Minnesota Cannabis Laws

Is Cannabis Legal In Minnesota?
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StateRecreationalMedical MarijuanaCBD

Federal Law:

Recreational Medical MarijuanaCBD

Is recreational cannabis legal in Minnesota?

No. Currently, possession of cannabis can result in a misdemeanor or felony, as recreational use is illegal in Minnesota. Yet polls show the majority of Minnesotans, including their governor Tim Walz, are interested in reforming current cannabis laws. Walz has lobbied for legalization, as recreational use can enhance their tax revenue and decrease the number of citizens jailed for petty drug offenses. 

As of 2020, there are several proposals awaiting approval in Minnesota’s legislature, including a constitutional amendment that would allow Minnesotans to vote on legalizing, taxing, and regulating the recreational use of cannabis.

Is Medical Marijuana legal in Minnesota?

Yes. The Minnesota Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law in 2014, with the first distribution of medical marijuana products in 2015

The law created a patient registry under the Minnesota Department of Health and legalized marijuana as a treatment for patients with only nine specific illnesses, including cancer, severe epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Tourette’s syndrome, ALS Crohn’s Disease, and glaucoma. Their program did not include cannabis treatment in plant form, only a 30 day supply of products via liquid, pill, or vaporized delivery.

Minnesota’s medical marijuana program has been criticized for its limitations of qualifying conditions and products. Therefore additional amendments have been made throughout the years to include intractable pain, chronic pain, PTSD, and age-related degeneration as qualifying conditions (2016-2020). 

Are CBD products legal in Minnesota? 

Yes. Since the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States, as long as they contain at most 0.3% THC. 

Any and all CBD in food and drink is still federally illegal.

What’s Minnesota‘s medical marijuana sales tax?

Medical Marijuana purchases are subject to the state’s sales tax, which is 6.875%

Are there any other Minnesota cannabis tax rates?

Yes, 3%, in addition to the general sales tax, via the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act which imposes a tax on each marijuana provisioning center.

Minnesota’s Cannabis Timeline:

1937: The Marihuana (archaic spelling of Marijuana) Tax Act was enacted banning cannabis at the federal level. Medical Marijuana use was still permitted.

1951: The Boggs Act, Sponsored by Hale Boggs and signed into law under President Harry S. Truman, This act set mandatory sentencing and increased punishment for cannabis possession. 

1969: The Marihuana Tax Act is deemed unconstitutional in the landmark Leary v. United States. Timothy Leary, a professor, and activist, was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Leary then challenged the act on the ground that the act required self-incrimination, which violated his Fifth Amendment rights. (The self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant, better known as “Pleading the Fifth.”) The unanimous opinion of the court was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Therefore, Leary’s conviction was overturned.

1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted (replacing the unconstitutional Marihuana Tax Act). Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose. This act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. 

This legislation created five classifications, with specific qualifications for a substance to be included in each. The substances scheduling (classification) are determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, Congress does have the power to schedule or de-schedule substances through legislation. Substance scheduling decisions are based on its potential for abuse, accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties.

Classification of Controlled Substances:

Schedule I: High potential of abuse, not acceptable for medical use

Schedule II: High potential of abuse, sometimes allowed with “severe restrictions” for medical use

Schedule II: Medium potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule IV: Moderate potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule V: Lowest potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

1976: Minnesota decriminalized small amounts of possession of cannabis. 

1984-1986: Mandatory Sentencing and the three-strikes law were created under the Reagan Administration. This accounts for some of the harshest drug laws created including mandatory 25-year imprisonment for certain drug offenses and the promotion of the death penalty to be used against “drug kingpins.”

1998: House Joint Resolution 117, encouraged by the passing of California’s Prop 215, the House of Representatives passed this measure to support the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of certain drugs.  

2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment passed in the U.S. House and signed into law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

2014: Minnesota Medical Marijuana Act, legalized use for registered and qualified patients. 

2015: Medical Marijuana distribution in Minnesota begins. 

2016: Minnesota Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act 

2016-2020: Minnesota’s Medical Marijuana program amends qualifying conditions. 

2018: Farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively de-schedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.

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