person traveling to Minnesota to take advantage of the legalization of marijuana could still be charged with a crime for transportation of marijuana through their home state if that state does not have similar legislation.  Anyone charged with this type of offense must take it seriously and get the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.  


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