Minnesota Bill Legalizes Marijuana and Provides Other Benefits to Residents

Minnesota Legislature Passes Bill Legalizing Cannabis and Providing Expungements and Employment Protections to Residents
June 20, 2023

The Minnesota Legislature has passed a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana. In addition, this bill would have certain marijuana-related convictions expunged. However, the bill still needs a signature from the governor, whom many expect will sign it.

House File 100 allows people 21 or older to possess, purchase, and gift up to 2 ounces of cannabis. Individuals can also grow up to eight plants in their homes. Additionally, the state must start expunging certain marijuana-related convictions once the bill becomes law. These expungements could make it easier to obtain housing and employment if you have past marijuana convictions. 

If this law passes, the state will expunge all past misdemeanor marijuana convictions. Because this will happen automatically, you do not have to petition the court to have the records expunged. The public will then lose access to all erased records. Such access includes searching the publicly accessible Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

However, the bill makes an exception for federal marijuana convictions, stating it would not automatically expunge these records. Instead, it would have a Cannabis Expungement Board created to address these records. The Board would review felony offenses and decide expungement eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot known yet about how this process will work. For example, it remains unclear how you could apply to have a felony marijuana conviction expunged. However, should the law pass, the state will likely provide more information about the process in the upcoming months.

If you use marijuana, you will also receive significant employment protections from this bill. The bill specifies that “an employer may not refuse to hire a job applicant or discipline or discharge an employee because the applicant or employee engages in or has engaged in the use or enjoyment of lawful consumable products if the use or enjoyment takes place off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours.” In addition, it protects you from denied applications solely based on a positive result from a pre-employment drug test for marijuana.

However, your employer can still keep a drug-free workplace. As such, employers can forbid you from using or possessing cannabis products, lower-potency hemp edibles, or other hemp-derived consumer products during working hours or while you operate their equipment. They can also ban the sale of such products while you work on the clock or on the premises.

The law has other limitations that marijuana users must keep in mind. For example, it does not apply to safety-sensitive positions. “Safety-sensitive” roles include jobs where impairment by drug, alcohol, or cannabis usage would threaten any person’s health or safety.

This bill becoming law could help many individuals who use marijuana and those with criminal records due to past use. Should you have past convictions, you can expect the state to expunge these records, removing them from public view. As such, you should consider running a self-background check to ensure they do not appear on your report. Doing so can inform you of this and allow you to inquire about any issues if they still appear.

Discover more about our reliable and secure self-background checks by clicking here. Get started today.