Marijuana Law and Reform in Minnesota

Marijuana reform continues to sweep the nation. Within the last year, American support of marijuana legalization climbed five points to 61%. Several states have recently legalized medical marijuana, and several others have even gone so far as to decriminalize recreational marijuana use. Marijuana has been a hot political topic for decades, but recent research has proven its benefits in medical applications.

While opponents of marijuana reform still tout it’s dangers as a “gateway drug,” the truth is that states that have enacted medical marijuana laws and legalized recreational marijuana are reporting fewer deaths from prescription opioid painkiller overdoses, less drug-related crime, and more tax revenue from marijuana sales.

Marijuana in Minnesota

Recently, the Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) held a “Cannabis Rise 420 Rally” at the state Capitol. This rally showed state lawmakers the public’s support for marijuana legalization. Medical marijuana is already legal in Minnesota under very restrictive guidelines, but NORML activists and recreational marijuana advocates believe full legalization is in order, following eight other states and the District of Columbia.

Unfortunately for supporters of marijuana legalization in Minnesota, the two bills currently aimed at legalization face strong opposition from Republican legislators, citing the well-known and repeatedly debunked “gateway drug” argument. Due to increasing public support, Minnesota citizens may be able to vote on the issue in the upcoming 2020 election.

Debunking Marijuana Myths

Most of the opposition facing marijuana reform in Minnesota and the United States is based on misinformation and long-standing misconceptions, one of the most common being the idea that marijuana is a “gateway drug” that inevitably leads users to stronger, more dangerous drugs in pursuit of a stronger high. Countless research projects and scientific studies have proven this false.

Many people also continue to believe that marijuana holds no medical value, which is why it remains federally classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, alongside heroin. Recent studies have proven that marijuana’s medical value is undeniable. While the federal government’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) continues to stymie attempts to reschedule marijuana’s classification, many states recognize the medical findings and want to help their citizens find new, safer, and more effective treatment methods.

Medical marijuana is effective in various medical applications, including:

  • Alleviating the symptoms of epilepsy and preventing seizures.
  • Treating severe and chronic pain.
  • Treatment for Crohn’s Disease.
  • Helping patients cope with the unpleasant side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea, poor appetite, pain, and stress.
  • Alleviating the symptoms of various personality disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
  • A proven effective substitute for dangerous and addictive narcotic painkillers.
  • Stimulating appetite for people struggling with eating disorders, AIDS, or other conditions that impact appetite.

These are just a few of the applications, and consistent success rates in these treatments help marijuana reform activists build their case in states that have yet to legalize medicinal marijuana. While Minnesota supporters continue to face strong opposition in the State legislature, more peer-reviewed scientific studies and the success of states that have legalized medical and recreational marijuana may change the minds of some opponents.

If you have questions about Minnesota’s medical marijuana laws and the status of the reform bills currently in review, reach out to your local representatives. Additionally, consider researching NORML and other marijuana reform advocacy groups to discover ways you can make your voice heard on the issue. If you’re concerned about your state’s penalties for marijuana possession and use, reach out to an attorney. It’s vital to be certain of your state’s marijuana laws to keep yourself out of trouble if you plan to consume marijuana.