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Minnesota legalized medical marijuana use in May 2014 and started dispensing the drug in July 2015. After over seven years of medical cannabis legalization, its medical program remains relatively restrictive and efforts to legalize recreational marijuana have failed several times.
The Land of a Thousand Lakes has slowly but surely been growing its medical marijuana patient count, especially after recent expansion of the medical marijuana program. If you are interested in becoming a patient, here are 10 interesting Minnesota marijuana laws.
Minnesota Marijuana Laws
1. Minors Can Use Medical Marijuana
In Minnesota, minors under the age of 18 are legally allowed to use medical marijuana (MMJ) to treat a qualifying medical condition. An authorized person (parent or legal guardian) over the age of 21 must be designated as a caregiver.
Caregivers can pick up medical marijuana from a dispensary for a patient. Caregivers must complete a criminal background check, which must be renewed every two years, and send a $15 check to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
2. All Forms of Marijuana Are Legal for Medicinal Use
Dried raw cannabis will be allowed for use for patients 21 years and older starting on March 1, 2022 or earlier if testing labs and administrative rules are ready. Minnesota law allows patients to buy up to a 90-day supply of medicine.
Patients and caregivers can purchase medical cannabis from 13 cannabis patients centers across the state. Cannabis patient centers are located in the following cities:
3. Only Qualified Patients Can Consume Marijuana
Minnesota has a growing list of qualifying conditions that are eligible for the medical cannabis program. Qualifying conditions include:
- Tourette syndrome
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), including Crohn's disease
- Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year*
- Intractable pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Autism spectrum disorder (must meet DSM-5)
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Alzheimer's disease
- Chronic pain
- Sickle cell disease
- Chronic motor or vocal tic disorder
*If the illness or its treatment produces one or more of the following: severe or chronic pain; nausea or severe vomiting; or cachexia or severe wasting.
4. Patients Must Pay a $200 Annual Registration Fee
All patients must pay an annual registration fee of $200 online with a credit or debit card or with a check at the U.S. bank website when logged into the registry to be eligible to buy medical cannabis.
A reduced fee of $50 is available for patients who receive the following government assistance:
- Supplemental Security Income
- Social Security Disability (including those transitioned to retirement benefits)
- Medical assistance
- Railroad disability
- VA dependency and indemnity compensation
- Veterans disability benefits
5. Minnesota Does Not Have MMJ Reciprocity
Only medical marijuana patients in Minnesota can purchase cannabis products from the two state-registered manufacturers (Vireo Health of Minnesota and Leafline Labs). Minnesota marijuana law does not allow patients to purchase cannabis products from other medical marijuana programs.
6. Only Testing Laboratories Can Apply for a License
Current Minnesota law limits the program to only two medical cannabis manufacturers. No applications are being accepted for new medical marijuana manufacturers.
However, the state has an open application process for independent testing laboratories. State law requires that medical cannabis be tested for purity and potency by an independent commissioner-approved laboratory.
7. Growing Marijuana at Home is Illegal
Cannabis cultivation at home is illegal for all Minnesota residents. Only the approved manufacturers are licensed to produce cannabis for the program.
8. Penalties are Enforced for the Sale and Use of Marijuana
Recreational cannabis use is illegal in the state of Minnesota. Possession or gifting of 42.5 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable with up to a $200 fine. A conditional discharge can be approved for first-time offenders. A judge may order the completion of a drug education course.
Possession of more than 42.5 grams and less than 10 kg is a felony punishable with up to five years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
9. Employers Cannot Discriminate Against MMJ Patients
Under Minnesota law, employers cannot discriminate against MMJ patients solely based on their medical marijuana use when hiring or firing them. However, employees can be fired if they test positive for THC and were impaired on the job during hours of employment.
10. Workers’ Compensation Does Not Cover MMJ
A Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that workers compensation does not cover medical cannabis for work-related injuries because the drug is a controlled substance under federal law.
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