Marijuana Related Penalties in Minnesota

  • Possession of less than 42.5 grams of marijuana: maximum fine of $200 and possible requirement of drug education
  • Possession of 42.5 grams or more of marijuana: Maximum five years in prison; maximum fine of $10,000
  • Possession of 10 kilograms or more of marijuana: maximum fine of $250,000 and up to 20 years in prison
  • Possession of 50 kilograms or more of marijuana: maximum 25 years in prison; maximum fine of $500,000
  • For any possession of 100 kilograms of marijuana or more: up to 30 years in prison with a maximum fine of $1,000,000.
  • Possession of greater than 1.4 grams of marijuana in a motor vehicle (except in the trunk): up to one year in prison.
  • Conditional discharge is a possibility for first time offenders.
  • For distribution of a small amount of 42.5 grams or less of marijuana with no remuneration: fine of up to $200 and possible requirement of drug education
  • Sale of any amount less than 5 kilograms of marijuana: maximum 5 years in prison; maximum fine of $10,000
  • Sale of 5 kilograms or more of marijuana: up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000
  • Sale of 25 kilograms of marijuana or more: maximum 25 years in prison with maximum fine of $500,000
  • Sale of 50 kilograms or more of marijuana: up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $1,000,000
  • The penalty for sale of marijuana to a minor is up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000
  • Sale of marijuana within a school zone, park zone, public housing area or near a drug treatment facility increases the penalty to a maximum 15 years imprisonment and a fine up to $100,000.
  • Importing of 50 kilograms or more of marijuana into the state: 35 maximum prison sentence and a fine of up to $1,250,000
  • Driver’s licenses can be suspended for 30 days if the offense was committed while driving a motor vehicle

Legalization of Medical Marijuana in Minnesota

During the first half of the current session a medical marijuana bill, SF 97 was passed by the full Senate and the full House for the first time; a companion bill, HF 292 was also introduced. The proposed bill was vetoed by Governor Tim Pawlenty who said:

“While I am sympathetic to those dealing with end-of-life illnesses and accompanying pain, I stand with law enforcement in opposition to this legislation”.

Given Governor Pawlenty’s stated opposition to the legalization of medical marijuana and in the knowledge that he is not seeking re-election for 2010, Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, an umbrella organization for those who believe that medical marijuana should be allowable for the treatment of certain medical conditions – have agreed to shift their focus to the legislative session that begins in January 2011.

The sad news is that candidates seeking to replace Governor Pawlenty are not any more kindly disposed to medical marijuana than he was. The fact that Republican nominee, Tom Emmer, introduced an amendment to replace the word marijuana with pot in the 2008 bill is indicative of his disregard for medical cannabis. His actual words were:

“We are not talking about medicine. We are not talking about marijuana. Let’s call it what it is: ‘pot,’ it is a gateway drug and it has very serious and real physical impact. All we are doing here is legalizing marijuana. Let’s not send the kind of message to the children of the state that marijuana is OK.”

So, what of the Democratic nominee? Well Mark Dayton said he wouldn’t agree to a law regarding marijuana that would make law enforcement uncomfortable.

Independent, Tom Horner, said he would consider the legalization of marijuana in “pill form.” He is referring to Marinol, which is already legal in the US anyway, and which many patients find ineffective for relieving their symptoms.

It certainly doesn’t bode well.


Author Dianne Morgan

More posts by Dianne Morgan

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • tosha says:

    We use the opium poppy plant, the coca plant and lets not forget the wheat, rice, and corn plants. WHY NOT THE CANNABIS PLANT?

  • Steve says:

    The way cannabis laws should have been put into place is, legalize the use for medical conditions, then all counties that wish to remain dry, are suppose to vote for being a dry county. Most Minnesotans do not now that their are dry counties in other states. First legalize and then repeal by county, that would really be the only way to find out that people are opposed to cannabis, just like they are opposed to alchohol. Get out of the way representatives, unless you want to get caught as not fulfilling your duties as a true representative of the people.

  • pete says:

    Damn, hopefully minnesota can start to be slowly shifted from the rest of the mind-shift that seems to be happening over in C.A. Legalization and acceptance of weed is the only way it will create liberation for people. Alcohol has done far worse, and will do far worse, than weed ever will!

  • Jim says:

    Actually Tom Horner said he would support options that allow responsible medical use and that he wants to explore compassionate alternatives to Minnesota’s current laws.

    I spoke with Dayton and he said he won’t do anything without police buy in and Emmer refused to answer.

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