Minnesota Legalizes Recreational Marijuana for Adults Over 21

marijuana leaf and a wooden gavel isolated on wood background

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) has recently signed a bill that will legalize recreational marijuana for adults. The bill has brought Minnesota in league with 22 other states that have taken progressive reforms to legalize marijuana and its responsible use.

Key details of the new Minnesota cannabis use law are:

  • Applies to adults aged 21 and older.
  • Permits the possession of 2 pounds of cannabis flower at home.
  • Permits the possession of 2 ounces of cannabis flower in public.
  • Permits the possession of 8 cannabis plants per residence (no more than 4 mature and 4 flowering at any one time).
  • Permits the possession of 800 milligrams of THC in edibles.
  • Permits the possession of 8 grams of cannabis concentrate.
  • Begins full legality on Tuesday, August 1, 2023.

The bill will also set ground rules for the retail sale of cannabis and marijuana products in Minnesota as overseen by the new state agency, the Office of Cannabis Management. Licensed dispensaries are predicted to open around early 2025, and their products will have an additional 10% cannabis tax on top of the state’s sales tax.

Using recreational marijuana in public and multifamily housing properties will still be prohibited in most cases. The law has only allowed the possession of such products and substances.

Using a marijuana, cannabis, or THC product before driving could still result in a DWI charge. Furthermore, the bill allocated $15 million of state funds to train law enforcement officers about how to identify drug-impaired drivers, as well as to conduct a public safety study focused on accident reports involving marijuana users.

Expungements for Marijuana Possession Crimes

By legalizing recreational marijuana in several circumstances, the bill will also affect the criminal justice system. Expungements can be granted to anyone who was previously convicted of petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Minnesota. The expungement process could take an entire year or more, though, based on the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s estimates. The newly created Cannabis Expungement Board – also part of the bill – will review felony marijuana possession offenses and grant or deny expungement based on the merits of each individual case.

Possible Unintended Changes Caused by the New Law

Proponents of the bill are hopeful that it will help promote public health and safety by encouraging people to purchase and use recreational marijuana from trusted, licensed, and regulated sources. However, there could also be one unintended consequence: an increase in DWI arrests.

Attorney Joe Tamburino was interviewed by WCCO CBS News Minnesota to share his insight on the newly signed recreational marijuana bill. He warned that THC can be detected in urine and bloodstream samples for weeks after the last time a marijuana or cannabis product was consumed, smoked, or otherwise used. As a result, many people could be pulled over and ticketed for a DWI offense even though they were completely unaffected by the THC in their systems, which will start to pack the courts with cases. Without a legal threshold for THC content, many cases taken to court could result in a conviction on foggy grounds, an unfortunate twist to a bill that was meant to largely decriminalize marijuana use.

As Attorney Joe Tamburino explained in his WCCO CBS News Minnesota interview: “People will be ticketed for this. They'll be arrested perhaps and then when they get to court of course they will contest it because there's a huge gray area. You will have a number of cases come in that will be litigated so you're going to need to increase public defenders, prosecutors, judges, absolutely across the board.”

Protect Your Rights with Professional Attorneys

At Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A., we pay close attention to criminal law news in Minnesota, such as the upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana. Our team is here to help protect the rights of anyone who has been accused of or charged with a marijuana crime, such as driving while impaired by drugs. If you have questions about record expungement or drug crimes due to the legal update, or if you have already been charged with a marijuana crime, please call us at (612) 444-5020 at your first opportunity.

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