Is Cannabis Legal in Minnesota?
Medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota, but only in the form of a liquid, pill, topical cream, or vape.
Changes to Minnesota marijuana laws have centered primarily on the medical marijuana front. Gov. Mark Dayton signed the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Act into law May 29, 2014. It was the 23rd state to enact medical marijuana legislation. The law created the state’s Medical Cannabis Program and Registry under the auspices of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
Beginning in spring 2015, and under the terms of new Minnesota marijuana laws, Minnesotans with qualified medical conditions began receiving certification from Minnesota-licensed health care practitioners, submitting applications to the MDH, and enrolling in a patient registry. In July 2018, they were able to purchase cannabis from distribution facilities set up by medical cannabis manufacturers.
Smokable cannabis is not available. Instead, patients must take cannabis in the form of a liquid, pill, topical cream, or vape.
As per Minnesota marijuana possession laws, cannabis remains a Schedule I controlled substance, with possession of up to one-and-a-half ounces (1.5 oz.), or 42.5 grams or less, punishable by a maximum fine of $200. Possession of between one-and-a-half ounces (1.5 oz.) and 22.05 pounds, or between 42.5 grams and 10 kilograms, is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Is Marijuana Legal in Minnesota?
Recreational marijuana is not legal in Minnesota. However, Minnesota’s decriminalization of weed—which took effect decades ago—made most small possession charges punishable by fines only, rather than jail time.
Currently, medical marijuana is the only form of cannabis that is legal under Minnesota marijuana laws. But there has been growing support for recreational marijuana legalization in Minnesota in recent years, with several lawmakers voicing support for legalization throughout 2019.
Where is it safe to purchase & consume?
Minnesota patients may purchase non-smokable cannabis medicine at eight dispensaries in the state. Dispensaries operated by licensed private manufacturers are located in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Eagan, Rochester, Hibbing, St. Cloud, and Moorhead.
At the dispensary, patients need to provide an appointment summary and list of prescribed medications received during their healthcare practitioner visit then must fill out a self-evaluation form.
Recreational marijuana is illegal. Commercial delivery is prohibited, as only caregivers may transport supplies to patients.
Marijuana cannot be consumed in public.
Product testing is a key component of Minnesota marijuana law and is required in the state’s medical marijuana program. The state has licensed laboratories test for THC and CBD levels and for contaminants such as solvents, pesticides, microbiologicals, and heavy metals.
Qualifying Conditions and Patient Rights
Minnesota marijuana laws allow for 13 qualifying conditions with the possibility of adding more as they are approved by the health commissioner.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Cachexia, or wasting disease
- Cancer, if the underlying condition or treatment causes severe or chronic pain, nausea, or severe vomiting
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
- Intractable pain
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Terminal illness with a probable life expectancy of less than one year if the illness or its treatment produces one or more of the following:
- cachexia, or severe wasting disease
- nausea or severe vomiting
- Severe or chronic pain
To receive medical marijuana under the terms of current Minnesota marijuana laws, patients must enroll in the Medical Cannabis Registry. A licensed health-care practitioner, such as a physician, physician assistant, or practice registered nurse, must certify that the patient has one or more of the qualifying conditions. There is a $200 registration fee, although reduced fees are available through state or federal programs. Mandatory annual recertification is $50.
During the certification process, patients can also ask to designate a parent, legal guardian, or another person as a caregiver to administer cannabis and acquire it at dispensaries, if patients are disabled. The healthcare practitioners must approve the caregiver. Caregivers who are not parents or legal guardians must go through an approval process that includes a criminal background check.
The state authorizes two companies to manufacture medical marijuana. Manufacturers are responsible for growing the medical cannabis, processing it into a pill or liquid form, and distributing the medications through a network of eight distribution sites. The review process to select the manufacturers was conducted by representatives from fields including agriculture, pharmacy, public safety, commerce, and finance.