The world of growing marijuana in MN is a fascinating landscape. It's marked by shifting laws, evolving public sentiment, and an enthusiastic community of growers eager to cultivate this once forbidden plant. The journey of growing marijuana in Minnesota is a complex one, filled with legal intricacies, historical context, and a thriving community of enthusiasts. So, let's delve into this exciting world and uncover the realities of growing marijuana in Minnesota.
The Historical Significance of Cannabis in MN
Cannabis has a long and storied history in human civilization. It has been cultivated as a source of food, fiber, and psychoactive substances for thousands of years. Even George Washington, the first President of the United States, was known to cultivate cannabis on his property. In the early days of American history, there were no prohibitions against the growth or use of cannabis, and it was widely grown and used for various purposes.
However, the 1930s marked a significant turning point. Laws were implemented that prohibited the use and cultivation of cannabis. Fast forward to the 21st century, a new wave of legalization and decriminalization is sweeping across the United States, with Minnesota being no exception.
Partial Legalization in Minnesota
As of August 2023, Minnesota has enacted a partial legalization law for marijuana. The law entails:
- Rescheduling of marijuana to Schedule 3.
- Continued prohibition of adult possession above a certain weight threshold.
- Permission for home cultivation of up to four mature flowering plants.
- Criminal penalties for possession exceeding the legal limit.
Despite the partial legalization, a number of criminal penalties still apply under the Minnesota State Statutes, particularly for growing marijuana in MN without a commercial license.
Understanding the Current Laws for Growing Marijuana in MN
As of 2023, the Minnesota legislature has made significant reforms to the statutes governing the cultivation of cannabis. Here's a breakdown of the current laws:
Cultivation of Cannabis in the First Degree: Cultivating more than 23 cannabis plants is considered a felony, with a potential sentence of up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Cultivation of Cannabis in the Second Degree: Cultivating more than 16 but not more than 23 cannabis plants is considered a gross misdemeanor, with a potential sentence of up to one year in prison or a fine of up to $3,000, or both.
The law also includes specific definitions for the terms "cultivation" and "cannabis plant". Understanding these definitions is crucial for anyone interested in growing marijuana in MN.
The Cannabis Castle Doctrine: Home Cultivation of Marijuana
The partial legalization law in Minnesota provides a safe harbor for home cultivation. Under the law:
- Up to eight cannabis plants, with a maximum of four mature flowering plants, may be grown at a single residence.
- The cultivation must take place at the primary residence of an individual 21 years of age or older.
- The cultivation space must be enclosed, locked, and not open to public view.
Furthermore, the law imposes certain restrictions on the possession of harvested cannabis in a residence. Specifically, a person may possess up to two pounds of harvested "cannabis flower" in their residence.
However, the law does not impose a weight limit on cannabis that is still growing on the plant. This means that as long as the cannabis is still growing on the plant, a person can have more than two pounds of it in their home.
The Legal Landscape of Cannabis in Minnesota
Despite the partial legalization, cannabis prohibition still exists in Minnesota. Laws criminalizing marijuana or cannabis are considered prohibition laws. However, the prohibition has led to an increase in supply and usage rate of marijuana in the United States.
In light of the prohibition, it is essential to be aware of the current laws and regulations regarding growing marijuana in MN to avoid any legal troubles. In the meantime, marijuana defense attorneys like Thomas Gallagher are working diligently to defend innocent people caught up in these criminal prosecutions.
The Future of Marijuana Legalization in Minnesota
Minnesota's most recent and promising debate around marijuana legalization began when a House committee started examining a comprehensive 243-page bill that would legalize use for those aged 21 and over. The bill, which aims to decriminalize possession and use of marijuana and expunge the records of people previously charged with lower-level marijuana crimes, still has a long way to go in the House and Senate.
If the bill becomes law, it will take some time before legal marijuana is widely available. The growth cycle of the plant, along with licensing hurdles for retailers, means that the product might not be widely available until sometime in 2025.
The bill also provides for the creation of a new state entity, the Office of Cannabis Management, which would oversee the regulated market for marijuana, the existing medical cannabis program, and the recently allowed THC-derived edible and beverage products.
The Business of Cannabis in Minnesota
With the legalization of recreational marijuana, Minnesota's burgeoning hemp market could get a significant boost. The industry would need growers, product manufacturers, wholesalers, transporters, retailers, testers, and more, all of whom would need to be licensed and subject to a fee.
The bill also includes provisions to encourage startups, particularly entrepreneurs from communities where marijuana prohibition has had a societal toll. There are millions of dollars in grants or loans available for those trying to break into the industry as part of newly created CanStartUp, CanNavigate, and CanTrain programs.