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Minnesota Legalizes Cannabis For Recreational Purposes

A bill legalizing marijuana use for recreational purposes in Minnesota was signed into law on Tuesday by the state’s Democratic governor, Tim Walz. With Walz’s signature, Minnesota becomes the third Midwestern state and the 23rd state that legalizes cannabis for adult use. 

Tuesday, 30 May, after months of committee hearings and floor votes, Democratic Governor Tim Walz signed HF 100, which legalizes recreational cannabis in Minnesota.

What Does the Legalization of Cannabis Look Like in Minnesota?

Minnesota legalizes cannabis. As of August 1st, cannabis will be allowed to possess, consume, and produce at home under the new law beginning August 1. Possession of cannabis flower will be restricted to a maximum of 2 pounds (0.91 kilograms) at home and 2 ounces (56 grams) in public. Additional possession caps will include a maximum of 8 grams of cannabis concentrate.

The opening of dispensaries will not occur for at least 12 to 18 months. Permits for on-site consumption will be available for events, and cannabis delivery services will be permitted. Existing medical cannabis enterprises can obtain new combination licenses allowing them to participate in the adult-use market beginning March 1, 2025.

While there are no recreational dispensaries slated to open, the new Minnesota law does allow for “gifting” of marijuana, with no penalties. The free exchange of up to two ounces of marijuana between individuals will be permitted.

Local governments will not be permitted to prohibit cannabis businesses from operating in their jurisdictions. However, they will be able to impose “reasonable” regulations on the hours of operation and location, as well as a population-based cap on the number of cannabis business licenses.

What About Home Cultivation In Minnesota?

The Minnesota recreational cannabis legalization bill allows for the cultivation of up to eight cannabis plants at a single residence, with no more than four of those plants being mature. Cultivation must occur at the principal domicile of a 21-year-old or older adult.Cannabis can be cultivated outdoor, but must be kept in an enclosed, secured area that is inaccessible to the general public.

Expunction Of Cannabis-Related Convictions

One of the most critical provisions of the measure, said to Democratic Sen. Lindsey Port of Burnsville, is the expungement of criminal records of anyone charged with marijuana-related crimes.

“We’ve criminalized a lot of folks who are going to start the expungement process on those records,” Gov. Walz states. The new law also allows those who have been convicted of marijuana offenses to clean their records by immediately expunging low-level convictions and establishing a review board to consider eligibility for higher-level charges.

Democratic Senator Lindsey Port explains, “we are undoing some of the harm that we have done as a state through the prohibition of cannabis”. As soon as the law goes into effect, these regulatory and expungement efforts will begin. However, licensed dispensaries may not be operational for up to 18 months.

With Minnesota Cannabis Legalization Supporters Come Opponents

According to the law’s proponents, it will decrease racial disparities in drug enforcement. However, opponents argue that legalization will increase substance use and driving impairment. Polls indicate that despite these concerns, a majority of Minnesotans support the legalization of marijuana, and many are optimistic that the new law will bring economic benefits to the state by generating employment in the cannabis industry.

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