On August 1, a transformative event unfolded in Minnesota’s legal landscape—the legalization of recreational marijuana. As the 23rd state to do so, Minnesota joins a growing league acknowledging cannabis as a substance of both recreation and controversy.
The Nitty-Gritty of The Law
Starting August 1, anyone aged 21 and older can possess up to 2 pounds of cannabis flower at home, or up to 2 ounces in public. The law also permits Minnesotans to grow up to eight marijuana plants for personal use, with a limit of four flowering at any given time.
One caveat, however, is the lack of marijuana retail stores. These will open once the Office of Cannabis Management’s licensing system becomes operational. Experts anticipate state-licensed dispensaries to begin operating in early 2025.
Consumables and Tax Implications
Despite these restrictions, consumable products like seltzers and gummies containing up to 5mg of hemp-derived THC are still legal. However, consumers will now incur a 10% sales tax on these items.
Tribal Sovereignty and Marijuana
On a fascinating note, tribal governments retain the right to establish their own rules. For example, Red Lake Nation plans to start selling recreational marijuana on its northern Minnesota reservation starting August 1.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Public Use
While the law allows smoking cannabis in many public spaces, landlords and city administrations can enforce restrictions. Also, keep in mind that smoking is strictly prohibited in cars, indoor public spaces, workplaces, or areas where minors might inhale second-hand smoke.
Work and Weed: What’s the Deal?
Significant changes await workplaces too. Mandatory drug testing for cannabis as a part of employment will largely become obsolete. However, exceptions exist for certain professionals, like doctors, peace officers, firefighters, and teachers.
Expunging Criminal Records
The law brings a fresh start for over 60,000 Minnesotans with low-level marijuana offenses. These will be automatically expunged from their records, although the process could take up to a year.
In sum, Minnesota’s move towards recreational marijuana legalization brings a host of changes to public, private, and workplace spheres. As the landscape continues to evolve, Minnesotans must adapt to the new normal of marijuana use.