Criminal Penalties for Marijuana in Minnesota

cannabis-490296_640Criminal Penalties for Marijuana in Minnesota

Posted: December 16, 2015 Welcome back to the Sieben Edmunds PLLC Criminal Defense Blog Series! Marijuana is the subject of our third installment. In 2014, the Minnesota legislature enacted a law that authorizes medical marijuana use. The law is one of the most restrictive in the country. You must have a qualifying condition and can only use marijuana that has been converted to pill or liquid form. As illustrated below, possession and use for any other reason is still a crime or petty offense. The type of charge and penalty you face largely depends on the amount (grams or kilograms) of marijuana and the use of the substance (sale or possession). With the exception of marijuana in a vehicle, a “small amount” means 42.5 grams or less and possession constitutes a petty misdemeanor offense. Possession or sale of any amount above 42.5 grams is a 1st through 5th degree felony. The following is a breakdown of potential charges:
  • Petty Misdemeanor
    • Possession or sale of a small amount of marijuana (42.4 grams or less)
    • Up to $300 fine, no jail time, drug education program
    • A second sale offense within two years is a misdemeanor crime and requires the completion of a chemical dependency evaluation
  • 1st Degree (most serious) to 5th Degree (least serious) Felony
    • Sale or possession of marijuana in an amount greater than 42.5 grams
    • The charge can also depend on the facts; for example, a sale of any amount of marijuana in school, park, or public housing zones is a 4th Degree felony
    • Imprisonment for a first-time offense can vary between five and 30 years, a fine between $10,000 and $1,000,000, or both
  • Misdemeanor Possession in a Motor Vehicle
    • A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if a person is the owner of a private motor vehicle (or driver if owner is not present) and,
    • has more than 1.4 grams of marijuana on themselves or in an area of the vehicle that is normally occupied by the driver or passengers
    • Punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both
    • Will trigger a driver’s license revocation of at least 30 days
A criminal defense attorney is your best asset when facing a marijuana charge. Consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action. The attorneys at Sieben Edmunds Miller PLLC can be reached at 651-994-6744 for more information. Stay tuned for the next installment in our criminal defense blog series! What happens when I am charged with a crime? Assault in Minnesota You can view our DWI Blog Series here.