MN Legislators Still Side with Feds on Recreational Marijuana
Even though many Minnesota voters want to see the blanket legalization of marijuana in the state, the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal. Minnesota statutes still very much align with federal laws on marijuana being used recreationally.
That doesn’t seem to stop folks from doing it anyway. In October, a traffic stop in Nobles County, for instance, led to the discovery of 70 pounds of marijuana.
The stop resulted in charges of second-degree drug possession and first-degree drug sale for the driver, both serious crimes that can potentially lead to up to 30 years in jail and fines in the millions.
Legislators Working to Legalize, but for Now, Recreational Use is Illegal
Contrary to the serious consequences the accused currently faces, there is opposition to current laws at all levels. One Minnesota state representative recently said on the record that marijuana should be legal recreationally even though it remains illegal federally.
While popular opinion (and the minds of the Minnesota legislators representing us) seems to be shifting, lawmakers haven’t eased up on prosecuting marijuana offenses. So for now, it’s important that all recreational users know the laws surrounding weed possession and sale.
Possession of Marijuana in Minnesota
Recreational marijuana use is not currently legal, but understanding certain steps that have already been taken to decriminalize marijuana in the state may help your possession case.
Marijuana Possession for Non-medical Personal Use
When someone is found in possession of no more than 1.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use, they may be fined up to $200. This crime is considered a non-criminal petty misdemeanor, which means no permanent legal record or probation is required.
Marijuana Found in Your Vehicle
Perhaps the weed isn’t found on your person, but in your car. Up to 1.4 grams of marijuana inside a vehicle is also seen as a petty misdemeanor. However, if you are found transporting more than that, then you will be charged with a higher-level crime — a misdemeanor — that can result in a fine of $1,000, plus up to three months in jail.
Carrying Large Amounts of Cannabis
It is a felony in Minnesota to carry large amounts of cannabis. If you are convicted of possessing between 1.5 ounces and 10 kilos, then you may end up serving five years in prison and owing $10,000 in fines. Penalties only increase further from there.
- Up to fifty kilos of marijuana could land you 20 years and up to $250,000 in fines.
- Possession of 50 to 100 kilos is a fine up to $500,000 and 25 years in prison.
- Anything above 100 kilos can result in up to $1 million in fines and 30 years behind bars.
These penalties for possessing large amounts of weed mirror those associated with convictions for selling marijuana in this state.
Selling Marijuana in Minnesota
While getting caught selling 1.5 ounces or less is nothing more than a petty misdemeanor (resulting in a $200 ticket), getting caught with more means facing felony charges.
- Up to 5 kilos can end in five years in prison and leave you responsible for a $10,000 fine.
- Selling weed in amounts between five and 25 kilos can equal a sentence of 20 years behind bars and a debt of $250,000 in fines.
- Get caught selling between 25 and 50 kilos, and you may spend up to 25 years in prison and pay fines up to $500.000.
- Anything over 50 kilos, you may spend 30 years in prison and pay fines over $1 million.
As you can see, Minnesota may be liberal when it comes to medical marijuana but still takes the sale and possession of recreational marijuana very seriously. Unless you are a state-licensed marijuana dispensary, remember, it is illegal to sell marijuana under any circumstance in Minnesota.
About the Author:
Andrew T. Poole is a Minnesota native who has served in the Army for more than 18 years and is currently a JAG lawyer in the Army Reserves in addition to serving as a partner at LaCourse, Poole & Envall. He has handled thousands of criminal and family law cases over the course of his career and has a firm belief that all hardworking Minnesotans should be entitled to the best possible legal counsel. Mr. Poole boasts a 10/10 Superb rating on Avvo, is Lead Counsel rated, and has been recognized multiple times by SuperLawyers, National Trial Lawyers, and others for his work.