Marijuana Laws in Minnesota

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 What Are Drug Crimes?

All fifty states, as well as the federal government, have laws which dictate the possession, use, manufacture, and sale of specific drugs. Additionally, each drug crime has certain standards and carries different penalties, especially in terms of the severity of the crime that was committed.

Drug crimes generally include offenses such as:

  • Possession: Drug possession is the most common offense in terms of drug crimes. Drug possession charges generally arise when a person is knowingly in possession of a drug without authorization, such as when a person has a prescription drug without a valid prescription for that drug. Generally speaking, drug possession charges consider the amount of the drug as well as the type of drug, and penalties may vary based on whether the amount is for personal use, or for sale and distribution;
  • Manufacturing: Drug manufacturing most commonly involves creating or “cooking” a synthetic chemical substance, or extracting a natural drug. Two common examples of this would be cooking methamphetamines, or growing illegal cannabis. Packaging a drug for resale can also constitute drug manufacturing;
  • Use: The use of illegal drugs can be considered a criminal act, especially in cases in which the drug requires a prescription from a doctor but the offender does not have the required prescription; and
  • Distribution: This type of drug crime most commonly includes the sale, smuggling, trafficking, and/or delivery of illegal substances. They can also include offenses such as drug trafficking, which is largely dependent on the amount of drugs involved as well as the type of drug involved.

The legality of most drugs is determined by how it is being used, and what it is being used for. An example of this would be how cannabis is currently illegal in many states, while some states allow it for recreational use and others only allow it with a medical prescription. Prescription drugs are considered to be legal for those who have a valid prescription. However, if you possess or use a prescription drug without a prescription from a doctor, you may be charged with a drug crime as was previously mentioned.

Cannabis is considered to be the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, including in states that prohibit its possession and use. Considerable changes have taken place in cannabis laws; at the time of this writing, eleven states recognize cannabis as legal for both recreational and medical use, while more states recognize it only for medical use with a valid prescription.

Some other examples of commonly abused drugs that may produce criminal charges include substances such as:

  • Cocaine;
  • Heroin;
  • Methamphetamines;
  • Ecstasy; and
  • PCP (or, Angel Dust).

Generally speaking, a controlled substance is a drug that is regulated by the government. These substances are thought to have a detrimental effect on a person’s health and welfare, and as such are strictly controlled by government regulation. The Controlled Substances Act divides different classes of drugs into five schedules, which are based on:

  • Medicinal value;
  • Potential for abuse;
  • Safety to the public; and
  • Likelihood for dependency.

Controlled substances include both legal and illegal drugs.

What Are Minnesota’s Marijuana Laws?

It is important to note that the term “marijuana” has racist and classist roots; additionally, it is scientifically inaccurate. As such, it will be referred to as cannabis from here on out.

Similar to most states, the cultivation, sale, and possession of cannabis are considered to be illegal in the state of Minnesota. Under Minnesota state laws, cannabis crimes are listed in Chapter 152 of the Minnesota Statutes. Additionally, cannabis is defined as a Schedule I Controlled Substance.

Minnesota also has different laws which govern “sale crimes” and “possession crimes.” It is important to know the difference between the two. Minnesota cannabis laws have been known to be considerably absurd and complex; as such, it would be in your best interest to consult with an experienced knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. A Minnesota attorney can help you understand the specifics of Minnesota cannabis laws, as this could mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal.

What Is Possession Of Marijuana In Minnesota? What About Laws Of Sales?

According to Minnesota law, possession of cannabis refers to either being in the actual possession of a person, or constructive possession in which the person would have control over the drug. Examples include a vehicle or a house.

In Minnesota, the penalty for cannabis possession is based on the quantity that is found on the defendant. It is important to note that if the defendant has less than 42.5 grams in their possession, the charge will only be a petty misdemeanor. However, any possession over 42.5 grams will be a felony under Minnesota law.

Quantity Maximum Penalty
100 kg or more 30 years in prison and $1,000,000 in fines
50 kg to 100 kg 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines
10 kg to 50 kg 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines
42.5 g to 10 kg 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines
Less than 42.5 g $200 fine and drug education

Possession of more than 1.4 grams inside a person’s vehicle, with the exception of the trunk, is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum sentence of 90 days imprisonment, as well as a maximum fine of $1,000. If the court finds that a convicted defendant unlawfully sold or possessed cannabis while driving, they can have the defendant’s driver’s license revoked for thirty days.

Similar to possession charges, the sale of cannabis in Minnesota is punished based on the amount found on the defendant. It is important to note that if the defendant sells less than 42.5 grams, the charge will only be a petty misdemeanor; however, any sale over 42.5 grams will be a felony under Minnesota law.

Minnesota levies additional penalties if cannabis is sold to a minor or within a school zone. Selling or distributing cannabis within a school zone is a felony that is punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment. Sale to a minor is a felony that is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.

Quantity Maximum Penalty
Importing 50 kg or more into the state 35 years in prison and $1,250,000 in fines
50 kg or more 30 years in prison and $1,000,000 in fines
25 kg to 50 kg 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines
5 kg to 25 kg 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines
42.5 g to 5 kg 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines
Less than 42.5 g $200 fine and drug education

What Are Minnesota’s Medical Marijuana Laws?

At the end of May 2014, Minnesota enacted a medical cannabis program. Beginning in July of 2015, four state-approved dispensaries began supplying patients with medical grade cannabis. Qualified patients must register with the state, as well as be certified by a state licensed physician. Additionally, only patients with certain conditions can register for the medical cannabis program.

These conditions include, but may not be limited to:

  • Cachexia;
  • Cancer;
  • Glaucoma;
  • Tourette’s Syndrome;
  • ALS;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Multiple Sclerosis;
  • Crohn’s Disease; and
  • Terminal illness with a life expectancy of under one year.

Minnesota patients should be aware that they are not allowed to smoke medical cannabis. Patients will be sold cannabis as a pill, liquid, or as a vapor. New York is the only other state with a medical cannabis program that prohibits patients from smoking.

Do I Need A Lawyer For Help With Marijuana Charges In Minnesota?

You should consult with a Minnesota drug attorney if you have any questions associated with the state’s cannabis laws. If you are facing charges associated with cannabis, your lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options according to the state’s laws. Additionally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.

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