Changes to Minnesota Marijuana Laws: Here’s What You Need to Know

The new omnibus health bill includes provisions legalizing smokable marijuana products for registered patients. The legalization of smokable marijuana will be a welcome relief for users because alternatives are more expensive and pose an access barrier to those who need it most. People under the medical marijuana program will now use smokable marijuana to manage their medical conditions without breaking the law.

Lawmakers Reach A Compromise

The Minnesota House recently passed a bill to legalize marijuana, but it stalled in the Senate due to GOP resistance. However, its proponents managed to negotiate for changes in the state’s medical marijuana program.

House and Senate formed a bicameral conference committee which came up with an omnibus health bill. The bill proposed several marijuana-related reforms and received overwhelming support in the Senate, meaning that it only needs to governor’s approval to become law.

The new policy will allow adults aged 21 and above to access smokable forms of marijuana. If the governor ratifies it, it will come to effect by March 1, 2022, or earlier, depending on how long it takes stakeholders to develop rules and have them endorsed by the cannabis commissioner.

A Welcome Relief

Legislators hope the omnibus health bill will placate citizens who feel that the Minnesota medical cannabis program is too expensive. Allowing the sale of flowers will improve access and enable users to buy more affordable products. Veterans suffering from PTSD and people with serious health conditions will have a chance to use medical marijuana to improve the quality of their lives without violating drug crime laws.

The Governor Supports the Bill

The health bill is almost guaranteed to become law as Gov. Tim Walt is a vocal advocate of marijuana law reforms. He is of the view that criminalization and prohibition do not work and that adults should be free to make health decisions on their own.

He also notes that the current marijuana laws promote inequity. A disproportionate number of those arrested or serve time for marijuana-related crimes come from underprivileged communities or communities of color. Some are veterans who continue to struggle with the trauma from combat.

However, marijuana advocates are concerned that one proposal in the health bill may jeopardize access to medical marijuana. The new law allows regulators to remove some conditions that qualify for medical marijuana after receiving a petition from a concerned citizen or a task force. The current regulations only allow the commissioner to modify existing conditions or approve new ones.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.
If a county medical examiner’s work is called into question in one case, it can affect all those they were a part of. An independent review is underway of murder cases involving the testimony of the long-time medical examiner in Ramsey County, Minnesota. The review comes in response to a wrongful murder conviction that was recently vacated on the basis that the medical examiner gave flawed medical testimony.
You might ask how plea bargains work if you are considering settling your criminal case by skipping the trial phase. A plea bargain in Minneapolis, MN, happens when a criminal defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest instead of having the prosecution prove his or her guilt at trial. The prosecution agrees to reduce the charges, recommend less harsh penalties, or drop the charges altogether in exchange for a guilty plea.