Eight Ways To Learn From The Minnesota Democrats’ Bill To Legalize Marijuana!
The large bill covers a lot of ground, but it must first pass through a number of obstacles and maybe undergo changes. If the Legislature approves the recreational cannabis bill this year, Minnesotans may grow their own marijuana plants at home, have the substance delivered to their door, and have previous offenses cleared from their records.
The initial suggestion from House DFLers (and a comparable bill in the Senate) covers a lot of material, from social justice and hemp-related legislation to drug tests and teenage education, even though the bill must be considered by various committees and will probably be altered repeatedly.
The Star Tribune examined the almost 250-page measure in order to respond to inquiries readers had recently made about Marijuana use in Minnesota. Certain issues, such as when the legal market will formally launch, how much tax money the sector would provide, and how much things might cost, cannot yet have definite answers. However, if the proposal is approved as is, the following would take place:
Possession and Use
The maximum amount of cannabis that Minnesotans 21 and older could purchase at once was two ounces of cannabis flower, eight grams of cannabis concentrate, and 800 milligrams of edible goods. In addition to the standard sales tax, purchasers of cannabis items would be required to pay an additional 8% tax. The same restrictions would be in place for possession in public areas. Adults, however, are permitted to keep up to five pounds of cannabis flower at home.
Additionally, they were allowed to grow up to eight cannabis plants in their own home, but only four of those plants could be mature and flowering at once. Only at home, on private property, and on the grounds of a business or event that has a license for on-site consumption of marijuana products will smoking and edible use is permitted.
Social Justice and Expungement
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension would endeavor to automatically seal all connected records of arrests, prosecutions, convictions, and sentencing for the nearly 60,000 Minnesotans with low-level marijuana offenses.
The five-member Cannabis Expungement Board may hear cases involving marijuana-related felonies, and depending on a number of criteria, such as the use of firearms or violence, it may decide to expunge the case or reduce the offense.
Other social justice proposals in the law include allocating proceeds from the cannabis tax to grants for community development in places where marijuana prohibition has had a disproportionately negative impact. People from underprivileged backgrounds would have a better chance of receiving a cannabis business license if there was a “social equity applicant” measure in place.
Licenses for Sellers, Processors, and Other Parties
The number of licenses the state grants to growers, processors, retailers, and other cannabis businesses as well as who is eligible to apply for those licenses will be up to the Office of Cannabis Management, a new state agency. The office’s objectives would be to “encourage a craft sector” and to guarantee a sufficient supply of marijuana-related products.
Advocates for the state’s cannabis economy have expressed fear that big, out-of-state businesses would drive out local producers and operators. Only “microbusinesses,” defined as those with a small number of plants, are permitted to have all three important licenses: grower, processor, and retailer.
In the application procedure, they would be given preference. The agency would manage 13 separate licenses in all, including those for medicinal marijuana, on-site consumption, low-dose edibles, and cannabis delivery services.
Drug Tests and Employee Protections
Employers would no longer be able to require drug testing for cannabis as a condition of employment or randomly test workers for THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. In the event of an accident or a suspicion of drug use while on company time or property, employers may still have policies regarding on-site and around-the-clock use and may administer drug tests.
Police, firefighters, teachers, medical professionals, and other occupations that frequently deal with the public are excluded, so periodic cannabis testing may still be necessary as a condition of employment. Federal law-mandated testing standards would still apply to truck drivers and other professions under federal regulation.
According to the proposed law, the public safety commissioner of Minnesota would be obligated to start a pilot “oral fluid roadside test” program to ascertain whether a driver is under the influence of drugs. Because THC can be detected for weeks after usage, there is no simple way to tell whether someone is intoxicated, unlike with alcohol.
According to the bill, the pilot program would assist the state in estimating the number of drunk drivers on the road and determining whether a roadside test is effective. The pilot program’s fluid testing was not admissible in court. In order to identify which substance impaired a motorist, state authorities would be tasked with recommending money for police departments to recruit more drug recognition specialists.
The law would create fines for selling Marijuana to minors, doing so without a license, and cultivating or possessing more marijuana than is legal. Cities may enact laws designating marijuana usage in public areas as a minor infraction.
‘lower Potency Edibles’ — Think 3.2 Beer
The edible forms of THC produced from hemp that was authorized last year will endure. The goods, which have up to five milligrams of THC per serving and 50 milligrams per package, would be renamed as “reduced potency edibles” under the recreational marijuana proposal.
They might be produced using hemp or marijuana. The lower potency goods would have their own licensing system and be categorized separately from ordinary marijuana edibles, which may contain twice as much THC.
THC-infused beverages could be served in some legally permitted taverns and breweries. If they were authorized, liquor stores could sell the less potent items as well. So too may supermarkets and convenience stores, provided that they keep the goods behind the register and identify their customers.
Prevention and Instruction
Millions from the state’s general fund would be set aside under the proposed legislation to establish drug education curricula for middle and high schools, from which parents could exempt their children. By the 2026–2027 academic year, a district must have a program in place that focuses on “the health implications of cannabis use on children and adolescents.”
Funding would be provided to the state Department of Health to promote cannabis education among expectant and nursing mothers. The bill also allocates $36 million over four years for grants for the treatment and prevention of substance use disorders.
Medical Cannabis Market Opens Up
Only two businesses have been permitted to grow, process, and sell medical marijuana in Minnesota for many years. Anyone could apply for those licenses under this bill. Both newly registered medical cannabis farmers and processors may sell retail goods, but neither was allowed to do so.
Retailers with permits to sell marijuana for medical purposes may also have permits to sell recreational goods, deliver cannabis, and plan events. Retailers could sell both medicinal and recreational marijuana items on the same property, but they would need to be stored in separate sections of the store with separate entrances.