Updated: 9:58 a.m.
A final version of a bill that would legalize marijuana in Minnesota was completed Tuesday morning and is headed to the House and Senate for a final vote, with Gov. Tim Walz already committed to signing it into law when it reaches his desk. Weed could be legal for personal use as early as this summer.
When and where will you be allowed to use cannabis? Here’s what to know.
When will I be allowed to use marijuana legally?
The main thing to know is that legal marijuana will not necessarily be for sale in Minnesota as soon as Walz signs the bill into law — there is expected to be a significant lag before a regulatory and sales system is up and running. Although there were some differences between the bills passed by the House and the Senate, both versions of the bill indicated marijuana would be legal this summer.
Possessing marijuana, as well as growing and possessing weed at home, would be allowed beginning August 1, according to the conference report headed to the House and Senate for a vote.
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But it will take a while for the government to set up the regulatory structures and licensing framework needed for dispensaries and other businesses to open up and begin selling.
Estimates say it could take a year or longer before you can go into a dispensary and buy cannabis products yourself.
This does not apply to hemp-derived THC in edibles and beverages, which is already legal in Minnesota.
If I already have weed, can I use it as soon as the bill is signed into law?
Jana Hrdinová, the administrative director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at the Ohio State University, said even if the law doesn't go into effect immediately, it can generally signal to law enforcement agencies that prosecuting for the possession of marijuana may end soon. But marijuana will likely technically remain illegal in the period between when Walz signs the bill and when the law goes into effect, she said.
Where would I be able to have weed?
You would not be allowed to use marijuana everywhere. Both versions of the bills currently being considered allow it at your private residence, including your yard and on private property that is not accessible by the public.
You also cannot use marijuana products in a motor vehicle or in school properties and state correctional facilities. Using weed that involves inhaling smoke will also not be allowed in places where smoking is already prohibited.
The bills say it may be possible for a local unit of government to prevent cannabis businesses from operating near schools, daycares and public parks as well.
Hrdinová said it’s important to remember that legalization in Minnesota will not act as blanket law that allows people to do anything, anywhere. She said some people have called this the “bumper sticker understanding” of cannabis legalization.
“The bumper sticker understanding on legalization, is that ‘it's now legal, I can do whatever I want’ and that's just not the case,” Hrdinová said. “I think public has to be really educated as to what we can and cannot do under the validation.”
Correction (May 16, 2023): An earlier version of this story included an outdated start date for growing and possessing weed at home. The story has been updated.