Dozens of new laws take effect today in Minnesota, including the legalization of recreational cannabis use.
Effective today, Minnesotans who are 21 or older can legally use, possess, and grow certain amounts of cannabis.
According to Minnesota’s new Office of Cannabis Management, the law allows people to:
- Use, possess, or transport cannabis paraphernalia;
- Possess or transport up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower in a public place;
- Possess up to 2 pounds of cannabis flower in a private residence;
- Possess or transport up to 8 grams of adult-use concentrate;
- Possess or transport edible cannabis products or lower-potency hemp edibles infused with a combined 800 milligrams or less of THC;
- Give away cannabis flower and products to a person 21 or older in an amount legal for a person to possess in public.
State officials will also begin the process of expunging the records of Minnesotans with petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor cannabis convictions.
Over the last few weeks, cities across the state have been grappling with the question of where outdoor public consumption should be allowed. Some cities are considering or adopting bans in all outdoor public spaces while others are tailoring their ordinances to align with tobacco restrictions.
“The law is silent on whether cannabis can be smoked in public places other than public places governed by the [Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act],” the League of Minnesota Cities said in a recent update. The MCIAA does not include any restrictions on outdoor smoking.
“While the law does not specifically authorize the use of cannabis in public places, it does not create any penalty for use in a public place other than those governed by the MCIAA. If a city would want an enforcement mechanism to prevent the use of cannabis in public places, it would need to adopt an ordinance prohibiting such use and make it a petty misdemeanor,” the league said.
While legalization takes effect today, it could take until the beginning of 2025 for the legal market to be fully operational, leading to concerns among some Republican lawmakers that the black market will continue to flourish “in the period between when marijuana possession and consumption is legalized and when a regulated retail market is established.”
In a letter last week, GOP lawmakers called for a special session to address what they believe are gaps in the law, particularly the confusion surrounding penalties for use and possession by minors.
Law enforcement leaders held a press conference ahead of today’s legalization to address a host of public safety topics related to the law. It will remain a crime to operate a vehicle under the influence of cannabis or to consume the product while driving.
Universal background checks
Also taking effect today is one of two new gun control measures passed last session by the DFL-controlled legislature.
The “universal background checks” law will require anyone who purchases or receives a pistol or a “semiautomatic military-style assault weapon” to first apply for a permit to purchase, which law enforcement will have 30 days to process, according to an explainer from the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus. Law enforcement will be required to reject the application if, among other things, “there exists a substantial likelihood the proposed transferee is a danger to themself or the public,” a summary of the bill says. Until now, no background check was required for transfers of firearms between private parties.
Legislators passed a “red flag” law during the 2023 session, but it won’t take effect until Jan. 1.