Minnesota has joined the ranks as the 23rd state to legalize the use of cannabis for adults aged 21 and over. As of August 1, 2023, the state will see the full decriminalization of the possession, use, and home growth of cannabis. What changes can residents expect? For one, adults will be able to possess or transport up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower in public and up to 2 pounds at home. This groundbreaking legislation also introduces the Cannabis Expungement Board, paving the way for the automatic expungement of lower-level cannabis offenses.
The journey towards legalization has been a significant one. Minnesota first permitted medical marijuana in 2014. Following that, in a move to further relax cannabis laws, the Legislature approved the use of recreational low-dose hemp-derived cannabis edibles for adults in the previous year. Now, with the latest bill—sponsored by Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids) and Sen. Lindsey Port (DFL-Burnsville)—a comprehensive regulatory framework is being set up. This framework will tightly regulate legal cannabis, including licensing for growers, distributors, and retailers, and it will also provide funding for prevention and addiction recovery programs.
Retail sales for adult-use cannabis are projected to begin in the first quarter of 2025. It’s crucial to note that despite these state-level changes, cannabis remains illegal on federal property. For those interested in staying updated on Minnesota’s cannabis legislation, the State of Minnesota – Office of Cannabis Management offers a subscription to their mailing list for exclusive news.
The Minnesota House has played a pivotal role, with the House Public Information Services reporting on the passage of the finalized cannabis legalization bill to the Senate. For a deeper understanding of the legislation, the Office of Cannabis Management’s official webpage provides comprehensive details.
This legislation also honors tribal sovereignty, making Minnesota’s cannabis law one of the strongest in the nation in this regard. It reflects a significant shift in the state’s approach to cannabis, acknowledging the failure of long-standing prohibitions and criminalization to effectively manage cannabis-related issues.