Jul 31, 2023 - Politics

Marijuana will be legal in Minnesota Aug. 1. Here's what it means for you

Illustration of a pattern of marijuana leaves filling the state of Minnesota.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Recreational marijuana is legal in Minnesota starting Aug. 1.

The big picture: A law passed by the DFL-majority Legislature this year makes Minnesota the 23rd state to legalize the drug for recreational use.

The basics: As of Tuesday, people 21 and older can possess up to 2 pounds of cannabis flower for personal use at home and up to 2 ounces in public. The law also sets limits for possession of concentrate and edibles.

Yes, but: Marijuana retail stores won't open until the new state Office of Cannabis Management's licensing system is up and running. Supporters have told Axios they expect state-licensed dispensaries to open in early 2025.

Between the lines: Seltzers, gummies, and other consumable products made using up to 5mg of hemp-derived THC are still legal and available at a wide range of retailers and restaurants, though they are now subject to a 10% sales tax.

Of note: Tribal governments can set their own rules, and Red Lake Nation has already announced plans to sell recreational marijuana on its northern Minnesota reservation starting Aug. 1.

Zoom in: Here's a look at some of the changes β€” and questions β€” related to Minnesota's move to legalize marijuana:

On where you can smoke: The language approved by the Legislature allows people to smoke cannabis in many public spaces, including on sidewalks, in parks, and on restaurant patios that allow smoking unless a city bans it, as MinnPost reported last month.

  • That's leading some cities to move toward adopting ordinances restricting public use.

On where you can't: Lighting up is prohibited in common areas of rental apartment buildings. Starting in March 2025, smoking and vaping of recreational marijuana in individual rental apartment units will also be banned. Until then, landlords can decide whether to prohibit it.

  • Smoking is also prohibited in cars, indoor public spaces, workplaces, or spaces where a minor might inhale second-hand smoke.
  • Most colleges plan to ban cannabis on campus.

On the road: Driving while high remains illegal. But questions remain about how law enforcement will effectively assess β€” and test β€” whether someone is impaired due to cannabis use.

  • A pilot program will ask drivers suspected of marijuana use to voluntarily provide a saliva sample, per MPR News. The results won't be admissible in court, but they could help state officials determine the technology's effectiveness.

On the job: Required drug testing for cannabis use as a condition of employment will be a thing of the past at many workplaces.

  • Yes, but: Pre-employment screening can still be used for some professions, including doctors, peace officers, firefighters, teachers, and jobs requiring a commercial driver's license. Other jobs can require a test for workers suspected of violating company policies.

On criminal records: More than 60,000 Minnesotans will have low-level marijuana offenses, such as possession of small amounts, expunged from their records. The process is automatic and could take up to a year, per The Associated Press.

Editor's note: This piece has been updated to add more information on the bans for individual apartment units starting March 2025 and to clarify that lighting up is currently prohibited in common areas of rental apartment buildings.

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