Highlights of Minnesota’s Marijuana Bill
The Minnesota House and Senate have both passed an adult-use marijuana bill — a bill Gov. Tim Walz has pledged to sign
So, with the state on the precipice of legalizing recreational marijuana for residents over 21 years old, what will the roll out look like in the months to come?
Here’s a brief overview of what will happen next:
When does the law go into effect?
Different aspects of the law go into effect at different times. Things like possession, growing, and the use of marijuana are expected to become legal under the bill starting Aug. 1.
Because of the need to establish the Office of Cannabis Management, which will be charged with processing licensure and other rollout tasks, it will be at least a year before you can buy recreational marijuana from a dispensary.
Possession and growing
Under the bill, people could have 2 pounds of cannabis flower at home and 2 ounces in public. They could also have 800 milligrams of THC in edibles and 8 grams of cannabis concentrate.
Up to eight cannabis plants can be grown per residence, with no more than four being mature and flowering at the same time.
The bill does not allow local governments to opt out of allowing cannabis businesses. However, it does allow governments to regulate the number of businesses to one retailer per 12,500 residents.
The establishment of an Office of Cannabis Management
The establishment of this office would begin July 1 of this year. The office will oversee the recreational adult-use program, the state’s existing medical cannabis program, and the hemp-derived THC market. The medical program is currently regulated by the Minnesota Department of Health, while the hemp-derived marijuana market is under the Department of Pharmacy. Oversight for both will be moved to the Office of Cannabis Management.
A Cannabis Advisory Council will also be established.
Taxes on cannabis products will be 10% for four years. After that time, the Office of Cannabis Management would have the jurisdiction to change the tax rate.
Hemp-derived products will be subject to this tax. Medical marijuana products will not.
Will you still be able to get hemp-derived THC drinks and edibles?
Yes. Nothing will immediately change in the hemp-derived THC market that currently operates in all sorts of retail spaces across the state. It’s important to note that hemp-derived THC products are federally legal and minimally regulated in the state currently.
But the bill does make the sale of these products legal in liquor stores.
What changes in the hemp space is taxation and licensing. Once the tax structure for cannabis products in the state is established, both bills’ tax rates would apply to “low potency” hemp-derived products. This means hemp-derived products would be taxed the same as recreational marijuana products.
Retailers would also need to apply for a license once a licensure process is established. However, licensure will be easier and far cheaper for hemp-derived retailers, processors, and growers, and there is no cap on the number of licenses available in the hemp-derived market.
The expungement process for marijuana misdemeanors would begin immediately but the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has estimated it will take until August of next year to complete the process. A committee will be formed to consider the expungement of felony-level cannabis crimes.
The bill includes provisions for a social equity program that would establish a special scoring structure for licensing that includes provisions for applicants who meet social equity criteria. The bill also includes 16 licensing categories. Scoring looks to ensure individuals and communities most harmed by prohibition have an opportunity to engage in the industry.