States that have both a medical marijuana law and have removed jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana
Last update: September 29, 2022
Minnesota Senate kills cannabis legalization; Election Day will determine future of legalization
On May 13, 2021, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to legalize cannabis in a bipartisan 72-61 vote! This was the first time either chamber of the state legislature voted to legalize cannabis.
Outrageously, however, the Minnesota Senate’s Republican majority refused to allow the bill (HF 600) or its Senate companion to receive even a committee hearing or vote — both in 2021 and when the bill carried over to 2022. Every Republican senator voted against a motion to give the Senate bill a floor vote. The legislature has adjourned, and the legalization bills are dead for the year.
On the bright side, this year is an election year for the Minnesota’s entire state legislature and the governor. You can check out the Minnesota Is Ready Coalition’s voter guide here to find out where your candidates stand on cannabis policy.
Minnesota Legislature Passes Omnibus Bill that Regulates THC- Infused Products
There was one bright spot for cannabis policy advocates in the 2022 legislature: The legislature and governor approved an omnibus bill (HF4065) that includes provisions to clearly legalize and to regulate hemp-derived edible and drinkable products infused with cannabinoids. It allows edibles with up to 5 grams of THC per serving and up to 50 grams per package.
Minnesota Cannabis Laws: “Decriminalization” and Medical Cannabis, but No Legalization
The Land of 10,000 Lakes has a decades-old “decriminalization” law in place — which made the penalty for possession of up to 42.5 grams of cannabis punishable by a fine, not jail time. Meanwhile, in 2014, then-Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a medical cannabis program after insisting on modifications that made it extremely restrictive. Thanks to the work of advocates and the openness of regulators, however, the program has improved substantially.
Local advocates, often with assistance from MPP, have petitioned the Minnesota Office of Medical Cannabis to add qualifying conditions. As a result, the program has slowly expanded. The state added intractable pain in 2015, followed PTSD in 2016, obstructive sleep apnea and autism in 2017, Alzheimer’s disease in 2018, chronic pain in 2019, and sickle cell disease and chronic motor or vocal tic disorder in 2021.
In May 2021, the legislature and Gov. Tim Walz approved allowing raw/ flower cannabis — including smoking — for adults 21 and older and expanded caregiver provisions. Unfortunately, the legislature has not expanded the number of medical cannabis businesses. The entire state is served by only two manufacturers, each of which have four dispensary locations.
Legalization would create tens of thousands of desperately needed jobs and hundreds of millions in tax revenue, and it would reduce unnecessary stops, searches, and arrests that unfairly and unequally target Black Minnesotans. A 2020 ACLU report shows Minnesota has the eighth worst racial disparities in the nation, with Black individuals 5.4 times as likely to be arrested for cannabis possession as whites, despite nearly identical use rates.
This year is an election year for the Minnesota’s entire state legislature and the governor. Ask your candidates for state House and Senate if they support legalizing cannabis for adults-use. Primary day is August 9.
Although Minnesota’s cannabis laws are not as harsh as some states, they lag behind public opinion. Voters want cannabis to be legal for adults .
Legalization would generate hundreds of millions in tax revenue, and it would reduce unnecessary stops, searches, and arrests that unfairly and unequally target Black Minnesotans. A 2020 ACLU report shows Minnesota has the eighth worst racial disparities in the nation, with Black individuals 5.4 times as likely to be arrested for cannabis possession as white individuals, despite nearly identical use rates.
One of MPP’s 2014 TV ads, featuring patient Patrick McClellan, urging Gov. Dayton not to stand in the way of medical marijuana legislation.
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