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Marijuana in Minnesota: Partially decriminalized, still illegal

Many states around the country have taken steps to decriminalize marijuana. Minnesota has followed suit, but only to a small degree. The state does have a medical marijuana law, which has been in place since 2014. Anything other than medical marijuana is still considered a criminal matter.

The charge and penalties that you face depend on the amount of marijuana and the circumstances of the incident that lead to the charge. Here are some points that you should know about these laws:

Misdemeanor charges

All misdemeanor charges for marijuana have to do with amounts that are less than 42.5 grams. If you are charged with possession of that amount, you are facing a petty misdemeanor that carries a $200 fine. You might also have to take a drug education program. Selling that amount without remuneration is also a petty misdemeanor with a fine of up to $200. Having more than 1.4 grams of marijuana in a vehicle can lead to a misdemeanor charge that carries up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000.

Felony charges

Any marijuana charge that has to do with 42.5 grams or more is a felony charge. Possession of marijuana has the following penalties:

  • 42.5 grams to 10 kilograms: $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison
  • 10 to 50 kilograms: $250,000 fine and up to 20 years in prison
  • 50 to 100 kilograms: $500,000 fine and up to 25 years in prison
  • 100 kilograms or more: $1 million fine and up to 30 days in prison

The penalties for selling marijuana are a little different. Here they are:

  • 5 kilograms or more (if in a public housing, school or park zone): $500,000 fine and up to 25 years in prison
  • 42.5 grams to 5 kilograms: $10,000 and up to 5 years in prison
  • 5 to 25 kilograms: $250,000 and up to 20 years in prison
  • 25 to 50 kilograms: $500,000 and up to 25 years in prison
  • Moe than 50 kilograms: $1 million and up to 30 years in prison

Impact of a prior conviction

Having a prior marijuana conviction can increase the severity of the penalties you face. For example, you might be required to take a chemical dependency evaluation and treatment if you have a prior misdemeanor conviction.

You have to think carefully about your defense of drug charges. In some cases, it might be possible to enter into the Treatment Court program. Determining if this is an option in your case might be beneficial. Of course, you still have other strategies that you can consider.

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Joseph S. Friedberg Chartered

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