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Medical Marijuana Laws in Minnesota

By October 19, 2009

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This week, the Justice Department issued a memo to federal agents that medical marijuana users and their legal suppliers should not be targeted for arrest or prosecution.

Medical marijuana has been legalized in thirteen states, but because marijuana is illegal at the federal level, marijuana users can still be arrested and prosecuted for possession. The Bush administration held the position that all marijuana users, medical marijuana patients or not, are breaking the law, and should be prosecuted.   Now the Obama administration appears to think that targeting state-approved medical marijuana patients is a waste of time and resources, with the Justice Department memo advising federal prosecutors that they "should not focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana".

Medical marijuana isn't legal in Minnesota...yet. But the new ruling from the feds might encourage lawmakers in Minnesota to make it so. One of the main arguments against legalizing medical marijuana is a reluctance to pass state laws that contradict federal ones, and the ensuing problems for law enforcement.

A bill has been introduced to the State Legislature nine times since 1999. The latest attempt to legalize the drug was a bi-partisan bill to legalize medical marijuana, which was approved by several House and Senate committees in the last legislative session before being vetoed by Governor Tim Pawlenty in May 2009. Pawlenty opposed the bill as he belives that legalizing marijuana would increase drug problems and crime, and that marijuana poses "serious public safety and health risks."

Is there any chance for legal medical marijuana in Minnesota? Tim Pawlenty has said that he won't be running for re-election as Governor in 2010, so after that, one way is a possible constitutional amendment, which could be in 2010. Or, another bill could be introduced in 2011.

So for now, marijuana remains illegal in Minnesota. What are marijuana laws in Minnesota?

The current law makes possession of up to 42.5g, the equivalent of 1.5oz of marijuana, a misdemeanor punishable with a fine up to $200 and possible drug education classes. Possession of larger amounts, and selling any quantity of marijuana, are felonies with jail time and fines dependent on the amount of the drug.

Carrying marijuana in a car is considered a more serious offense, with possession of just 1.5g or more a felony carrying possible jail time and fines.  Driving under the influence of marijuana or any controlled drug is also illegal and may result in driver's license suspension.

Minnesota is also one of about half of the states which tax marijuana and require marijuana packets to have a stamp confirming that taxes have been paid. In reality - and unsurprisingly - most do not, but the state of Minnesota did collect $11,000 in marijuana taxes in 2004 from fewer than twenty taxpayers. The tax rate for marijuana is $3.50 for each gram, or portion of a gram.

The point of taxing an illegal substance means that selling marijuana without stamps showing the tax has been paid is tax evasion. In Minnesota, someone arrested for marijuana possesion who has failed to comply with the tax laws can also face additional penalties for tax evasion of up to $14,000 and seven years in prison. Usually, these penalties are reserved for dealers rather than the average recreational user.

Medical marijuana is supported by a majority of Minnesotans, around 64% according to a 2008 poll conducted for KSTP-TV.  What do you think? Do you side with Tim Pawlenty? or do you believe that Minnesotans with chronic health conditions should be allowed to benefit from medical marijuana?

Marijuana Leaves. Photo United States Fish and Wildlife Service

October 19, 2009 at 8:26 pm
(1) P says:

Minnesotans with chronic health conditions should be allowed to benefit from medical marijuana…..legalizing marijuana would not increase drug problems and crime. And as for health risk, oral consumption is safe but not cost affordable under current laws. Why give money to foreign crime syndicats…. People are going to smoke or eat it one way or the other, why not allow the state to controle production and tax revenues. We need the tax’s don’t we?

October 19, 2009 at 11:02 pm
(2) Michelle says:

I love marijuana! It relives symptoms of depression and bipolar without the risk of overdosing which is possible with many prescription drugs prescribed for such disorders.

October 20, 2009 at 9:26 am
(3) Adam says:

Great article. I’m pro medical marijuana. Pawlenty is a looser!

October 20, 2009 at 11:55 am
(4) perry says:

try living in Iowa with CHUCK GRASSLY he still beleves in the refer maddness mentality (STONEAGE) But maybe he is that old (It is only a plant put here by somone wiser than any of us )If anone can benifit from it meds. should as long as you can keep the big drug corp. out of it every one from farmer that could grow hemp agean to the ones that need it for medical resons to the satrday night smoker would be alot better off .Not to say anything of the load it would take off the juditial system and tax dollers that alone would free up for the bad ones like meth labs .
Grassly spouts off about the gateway drug thing well the new gateway drugs are legal and sold to anyone including kids openly any were and no one cares they are called ( ENERGY DRINKS ) Think about it people!!! over half the cans say on them not good for kids but aslong as you have the cash you can buy them some kids do 4 or more a day comeon people ( THINK )

October 20, 2009 at 1:41 pm
(5) JOSEPH says:

Its about time we make it legal in the state of Minnesota and around the country. It is natural and is not made in some lab like all the opiates the drug companies and doctors push on their patients. The benefits outweigh the negatives and it is stupid that its not legal. Also we can do a lot with the tax money such as; teach people the affects of doing real drugs like meth, heroine and alcohol. Alcohol is a 1000 times more deadly then marijuana and prohibition didn’t work for alcohol. Marijuana is never going to go away. Its time to realize it and embrace what god has provided for us to enjoy. And this is all coming from someone who used it in his early years, but it does nothing for me, so I don’t use it But if someone wants to enjoy it they should have the right. Its time the government and all the special interests mobsters mind their own business and worry about the next war they are going to start.

October 20, 2009 at 8:23 pm
(6) Mike says:

It is a VICTIMLESS crime. Other drugs, including legal alcohol, has victims all the time.

October 21, 2009 at 3:21 am
(7) Chixco says:

Are there any good MJ dealers in Minn? I am looking for 1.35 oz

October 21, 2009 at 1:33 pm
(8) Patrick says:

The serious way to consider this:

The only way for the government to “Control” us is by having everything under the sun “illegal” and, as the government wants us, we are scared of our masters like trained dogs, in the hopes of not going to prison. Marijuana is only a control mechanism. It is not a dangerous drug.

Now, only thing we can do, is flood our politicians’ offices with “angry and upset” letters.

Even a dog has the right to be happy.

October 23, 2009 at 2:00 am
(9) Allan Kooiman says:

I support medical marijuana 100% I suffer from major depression and severely worsening Raynualds disease and it relieves my symptoms to almost non existant. I never did like Tim Pawlenty thats why I didnt vote for him

October 25, 2009 at 12:54 pm
(10) Joe Mama says:

It should be legal for medical use.

October 25, 2009 at 1:03 pm
(11) BIG D says:


October 26, 2009 at 5:45 pm
(12) Leslie Davis says:


Legalizing drugs would:

1. Reduce street gangs and organized crime
2. Make our streets and homes safer
3. Unclog the court system
4. End prison overcrowding
5. Reduce official and police corruption
6. Save taxpayers many millions of dollars
7. Eliminate illegal labs
8. Properly dispose of toxic waste from drug production
9. Treat drug users as a health matter not a crime problem
10. Free up police to fight crimes against people and property
11. Provide safer drugs for those who can’t help using them
12. Reduce the spread of AIDS, hepatitis, and other diseases
13. Halt erosion of personal liberties
14. Expand help for addicts
15. Increase educational programs depicting the perils of drug use

October 28, 2009 at 12:28 am
(13) MN native says:

At $3.50 per gram, tax alone on a quarter is $24.50. You can get that for $20 on the streets! (depending on city of course)

This tax rate is too high in my opinion, but if decriminalization was to occur, sales would drop, and growing would go up.

Even so, if MJ was sold in cigarette packs (same size/weight) I wouldn’t hesitate in purchase. The new question is, what would insurance co-pays be like?

November 2, 2009 at 11:43 am
(14) adult driver education minneapolis says:

That’s just one way of looking the good side of legalizing drugs. I would have to say that drugs should still not be legalized for people who drives. For medical use, its great but legalizing it for other cause is an entirely different issue.

November 4, 2009 at 8:39 pm
(15) anthony says:

im a regesterd user in california…but now in M.N. for medical reasons…i have free heathcare threw my reservation……now im going to court for poss….it sucks…i have so many pills prescribed to me if i took all of them like diricted im a walking zombie….i have kids…i cant be that way with mood swings and all…so i choose herp and so did my doctor……..what could i do???????

November 6, 2009 at 7:21 pm
(16) vaporizerheatgun says:

I just hope medical marijuana is in a transitional phase to eventually being legal on a federal level. That’s really all we can hope for because the way it is now is just ridiculous.

April 10, 2010 at 2:02 am
(17) worried wife says:

my husband is in the shower trying to swet the ickyness of the vicodin out, he has degenerative disk disease, hes been pucking all day, he is trying to do it the legal way, he went to town and, more pain even after 3 high dose vicodin today! So down goes another, the worst part is is that he lost 60 pounds from the vicodin, he cant eat, he cant sleep. he cant even pick up his three year old son, this never happened on marrijuana.

April 15, 2010 at 1:57 pm
(18) MN College Student says:

I have really bad ADHD, I dropped out of high school twice and had to be a super duper senior, the only reason I was actually able to obtain my diploma was because late in high school I was given adderall, to keep me zombie like and obedient in class. Adderall (amphetamines) take a toll on your body and psychologically dealing with the come down of the drug is unbearable. I hate taking it but without it I’m off the walls, I can’t sit, I can’t focus, I’m all over the place. My first few months taking it I lost a good chunk of weight and eating became a chore. But using MJ after the Adderall starts to wear off takes all the terrible side effects away. Appetite is there, no mood swings and I feel clear headed and calm instead of anxious.

When I first started to use MJ it was more of a rebellious act against society but after years of daily use, I would just like to say that MJ should be easily accessible to the people who seek it, without fear of consequence, aside from getting baked.

We are halfway there, its everywhere, everyone smokes, students, teachers, parents, grandparents, terminally ill people, athletes, politicians, musicians, lawyers, doctors, blue collar workers, entrepreneurs, police, soldiers… It goes on im sure this is just from personal experience. I’m glad I got my diploma and now I’m in college and doing great but society sucks, roads are crappy, foreign policy sucks, cities are dirty and crime ridden, the healthcare system is f***ed, were depleting natural resources, there is no distribution of wealth the trickle down effect is absolutely tyrannical bulls*** etc, etc… If I can smoke a joint and do my homework in peace without dealing with the true hypocritical nature of civilization, being poor, being in a s*** ton of debt just for GOING TO SCHOOL then I would say that the joint is doing not only me but the whole world a great deal of good. The picture of a high school kid getting stoned and eating cheetos is a joke, there are people like that but take away the weed and they will still be on the couch eating cheetos.

In the past year i have binge drank 0 times which cant be said for many of my peers, ive had 0 hangovers and blackouts, no huge regrets, and i have not sat down behind the wheel intoxicated at all. I have a 3.8 GPA in school right now and I’m in my 4th year of employment at UPS. I’m smart, dedicated to learning, healthy, enthusiastic about life and I’m looking forward to a bright future. Without adderall & MJ I would likely be unemployed, without a diploma and depressed about life as a whole.

I’m not ashamed of being a heavy user of MJ, i’m not all about hiding it and its perfectly legal to me. I don’t have cancer or anything, but the quality of my life would be so much worse without MJ. Tim pawlenty would make better toilet paper than a governor.

Let’s use the money currently spent on raids to research and really find out the true nature of what it does and how, the effect is simply beautiful.

April 20, 2010 at 11:32 am
(19) joshua says:

plese help pass the law i have ptsd and they have me takeing like 6 differnt pills for it pot would help out even better then the pills im takeing but i caint smoke it cause the doctor tests me every month for it cause i told him it would help out more then the pills so if any 1 will help me thank you and god bless and if u have any advise on ow i can get some or anything on it let me knoe at joshua_stenstrom@hotmail.com imi from st paul mn

December 9, 2010 at 9:20 pm
(20) Mike says:

Marijuana prohibition is just ridiculous. I have Tourettes Syndrome and degenerative disk disorder. I’ve had three surgeries and I’m now disabled. Marijuana helps my pain, my anxiety, and makes me feel better. There is nothing I can’t do after smoking Marijuana. I’d rather be able to smoke Marijuana than be addicted to opiates, as I am now. This is horrible stuff! I feel like a god damned Heroin addict now! I can’t sleep, I don’t eat, I have to take more and more of these pills that make me feel sick and are probably going to be the death of me, and my doctor threatens to stop prescribing pain medication if I test positive for Marijuana. If allowed to smoke it, I’d definitely take less of the pills, I could relax, and even have an appetite. Forcing me to take more addictive legal drugs is just backwards. I fear I can’t live this way. This stuff is so much worse than weed, and it’s legal!?! There is nothing wrong with Marijuana, except that it’s illegal. Currently, you’re forcing me to drive around on opiates and now I’m addicted to this horrid stuff! That’s supposed to be better than smoking weed every once in awhile?!
Alcohol and tobacco are both much worse drugs than Marijuana, and if it can help keep people off of opiates, I’m all for it. After 2 years on Dilaudid, I feel sick all the time when I run out of these, and Doctors don’t want to increase your prescription when they no longer work. It’s very hard to get anyone to even prescribe pain medications at all anymore. I have to drive about 30 miles (all the way to St. Paul) every time just to get pain medications refilled!!! Keeping such a helpful and harmless, natural drug illegal is just pathetic. Nobody should be in jail for Marijuana, period. Jail messes people up much more than Marijuana!!! The law is much more harmful than the drug!!! Just legalize it already and stop criminalizing people who are not hurting anyone!!! Nothing pisses me off more than these victimless crime laws!!! I will never understand why anyone would want to keep anyone else from feeling better. It’s just pathetic. YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS GOOD FOR ME!!! I am the only one who can say what makes me feel ok. Get the laws out of my mind and out of my pain!!! I am so sick and tired of dealing with this my entire life. YES, my brain is different than yours and this perfectly natural, cheap and relatively harmless substance helps me. I have always been, and I am still the only person who can tell what makes me feel better or worse.

December 27, 2010 at 2:44 pm
(21) MB888 says:

Read this article and watch this guys videos! IT IS THE TRUTH!

“Run From The Cure: How Cannabis Cures Cancer And Why No One Knows”


Cannabis has been our primary medicine before the FDA stepped in with their pharmaceutical drugs. These company’s cannot patent a plant, so no patent equals no profits.

They are not in the business to help people but instead to help their wallets by developing treatments and temporary relief, they are NOT in the business for CURES.

GOOGLE a study done by our government in 1974 that found cannabis to be the only thing they knew of to cure cancer. Before they could continue on with the study the Government of course shut down the operation. They wanted to find things that were bad about cannabis but found something wayyy opposite.

Of course our government told us that it can kill you and it is harmful even tho they knew it cured cancer.

God gave us the medicine, but man has taken it away.

Cannabis is the most medicinal plants known to man and is one of the safest.

We were meant to smoke it!

Watch this video about scientists finding out that the most amount of receptors in our body our cannabiniod receptors which are triggered by ingesting cannabis. They also open parts of our conscious that wouldn’t be known without ingesting cannabis.

December 27, 2010 at 2:47 pm
(22) MB888 says:

“Cannabinoid Receptors In The Human Body”


Here’s the link to that video.

December 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm
(23) MB888 says:





I also want to add that our American money says “IN GOD WE TRUST”

How ironic?

May 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm
(24) justin says:

i have a montana medical card and would like to know if that is still valid in minnesota

August 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm
(25) sboyden says:

I think that because it’s a natural substance it should be legal in proportionate doses, for medical reasons.

Just think alcohol and tobacco are just as bad but legal and I don’t get what the hang up is on mj anyway.

October 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm
(26) Chun-D says:

A Freakin Let Down To Every 1..

Im native american and a rec.med user Might as well bend over
So TIMMY P can break out the shocker..Ya dig??
if your Native american & a smoker (stay outta minnesota)I smoke for for my eye problems ive had since I was a lil guy..
Anywayz He needs to go back to hell where he belongs

May 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm
(27) tony N. says:

I have both multiple sclirosus and copd emphazyme. medical marajuana has been a blessing for my symptoms. it helps my pain, stops my muscle spazums that ms gives me. it greatly improves my appetite so i can actually eat a real meal. It lowers my depresion so i can feel like a nearly normal person. Some times when i get sick from a cold or virus wich happens all the time due to my comprimized imune system if i just cough i lose control of my bowels. more often then not its out in public. Wich is so humiliating to me i feel like crawling in a hole and dying. medical marajuana remove the negative affects of sress that comes with dealing with all the savage symptoms of ms that i have had to deal with for over 16 years! i done even have to smoke it i can vaporize it or take irt oraly in a medicated food product that only makes this medicine better.No smoke damage for my lungs no second hand smoke for anyone else. no negative side effects of any consiquence. its easy on my body And i get to actualy enjoy be around my family and freinds! even if i fill my pants with crap, i can bear the shame without such unbearable dificulty. There is no other man made medication that works as well with so few complications is such a natural way in all the history of mankind!
. Ii have lost my grand parents,both my wife and i lost our parents and we have had to endure the lose of our daughter as well . tell me just how in the hell i could ever have told any of them that i have a better moral beilif then them and am going to force them to life with –curable suffering– because i dont like the meds they use.Or because i can. what kind of human being can look into the eyes of a loved one knowing they are going to prolong needless suffering?

July 24, 2012 at 8:24 pm
(28) mary says:

Genesis 1:29…then GOD said “i give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. they will be yours for food.”………….so as long as we dont smoke it, we’re good. right………..that being said i got in trouble for smoking marijuana, for pain issues. so i had to go to doctor and find another way. well now i am on muscle relaxers and pain pills with codeine, i get to look forward to this everyday for the rest of my life. then it gives me heartburn and a headache. so every 6 hours i take 8 pills, and have to do drug reviews every 3 months because they are addictive.not to mention the side effects, liver damage bleeding ulcers etc… hows that better than smoking a joint a day? i might get addicted to marijuana, or i’m guaranteed to get addicted to my pain pills.

July 24, 2012 at 8:24 pm
(29) mary says:

Genesis 1:29…then GOD said “i give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. they will be yours for food.”………….so as long as we dont smoke it, we’re good. right………..that being said i got in trouble for smoking marijuana, for pain issues. so i had to go to doctor and find another way. well now i am on muscle relaxers and pain pills with codeine, i get to look forward to this everyday for the rest of my life. then it gives me heartburn and a headache. so every 6 hours i take 8 pills, and have to do drug reviews every 3 months because they are addictive.not to mention the side effects, liver damage bleeding ulcers etc… hows that better than smoking a joint a day? i might get addicted to marijuana, or i’m guaranteed to get addicted to my pain pills.

August 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm
(30) Mike says:

Alcohol destroys lives and families, but nobody cares about that. Marijuana, used properly, is a great asset for people who refuse to support the legal (corporate) drug trade in the U.S.

August 31, 2012 at 1:30 am
(31) T says:

You wanna know what i dont get? Why is Alcohol legal and Marijuana isn’t? lets compare them
Alcohol: rage,fight,kill,rape,steal,suicidal thoughts/attempts, etc

While on the other hand…

Marijuana: ALWAYS smiling or getting a bad case of the giggles (everythings funny as hell!),Eat, Drink something to get rid of cottonmouth, relaxes/helps the body from stress and pain, etc. Finally after a little while you gently come back down from the high/or if you’ve smoked enough you’ll get tired and sleep.

Which one would you prefer? (this is my comparison of the two)

September 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm
(32) Mark lindberg says:

There is nothing wrong with smoking pot there is something wrong with pawlenty

September 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm
(33) michael says:

I have suffered from violent migraine headaches daily for more than a decade..i also have a very high metabolizm which causes me to lose weight if i dont eat almost constantly..however i am rarely (without something to aide) hungry on my own as well as have stomach issues…without marijuana i am not able to eat regularly lose weight have constant upset stomach and up to 6 migraines a day…did i mention sleeping problems? which surround all of the issues i barely handle..now i am one who can function very well under it..alot of ppl say that but id be willing to prove it to anyone…things cost too much as it is but id be willing to pay taxes and when have you heard of an overdose of marijuana? ppl are calmer on it and sometimes lazy but riots and such arent caused by marijuana and there are far worse things that we do as people than marijuana

September 29, 2012 at 2:50 am
(34) Resources says:

I am genuinely thankful to the holder of this web
page who has shared this great piece of writing at here.

November 18, 2012 at 6:56 pm
(35) tosha says:

I was a 43 yr.old very active and productive member of sosiety who was diagnosed with moderate to severe osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you dont know what it is, its very painful degenerative disease of the joints. Its a terrible shame that the hand of man (man made things like perscription drugs and alcohol) can kill but the Hand of God is illegal. I’ve never heard of ANYONE dying from an overdose of pot but there are 5 perscriptions in my bathroom cabinet that could. That seem right to you????

January 6, 2013 at 10:24 pm
(36) wetduck says:

people, the power of change is in our hands!! if we don’t like the way our gov. sees this issue then vote them out and all of the rest out.. for too many years has the gov. pulled the wool over our eyes about the so-called “Demon Weed”, we all know the truth!! i myself have heart conditions that force me to take dangerous and possibily deadly drugs to stay alive..i have researched the benefits of medical weed and they haven’t counted all the “good” effects of this helpful tool for those like myself . but you look and the possible side effects of an Advil or just a plain asprin.pages and pages long!! and that’s the bad side effects!! It is high (no punn intended!) time we rid ourselves of this riff-raft in public office and put honest folks in office and change the whole picture of this issue..

April 16, 2013 at 12:34 am
(37) Jennifer says:

I had a 5 level neck fusion and three level back fusion I am sick of hiding what helps me live with my issues.

December 3, 2013 at 8:43 pm
(38) YouKnow says:

i have really bad panick attacks my doc. proscribed me some meds nothing works but when i have my friends home grown i feel greet i just wanna do everything

March 29, 2014 at 9:25 pm
(39) where can i buy pot seeds says:

Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News.
Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!


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