As of August 1, 2023, Minnesota joined the ranks of states who have legalized recreational cannabis. This means that in Minnesota, those over the age of 21 can possess, use, and grow cannabis in their home.
Generally, the use of cannabis in certain areas is protected, including on private property (unless prohibited by the owner), in private residences (that are not a part of multi-family housing), and at places with approved licenses or an event permit (with the caveat that no licenses or event permits are available at this time).[i]
Cannabis use and possession is also banned in public schools or school busses, state correctional facilities, locations where the smoke, aerosol, or vapor of a cannabis product could be inhaled by a minor, on federal property, and in federally subsidized housing.[ii]
When it comes to smoking or vaping in public spaces, the default rules is that cannabis can be used anywhere it isn’t prohibited by the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, which includes most outdoor areas, such as parks, sidewalks, or outside restaurants or bars in places that are not near entrances or windows. Nevertheless, this default rule may be narrowed by local ordinances.
The City of Minneapolis, for example, has stated that the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board expects its ban on tobacco use in parks to apply to cannabis products, but no formal decision has been made yet.[iii]
St. Paul, on the other hand, has already passed an ordinance restricting smoking tobacco and cannabis on city-controlled property. After passing by a 4-3 vote, the ordinance prohibits smoking within 25 feet of public places and places of employment within St. Paul.[iv] It also prohibits smoking in city parks and any area designated for recreation by the city.[v] The ordinance only prohibits smoking, and does not prohibit the use of cannabis gummies, edibles, or drinks containing THC.[vi] During a discussion on the vote, Council member Chris Tolbert said the new ordinance leaves open the possibility the city might designate smoking areas in St. Paul city parks.[vii]
Similarly, Duluth’s city council voted 8-1 to approve a new ordinance that bans smoking tobacco and cannabis in all city parks.[viii] This restriction includes the Lakewalk pedestrian path along Lake Superior.[ix] In addition to city parks, restricted smoking areas include anywhere within 100 feet of a medical facility, inside any Duluth Transit Authority location, and within 15 feet from the nearest post of any DTA transit shelter.[x]
As cities across Minnesota continue to address public cannabis use, consumers will need to be aware of any local restrictions. Doing so will ensure that consumers can partake in the benefits of the new statewide legislation, while also ensuring compliance with local Rules.[xi]
[i]Minnesota Office of Cannabis Management, For Adult Consumers, https://cannabis.mn.gov/consumers.html#:~:text=Cannabis%20can%20be%20used%20by,are%20available%20at%20this%20time).
[iii]Meet Minneapolis, Cannabis in Minnesota, https://www.minneapolis.org/community-info-and-policies/cannabis/#:~:text=Recreational%20cannabis%20use%20and%20possession,classified%20as%20a%20controlled%20substance.
[iv]Melissa Olson, MPR News, St. Paul City Council Restricts Cannabis, Tobacco Smoking in Public Places, (Sept. 27. 2023) https://www.mprnews.org/story/2023/09/27/st-paul-city-council-restricts-cannabis-tobacco-smoking-in-public-places.
[viii]CBS News, Duluth Bans Recreational Weed Smoking in City Parks, (Aug. 15, 2023), https://www.cbsnews.com/minnesota/news/duluth-bans-recreational-weed-smoking-in-city-parks/.
[ix]Dan Kraker, MPR News, Duluth City Council Votes to Ban Smoking Marijuana in Public Parks, (Aug. 15, 2023) https://www.mprnews.org/story/2023/08/15/duluth-city-council-votes-to-ban-smoking-marijuana-in-public-parks.
[x]Shalon Monroe, WDIO, The City of Duluth Passed its Marijuana Ordinance, Making it Illegal to Smoke in Certain Places in the City, (Aug. 15, 2023), https://www.wdio.com/front-page/top-stories/the-city-of-duluth-passes-its-marijuana-ordinance-making-it-illegal-to-smoke-in-certain-places-in-the-city/.
[xi]Research and drafting assistance provided by Rebecca Favre, law clerk at Eckland & Blando.