Throughout Minnesota, people have used medical marijuana to help treat ailments since the implementation of the Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research Act, but there are some changes to keep in mind in 2021. While medical marijuana is permitted for use in Minnesota, there can be serious consequences for those who neglect to obtain medical permission to possess marijuana or who possess more than the amount that they are allowed.
The following is some additional information about the Act and changes to anticipate in 2021.
The Legalization of Medical Marijuana in Minnesota
In 2014, new legislation was introduced to legalize the possession and use of medical marijuana in Minnesota. The law is known as the Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research Act. It introduced a registry program that enables patients to use medical cannabis to treat certain types of conditions. Patients can apply with the Minnesota Department of Health to qualify for the program.
The Act also enabled two medical cannabis manufacturers to be registered in Minnesota, requiring each manufacturer to have a single manufacturing facility along with eight designated distribution sites within the state. In addition, manufacturers are only permitted to distribute medical marijuana in the form of a liquid, pill, orally dissolvable product, topical product, or water-soluble cannabinoid multi-particulate.
Patients with certain conditions can qualify for the registry program, including cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or HIV, seizures, Tourette’s syndrome, and terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than one year. As of 2021, the list will also include chronic motor and chronic vocal tics, along with sickle cell disease.
How to Determine Eligibility
To find out if they qualify for the registry program under the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota residents need to consult their doctor about medical cannabis as a viable treatment for a particular condition. The physician will then assess whether the patient qualifies and, if he or she qualifies, provide certification.
After the physician has approved the patient, the physician will then submit a certification for the patient to the state’s Department of Public Health. Once certified, patients can join the registry with an annual fee of $200. The state will then allow registered individuals to buy medical cannabis products from a qualifying facility using their registry number and state-issued ID.
Which Products Don’t Apply?
Medical cannabis products are only permitted in specific forms such as pills, oils, topical products, or orally dissolvable products. These exclude any edibles, flowers, or leaves.
Patients also need to purchase products from a registered facility in the state, which will clearly package and label medical cannabis products with federally approved packaging.
Any products that fall outside of these types are illegal to possess and use, and may lead to criminal drug charges and convictions.
Quantity Limitations and Possession Charges
It’s important for patients on the registry to avoid exceeding the allowed quantities or supplying people with medical cannabis if they aren’t on the registry. Patients in the registry are also only allowed to possess a certain quantity of medical marijuana to treat their conditions. In Minnesota, the amount that patients are allowed to possess is a 30-day supply. However, any individuals who are found in possession of this or any other amount without prior registration as a medical cannabis patient can face legal repercussions. If registered cannabis users are found in possession of quantities greater than the allowed amount, they may also face marijuana possession charges.
If a person is found to be in illegal possession of marijuana in Minnesota, there are several possession laws to consider.
If an individual who is not on the registry is in possession of 42.5 grams of marijuana, he or she could be required to pay fines up to $500 and face misdemeanor charges. People in possession of anywhere from 42.5 grams to 10 kilos face felony charges, which may lead to a sentence of five years in prison along with fines of as much as $5,000. Having over 50 kilos could lead to a 20-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. People in possession of over 100 kilos face the most serious charges, potentially receiving a 30-year prison sentence and fines as high as one million dollars.
Remaining Compliant with Minnesota Medical Marijuana Laws
As of 2021, the law will largely remain the same, with the noted additions of chronic vocal and motor tics and sickle cell disease to the conditions list. If individuals wish to use medical marijuana to help treat a certain condition, they can speak with their doctor and apply to qualify for the registry program. With the state’s approval, patients can acquire and use this treatment safely and legally.