The day has finally come! On Tuesday, May 30, 2023, Governor Walz signed bill HF100 into law, clearing the way for Minnesotans over 21 to legally possess and grow marijuana. The newly passed legislation will also expunge low-level cannabis convictions—but that’s just a short summary of the massive 300-page bill.
If the long-awaited legalization of cannabis in Minnesota has left you feeling a bit confused about how exactly this is all gonna go down, read on for a deeper dive into some of the most common questions we’ve been hearing surrounding the passage of this historic legislation.
OKAY, SO WHAT EXACTLY IS LEGAL NOW?
On August 1, 2023, it will become legal for MN residents over 21 to possess, use and grow cannabis at home. Here’s what the new law does:
- Legalizes cannabis/hemp derivatives and cannabis-infused products
- Legalizes home cultivation and weed paraphernalia
- Allows for the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana flower in public and two pounds at home
- Allows for possession of up to 800 mg in edible forms
- Allows for possession of up to 8 grams in concentrate
- Bans synthetic cannabinoids, per the 2022 Board of Pharmacy rule
WHERE WILL CANNABIS BE AVAILABLE ON AUGUST 1?
Specific details on when and where cannabis can be legally purchased are a bit hazy. While legalization takes effect August 1, actions like the establishment of the regulatory office and the opening of legal dispensaries will likely take months or even years. This means you might not be able to buy weed in stores right on August 1. However, if you have a green thumb, you can start growing up to eight cannabis plants at home as soon as August rolls around.
WILL CANNABIS PRODUCTS BE TAXED?
Yes. There will be an additional 10% sales tax on cannabis products on top of the state’s 6.875% general tax rate.
WHAT ELSE DOES THE LEGISLATION COVER?
Along with recreational legalization, much of the bill aims to address decriminalization. In the fight to end historical and systemic discrimination connected to cannabis usage, decriminalization is an essential step—but actually carrying it out can be challenging.
As it stands, misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor marijuana possession charges will start to be automatically expunged from Minnesotans’ criminal records on August 1st, but the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension predicts these actions could take more than a year to finish processing. As for cannabis-related felonies, these charges will become lesser offenses or will no longer be considered crimes, but those affected will have to apply to have their sentences shortened and/or their records cleared.
Additionally, the bill establishes an Office of Cannabis Management for oversight and regulation of the industry in Minnesota. This oversight will not only ensure that cannabis sold in Minnesota meets certain quality standards, but also perform functions like limiting employer drug-testing policies and mitigating adverse employment decisions that result from off-the-clock cannabis use.
DO CITIES OR COUNTIES HAVE CONTROL OVER THEIR OWN CANNABIS REGULATIONS?
Somewhat. Local governments will have the authority to limit the number of dispensaries in their area, as well as keep them away from schools. Local governments are not, however, allowed to ban dispensaries or cannabis use altogether. So while cannabis sales might look different from town to town, the broad strokes of legalization will remain the same statewide.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR HEMP?
So far, Minnesota is the only state to include hemp with cannabis in its legislative efforts. This means that MN legislation will regulate, tax and license changes for all THC products, including those derived from hemp. While many stakeholders in the industrial hemp industry have expressed concerns about how this will affect their businesses, the impact is not fully known. As family hemp farmers and stewards of the industry in the state, we at Verist plan to continue to stay engaged with state lawmakers as we work to ensure a fair shot for all small cannabis businesses in our state.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR VERIST?
For now, not too much will change. Your favorite Verist THC and CBD products will still be available at local retailers and at shopverist.com, and our new THC-infused seltzer will continue to roll out at bars, restaurants and retailers across the state. Over time, we will be adapting and expanding our business to continue to best serve Minnesotans and meet the new demand created by legalization—and we’ll keep you posted as new developments emerge.
Lingering questions about the new legislation or anything in the cannabis world? We always love to hear from you.