Minnesota Marijuana Laws

  1. Minnesota Cannabis
  2. Minnesota Marijuana Laws

Related Pages:
Minnesota Marijuana Limitations >
Minnesota Marijuana Possession Laws >
Minnesota Marijuana Trafficking Laws >
Minnesota Marijuana Distribution Laws >

Is Marijuana Legal in Minnesota?

Minnesota has legalized the use of marijuana for the treatment of specific medical conditions, but recreational marijuana remains illegal. However, as of 1976, the state had already reduced the penalty for the possession of up to 42.5 grams (1.5 ounces) of marijuana to a petty misdemeanor punishable with a maximum fine of $200. Registered patients and caregivers are also restricted to a 90-day supply of medical marijuana prescribed by a pharmacist working for the manufacturer. Medical marijuana became legal when Governor Mark Dayton approved the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Act. Under the law, the state's Medical Cannabis Program was created under the supervision of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in 2014. The legalization of medical marijuana restricts the medical use of marijuana to the treatment of specific Medical Cannabis Qualifying Conditions stated in the law, including:

  • Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, or cachexia or severe wasting, nausea, or severe vomiting
  • Terminal illness, with a feasible life expectancy of under one year
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease
  • Seizures, including those indicative of epilepsy
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those indicative of multiple sclerosis
  • Autism spectrum disorder (must meet DSM-5)
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic motor or vocal tic disorder

Individuals must be certified to have any of these qualifying medical conditions by a registered physician before they are allowed to purchase it.

The Minnesota Medical Cannabis Act permits a minor with a serious medical condition to use medical marijuana for treatment. However, they will need to employ the service of a registered caregiver, as minors are not permitted to obtain marijuana from the dispensaries directly. Registered patients may purchase medical marijuana in liquid, pill, or vaporized delivery methods from Cannabis Patient Center Locations across the state. However, in 2021, the legislature passed a bill legalizing patients to consume whole-plant (flower) cannabis.

Can I Use Cannabis?

Only qualifying patients registered with the Medical Cannabis Program can legally use cannabis in the state. Qualifying patients are only allowed to use cannabis in accordance with the prescriptions of the pharmacists at the Cannabis Patient Center Locations. Using beyond the prescribed dosage of cannabis is illegal and will attract penalties ranging from fines to prison sentences. Persons ill with any qualifying medical conditions will only be authorized to use medical cannabis after they have registered with the Minnesota Medical Marijuana Program. A person under the age of 18 can also use medical cannabis for treatment. Still, they must have a registered caregiver who will serve as an intermediary between the dispensary and the minor. Minnesota has not legalized cannabis for recreational use. Hence, using it is illegal and is punishable under the law.

Cannabis used to be legal in the United States until it was criminalized following the establishment of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Then, cannabis was banned across the country and classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.The United States prohibits the consumption of drugs under this category for medical use because of their high potential for abuse. However, some years later, cannabis started to gain popularity again, and citizens' perceptions of it began to change around the mid-1970s. States began to reduce penalties for marijuana possession, and the era of cannabis decriminalization emerged. Although cannabis is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, 29 states, including Minnesota, have legalized medical marijuana, while 18 states have legalized recreational marijuana as of August 2021. Recreational cannabis is not legal in Minnesota.

Minnesota Marijuana Laws in 2021

In Minnesota, the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Act enacted in 2014 guides the legalization and regulation of medical cannabis. The law was amended through the first special session in 2020, and some other changes were made in 2021. Some major amendments to this law between 2020 and 2021 are:

  • Section 152.22 subdivision 6 was amended by Chapter 30, Article 3, Section 29 - Medical cannabis was redefined to include dried leaves and plants, and smoking became legal. This law will become effective from March 1, 2022, or as determined by the commissioner of health.

  • Section 152.27 subdivision 4 was amended by Chapter 30, Article 3, Section 35 : Registered designated caregiver - Registered designated caregivers can now serve up to six registered patients at one time. Patients residing in the same residence will count as one patient.

  • Section 152.29 subdivision 3 was amended by Chapter 30, Article 3, Section 38 : Manufacturer; distribution - An employee of a manufacturer licensed as a pharmacist may conduct a consultation remotely using a secure video conference, telephone, or other remote procedures. However, the employee providing the consultation must be able to confirm the patient's identity. A pharmacist consultation is not needed when a manufacturer dispenses medical cannabis to a patient based on a patient-specific dosage plan established with the manufacturer. The medical cannabis being distributed must not modify the dosage or product issued under that plan. It must also be dispensed by a pharmacy technician. A manufacturer is only authorized to dispense medical cannabis in dried raw cannabis form to:

  • A patient aged 21 or over

  • The registered designated caregiver, spouse, parent, or legal guardian of a patient aged 21 or over

  • Section 152.29 subdivision 3b was added by Chapter 30, Article 3, Section 39: Distribution to a recipient in a motor vehicle - A manufacturer is authorized to distribute medical cannabis to a patient, licensed designated caregiver, or parent, legal guardian, or spouse of a patient who is present at the distribution facility but stays in a motor vehicle, as long as:

  • The distribution facility staff accepts payment and dispenses medical cannabis in a designated zone that is as close as possible to the distribution facility's front door;

  • The manufacturer does not keep medical cannabis outside a restricted access area at the distribution facility. The distribution facility staff may only convey medical cannabis from the distribution facility's restricted access area to the designated zone for distribution after verifying that the patient, designated caregiver, or parent, legal guardian, or spouse has arrived in the designated zone;

  • The manufacturer guarantees that the receipt of payment and supply of medical cannabis are visually recorded by the distribution facility's closed-circuit television surveillance camera and provides any other necessary security safeguards;

  • The payment and distribution of medical cannabis is made following a pharmacist consultation if required under subdivision 3, paragraph (c), clause (4);

  • Immediately after medical cannabis distribution, the distribution facility staff enters the transaction in the state medical cannabis registry information technology database; and

  • Immediately after medical cannabis distribution, the distribution facility staff takes the payment received into the distribution facility.

  • Section 152.29 subdivision 3c was added by Chapter 30, Article 3, Section 40 3c.: Disposal of medical cannabis plant root balls - This law provides that regardless of Minnesota Rules, part 4770.1200, subpart 2, item C, it is not mandatory that before a manufacturer transports root balls to another location for disposal, the manufacturer:

  • Grinds root balls of medical cannabis plants; or

  • Incorporates them with a greater quantity of non-consumable solid waste.]

Under this subdivision, a root ball refers to a compact mass of roots formed by a plant and any attached growing medium.

How the Legal Sale of Cannabis in Minnesota happens

The legal sale of cannabis in Minnesota takes place at Cannabis Patient Center Locations across the state. However, the sale of medical cannabis is only restricted to qualified patients who have been certified to have specific medical conditions by registered physicians. These patients must also be actively registered with the Medical Cannabis Program in Minnesota. They must have paid the $200 (or $50 reduced fee) yearly fee for the existing year.

To purchase medical cannabis in Minnesota, reach out to your local dispensary and schedule a consultation with the dispensary pharmacist to certify your medical condition if you are not a current patient. Note that you can also get the medical certification from your current doctor if they are approved by the Minnesota Department of Health's Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC). After submitting your medical certification and registering with the Medical Cannabis Program, you must also complete the Medical Cannabis RegistrySelf-Evaluation if you are a first-time patient. This involves logging into your registry account and completing your patient self-evaluation form. You are required to do it before you visit the dispensary, as this is a state requirement.

If you are a current qualifying patient, simply complete the Medical Cannabis Registry Self-Evaluation before ordering medical cannabis or visiting the Cannabis Patient Center Location (dispensary). Things to take along when visiting a dispensary include:

  • Valid Minnesota state-issued photo ID
  • Patient registry number
  • Payment for your medicine

While some dispensaries only accept cash payment, others do not but have ATMs onsite. Be sure to contact your local dispensary before visiting to find out the acceptable payment options before visiting.

The sale of hash and concentrates and marijuana paraphernalia is prohibited in the state. Minnesota banned the sale of synthetic drugs and cannabis in 2011. The forms of medical cannabis that are legal for sale in the state are vape oil, topicals, capsules, oral suspension, etc. Also, the cannabis medicine types available are THC Dominant (Over 95% THC), THC=CBD, and CBD Dominant (Over 95% CBD)

Penalties for Marijuana-related crimes in Minnesota

Only medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota for possession, consumption, and sale in accordance with the provisions of Minnesota's Medical Cannabis Act. If any of the provisions of the law is violated, the offender may be penalized with a jail term, a fine, the confiscation of assets, or a combination of all. The law permits adults aged 21 and over to purchase and consume medical marijuana if they have any qualifying medical conditions and are registered with the Medical Cannabis Program. Likewise, minors registered with the program may also consume medical marijuana for treatment, but they may only get it through their caregivers. Below are marijuana-related crimes and their penalties.

Possession for Personal Use

The Medical Cannabis Program in Minnesota permits registered patients to purchase and possess up to a 90-day supply of medical cannabis. Possessing anything above the limit will be considered a criminal offense. Depending on the crime, there may be a conditional discharge for first-time offenders. A drug education course may also be required. Possession changes are as follows:

  • Possessing 42.5 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable with a maximum fine of $200.
  • Possessing more than 42.5 grams but less than 10 kilograms is a felony punishable with a prison sentence not exceeding 5 years and a maximum fine of $5,000. Other convictions after the first one shall be committed to the commissioner of corrections for 6 months to 10 years and a possible fine of up to $20,000.
  • Possessing between 10 kilograms and less than 50 kilograms of cannabis is a felony punishable with a prison sentence, not more than 20 years, and a maximum fine of $250,000. Other convictions after the first one shall be committed to the commissioner of corrections for 2 to 30 years and a likely fine of up to $250,000.
  • Possessing between 50 kilograms and less than 100 kilograms is a felony punishable with a prison sentence not exceeding 25 years and a maximum fine of $500,000. Other convictions after the first one shall be committed to the commissioner of corrections for between 3 and 40 years and a possible fine of up to $500,000.
  • Possessing 100 kilograms or more is a felony punishable with a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and a maximum fine of $1,000,000. Other convictions after the first one shall be committed to the commissioner of corrections for between 4 and 40 years and a possible fine of up to $1,000,000.
  • Possessing more than 1.4 grams inside any part of a vehicle apart from the trunk is a misdemeanor punishable with a prison term not exceeding 90 days and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Only licensed dispensaries may sell cannabis in Minnesota. Charges for selling cannabis are as follows:

  • Distributing 42.5 grams or less without payment is a misdemeanor punishable with a maximum fine of $200. A drug education course requirement may also be required.
  • Selling more than 42.5 grams to less than 5 kilograms is a felony punishable with a prison sentence not exceeding 5 years and a maximum fine of $10,000. Other convictions after the first one shall be committed to the commissioner of corrections for 6 months to 10 years and a possible fine of up to $20,000.
  • Selling 5 to less than 25 kilograms is a felony punishable with a prison sentence not exceeding 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000. Other convictions after the first one shall be committed to the commissioner of corrections for 2 to 30 years and may also attract a possible fine of up to $250,000.
  • Selling 25 to less than 50 kilograms is a felony punishable with a maximum of 25 years prison term and a maximum fine of $500,000. Other convictions after the first one shall be committed to the commissioner of corrections for 3 to 40 years and a likely fine of up to $500,000.
  • Selling 50 kilograms or more is a felony punishable with a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and a maximum fine of $1,000,000. Other convictions after the first one shall be committed to the commissioner of corrections for 4 to 40 years and a likely fine of up to $1,000,000.
  • Selling cannabis to a minor is a felony punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a fine not exceeding $250,000.
  • The importation of 100 kilograms or more using a minor to import cannabis into the state is a felony punishable with a prison sentence not exceeding 35 years and a maximum fine of $1,250,000.
  • Distributing cannabis within a school zone or other restricted areas is a felony punishable with a prison term not exceeding 15 years and a maximum fine of $100,000. Other convictions after the first one shall be committed to the commissioner of corrections for 1 to 30 years and a likely fine of not more than $100,000.
  • Distributing 5 kg to less than 25kg within a school zone or other restricted areas is a felony punishable with a prison sentence not exceeding 25 years and a maximum fine of $500,000.
  • Distributing 25 kg or more within a school zone or other specified areas is a felony punishable with a prison sentence not exceeding 30 years and a maximum fine of $1,000,000. Other convictions after the first one shall be committed to the commissioner of corrections for 4 to 40 years and a possible fine not exceeding $1,000,000.

Any adult aged 21 or over who distributes marijuana to a minor will be guilty of a felony and face double the regular punishments upon conviction.

Cultivation

Cultivation of marijuana in Minnesota is illegal and is punishable based on the aggregate weight of the plants found.

Marijuana Paraphernalia

Selling or advertising marijuana paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable with a fine not exceeding $1,000. Selling marijuana paraphernalia to a minor is a gross misdemeanor punishable with a fine not exceeding $3,000 and a maximum prison sentence of up to one year.

Hash and Concentrates

According to Section 152.02 subs. 2(h) 2020 Minnesota Statutes, tetrahydrocannabinol, a major component of hashish, is listed as a Schedule I drug. Tetrahydrocannabinols are composites, mixtures, or preparations that contain the active THC component of the cannabis plant or its resinous extractives. Hashish is referred to as the resinous form of Marijuana. The penalties listed for Marijuana and Tetrahydrocannabinols are very similar. The only difference is the reduced penalties for the possession or distribution without remuneration of a small amount of plant-form marijuana. These reduced penalties do not apply to Tetrahydrocannabinols, as the statute precisely excludes resinous forms of marijuana from the definition.

Therefore, possessing, distributing without remuneration, or selling less than 5kg of Tetrahydrocannabinols is subject to a prison sentence not exceeding 5 years and a maximum fine of $10,000. For subsequent offenses of a similar crime, the maximum prison sentence and the maximum fine will be doubled. Mandatory minimum imprisonment of 6 months will also be imposed.

Marijuana DWI

A marijuana DWI is a serious offense in Minnesota. Persons caught driving under the influence of marijuana in Minnesota will face similar charges like drunk driving. The penalties are primarily determined by the number of DWI offenses the offender has on their driving record. The severity of the crime increases with repeated violations. Below are the consequences of a Marijuana DWI in Minnesota:

  • A first-time marijuana DWI offense is a misdemeanor punishable with up to 90 days imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000, and up to 180 days of license suspension.
  • A second marijuana DWI offense is punishable with a minimum prison sentence of 30 days and 48 hours in a local correctional facility or community work service. The offender may also receive up to 1 year of license suspension.
  • A third marijuana DWI offense is punishable with a minimum of 90 days imprisonment, and 30 days in a local correctional facility or participation in an intensive supervision probation program, and six consecutive days in a local correctional facility. The offender may also receive up to 2 years of license suspension.
  • A fourth marijuana DWI offense is punishable with either:
  • At least one year in jail with 60 days in a local correctional facility, compulsory participation in a probation program, and 6 days in a local correctional facility; or
  • Staggered sentencing up to one year with 60 days in a local correctional facility.

The offender may also receive an indefinite license revocation.

In addition, when a person is charged with the possession or sale of marijuana, the sentencing court shall determine whether the person illegally possessed or sold the controlled substance while operating a motor vehicle. If the offender is found guilty, the court shall inform the commissioner of public safety of its decision and order the commissioner to revoke the offender's driver's license for 30 days. Marijuana-related offenses are taken seriously in Minnesota, but offenders can seek possible remedies for defendants violating Minnesota marijuana laws at the court where the case is heard.

What is Minnesota's Cannabis History?

During a short wave of decriminalization in the United States in 1976, Minnesota partially decriminalized marijuana. The state reduced the penalty for the possession of not more than 42.5 to a petty misdemeanor of a maximum $200 fine. Despite the decriminalization, medical cannabis did not become legal until May 29, 2014, when Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a bill legalizing the use of marijuana to treat Medical Cannabis Qualifying Conditions. This made Minnesota the 23rd state to legalize medical cannabis. The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the bill with 89 - 40 votes, and the Senate passed the bill with 46 -16 votes. The bill became the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Act, which provides for medical cannabis legislation.

In accordance with the Minnesota Medical Marijuana Act, the Medical Cannabis Program was created under the auspices of the Department of Health. The law also made provisions for the possession, sale, distribution, and manufacture of medical cannabis and created a task force. Qualifying patients were allowed to start registering for the Medical Cannabis Program on June 1, 2015, but the actual distribution of medical marijuana began July 1, 2015. From the time of legalization in 2014, other medical conditions have been added to the list of qualifying conditions. Intractable pain was added in 2016, and PTSD was added on August 1, 2017. Other medical conditions were added on December 1, 2019.

When Tim Walz was elected to the Governorship on November 6, 2018, he stated that legalizing cannabis can bring a new source of tax revenue if regulated appropriately. He also added that it could reduce the number of people imprisoned for drug offenses. On January 28, 2019, Senators Scott Jensen and Melisa Franzen and Representative Mike Freiberg introduced a bill authorizing persons over age 21 to grow, possess, and purchase limited quantities of cannabis. However, on March 8, 2019, Republicans in the Minnesota Senate voted down the measure to legalize recreational cannabis. Republicans also avoided creating a task force to study the issue further. Several proposals have been put up for recreational marijuana legalization, but they are still under consideration in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Therefore, as of August 2021, recreational cannabis remains illegal in Minnesota.

What are Restrictions on Cannabis in Minnesota?

Recreational marijuana is not legal in Minnesota. Only medical cannabis can be used in the state, and there are some restrictions on its use and possession, including:

  • Only patients with qualifying medical conditions can use medical cannabis, but they must be registered with Minnesota's Medical Cannabis Registry.
  • Minors can only use medical cannabis if certified to have certain qualifying medical conditions, but they cannot get it, except through their caregivers.
  • Home cultivation of cannabis is illegal.
  • Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal.
  • Carrying out any task under the influence of medical cannabis that would result in negligence or professional malpractice is illegal.
  • Transporting cannabis across state lines is illegal and is considered drug trafficking under federal law; even if cannabis is legal in the state, it is being transported.
  • Consuming cannabis in any place that smoking is illegal is prohibited. This prohibition includes (but is not limited to bars, restaurants, public buildings, and areas within 15 feet of doors and ventilation openings.
  • Consuming medical cannabis on federal property is illegal.

Certain restrictions apply on the locations medical cannabis can be used and possessed. Medical cannabis cannot be used:

  • On the grounds of any preschool, primary school, or secondary school
  • On a school bus or van
  • In any correctional facility
  • On the grounds of any child care facility or home daycare

Also, medical cannabis cannot be vaporized:

  • On any form of public transportation
  • Where a nonpatient minor child may inhale the vapor
  • In a public place, including any indoor or outdoor area open to the general public
  • In a place of employment
Minnesota Marijuana Laws