Contributor: Adam Justinger
Minnesota’s 2023 legislative session has come to an end. One of the most talked about bills during this year’s session was H.F. 100. The bill, which was over 300 pages in length, dealt with the legalization of marijuana and certainly has a lot of information to unpack. Recently, Governor Tim Walz signed the bill into law. As a result, Minnesota has become the 23rd state to legalize recreational marijuana. But what does the new law entail?
H.F. 100 allows an individual 21 years of age or older to possess or transport two ounces or less of adult-use cannabis flower in a public place. It also allows an individual 21 or older to possess two pounds or less of adult-use cannabis flower in the individual’s private residence. People 21 or older are also allowed to use, possess, or transport cannabis paraphernalia. Individuals 21 or older can also possess or transport eight grams or less of adult-use cannabis concentrate, edible cannabis products or lower-potency hemp edibles infused with a combined total of 800 milligrams or less of tetrahydrocannabinol. An individual under 21 years of age may not use, possess, or transport cannabis flower, cannabis products, lower-potency hemp edibles, or hemp-derived consumer products.
Individuals 21 years of age and older can also use adult-use cannabis flower and adult-use cannabis products in a private residence (including the individuals curtilage or yard), on private property not generally accessible by the public (unless prohibited by the owner of the property), and on the premises of an establishment or event licensed to permit on-site consumption. There are also locations that an individual cannot use or possess cannabis such as public schools, state correctional facilities, etc.
The new law also has an expungement section. Under this section, some offenses are automatically expunged. Even if the automatic expungement statute is not applicable to an individual’s case, they may still be eligible for expungement and/or resentencing for certain cannabis offenses. If you are wishing to have a prior charge or conviction expunged, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to assist with these matters.
Although certain amounts of cannabis/marijuana is allowed, the law is not absolute. An individual can still be charged with a crime if they possess more than permitted, engage in unlawful sales, unlawfully cultivate, possess cannabis under age, etc. For example, an individual could be charged with possession of cannabis in the first degree if they possess more than two pounds but not more than ten kilograms of cannabis flower. This violation is punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine or both. An individual could also be charged for sale of cannabis in the fourth degree, a petty misdemeanor, if the adult unlawfully sells not more than two ounces of cannabis flower. These are only two examples of the many restrictions the law imposes upon individuals.
Other laws outside of possession and sales also apply. For example, an individual is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis flower, cannabis products, lower-potency hemp edibles, or hemp-derived consumer products. Individuals also cannot smoke cannabis in locations where smoking is prohibited. Further, as of the date of this blog, marijuana is still illegal federally.
The law contemplates several different effective dates. Some sections take effect on July 1, 2023. Other sections take effect on August 1, 2023. Yet other portions of the bill do not take effect until March 1, 2025. It is important to be mindful of when each of these sections take effect.
With over 300 pages to this bill, this blog touches on only a few small sections. If you have a particular question regarding the new law, it is important to contact an experienced attorney for proper advice. For help with criminal matters (including sealing of records and expungement) in North Dakota or Minnesota, please contact SW&L Attorneys at 701-297-2890. For future articles, check out our blog. This article is for informational purposes only and is subject to our disclaimer.