Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has signed a bill into law legalizing the use of recreational marijuana, making it the 23rd state to do so. The new law will come into effect on August 1, 2021. It allows adults aged 21 and over to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for personal consumption.
The bill underwent months of debate and more than two dozen committee hearings before being passed by both the House and Senate and reconciled into a final version, which was approved earlier this month.
However, it will likely be at least a year before the first retail dispensary opens in Minnesota, and the state’s new Office of Cannabis Management will be responsible for the licensing and regulation of all marijuana and hemp businesses in the state. The agency will also oversee the market.
The new law allows Minnesotans to grow up to eight cannabis plants in their homes, with no more than four in the flowering stage. Home cultivation will become legal on August 1, 2021.
Additionally, the state will automatically expunge misdemeanor marijuana convictions from Minnesotans’ records starting in August. A Cannabis Expungement Board will also be established to review felony marijuana offenses for possible expungement on a case-by-case basis.
The most immediate change in the new law will be the legalization of lower-potency hemp-derived THC edibles and beverages, which will now be sold by liquor stores from June 2, 2021. Previously, selling such products was illegal in Minnesota.
Overall, Governor Tim Walz said it will take time to fully set up the new state cannabis office and the licensing process for the cannabis businesses. Walz will also appoint someone to lead the Office of Cannabis Management in the coming months.