Marijuana Laws

Minnesota marijuana lawyers & laws

Not all Minnesota marijuana lawyers truly believe in their hearts that Prohibition laws are the real crime.  But Minnesota marijuana lawyer Thomas C. Gallagher does.  You may already know him from his political re-legalization work.  Gallagher’s passion grew out of the plight of his clients, devastated by evil laws.

2019: all but four states in the nation have legalized some form of marijuana.

Prohibition has not been around long in human history — only since the early 20th Century.  It made the demand for Prohibited alcohol increase.  Later, Prohibition law increased the demand for marijuana, too.  And Prohibition made organized crime pay, everywhere.

As of mid-2019, eleven of the fifty United States have repealed Prohibition of marijuana.  And more than half the United States population now live in a state where medical marijuana is legal again.

But alas!  Minnesota, once a leader is currently a laggard when it comes to Liberty and marijuana Prohibition.

What to do if seized, searched, arrested, charged with a marijuana crime in Minnesota?   Considering the serious, lifelong consequences, it’s essential to have a good lawyer experienced in marijuana defense advising and advocating on your behalf.  You’ll want the right Minnesota marijuana lawyer.  You deserve the best defense.

And it will help to understand more about marijuana laws in Minnesota.  Here are some important aspects.

Quantity

In general greater quantity is punished more severely.  Seems simple enough.  But there are only a few weight thresholds that matter.  If the quantity alleged is close, that can be the difference between a higher “degree” and lower degree.  Minnesota marijuana lawyers like Thomas Gallagher will use a quantity defense when the claimed weight is near a threshold.

Identity of the alleged substance

The government has the burden of proving identity of the alleged substance they claim to be marijuana or THC.  They usually don’t do a lab analysis until shortly before the scheduled trial date.

They’ve also enacted a questionable “mixture” law which some Minnesota courts have interpreted to mean that if tiny fractions of a percent are diluted in bong water, for example, means the entire weight of the non-controlled substance “mixture” supports a criminal charge based on the total weight.  Thomas C. Gallagher is one of the most experienced Minnesota marijuana lawyers in challenging evidence of identification.

And the mixture law, designed to subvert due process, can be transformed into a weapon for the defense, in selected cases.

Plant-form and the resinous-form

A Tale of Two Legislatures:  In the 1970s the Minnesota legislature partially decriminalized marijuana.  It made a “small amount” of plant-form marijuana a petty misdemeanor violation.  Apparently the “resinous form” was to remain a crime even if within the small-amount weight threshold, due to greater potency.

Then, in the 2010s, another Minnesota legislature passed a limited medical marijuana law legalizing marijuana for medical use.  But only legal in the resinous form— based on their idea that concentrates were safer.

So, this raises the question” which is it?  Should the laws favor plant-form over concentrates?  Or should the laws favor concentrates over plant-form?

How about changing the laws to treat every form equally under the laws?

As a result of these distinctions in Minnesota marijuana laws, it can matter whether we have plant-form vs. concentrates.  Plant-form marijuana is marijuana as defined in the statutory definitions.  Its identification should include plant morphology.  Concentrates include hash oil, wax, shatter and are the result of various methods using the plant as a starting point.

Sale vs. Possession

The seller scapegoat:  Hmm.  Who shall we blame?

The false narrative holds “drug users” to be well-meaning but pathetic idiots; while “drug” sellers must have horns and a tail.  People in the beverages industry had best be careful, too.

When will the People of Minnesota be free?
When will the People of Minnesota be free?

Governor Mark Dayton famously suggested in 2014, in an attempt to deflect mothers of sick children asking him to support a legal medical marijuana Bill,  that they could buy pot illegally on the street, or in another state, to treat their children.  True.

But are these underground economy marijuana sellers really “evil drug pushers?”  Or do sellers provide needed medicine to mothers of sick children on the advice of the Governor?  Minnesota marijuana lawyers would like to know.

The basic difference between a sale and a possession marijuana crime is that the “sale” quantity threshold is lower for any given “degree” of “Controlled Substance Crime.”  For example Minnesota’s current “Third Degree Controlled Substance Crime” has a five kilo threshold for sale of marijuana and a ten kilo threshold for possession.

Growing

If prosecutors charge growing marijuana as a crime, they charge it as a felony.

These days people grow more marijuana in Minnesota than they import into the state.  Until a few years ago, Minnesota statutes criminalized growing based on weight only.

Now though, prosecutors can use 100 plants or more to charge a First or Second Degree “Controlled Substance Crime.”

What is “a plant?”  Sometimes the government overreaches in these cases and claims that clones are “plants.”  Any backyard gardener should understand the absurdity of the government when they torture the meaning of words like “plant.”

Non-felonies

Those are the basic criteria for felony marijuana crimes in Minnesota.  Minnesota marijuana lawyers like Gallagher see many marijuana felony cases, and even more non-felony cases.

The non-felonies are either

  • a “small amount of marijuana” in plant form; or
  • less than .25 grams (including “the resinous form of marijuana”) for first-time “controlled substance” offenders.

A “small amount of marijuana” is “means 42.5 grams or less” (other than the “resinous form”).

Small amount of marijuana

Baby cannabis plant
Baby cannabis plant

Possession of a “small amount of marijuana” is a petty misdemeanor, unless more than 1.4 grams in a car.

A petty misdemeanor is “not a crime” but a guilty plea to a petty misdemeanor charge results in “a conviction,” as well as a public court record.

As a result, most people so charged desire to avoid

  • a public record with the word “marijuana” and
  • petty misdemeanor “conviction.”

More than 1.4 grams marijuana in a motor vehicle

Marijuana in a motor vehicle is analogous to the “open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle” (open bottle law), for a “small amount of marijuana” (42.5 grams or less, more than 1.4 grams, not resinous form) in a motor vehicle (unless in trunk or equivalent).

Marijuana in a motor vehicle is made a misdemeanor crime.  The common desire is to avoid

  • the public court record saying “marijuana” and “conviction,”
  • the conviction on their drivers license record, and
  • the minimum 30-day drivers license revocation.

For tips on prevention see our article: How to Avoid a Marijuana Arrest in a Car in Minnesota: Top Nine Tips 

DUI Marijuana

A high percentage of DUI marijuana cases are false accusations.  But it takes an experienced marijuana DUI attorney to bring the truth to light.

Federal or State

Most marijuana criminal cases are in Minnesota state court.  But Minnesota marijuana lawyers like Gallagher see some charged in United States District Court.

Federal prosecutors view Illegal drugs other than marijuana as a higher priority for prosecution.  But the United States Attorney’s Office does sometimes prosecute federal marijuana crimes.

When they do, it could be based on a jurisdiction with primary or more present federal jurisdiction (federal land); or in areas with dual jurisdiction with states, other factors that they view as more serious.   Federally prosecuted drug cases often tend to be criminal conspiracy cases involving multiple co-defendants.

Defenses

Marijuana is no longer illegal in every circumstance in Minnesota.

Every year the cracks in the immoral Prohibition laws grow wider.  We hope for the day when the people are free again, and no longer need Minnesota marijuana lawyers.

A majority of the People now support legalization — and this is our jury pool for our jury trial.

Thomas Gallagher, Minnesota marijuana lawyers
Thomas Gallagher, Minnesota marijuana lawyer

Defenses include those that challenge whether there is enough evidence to prove the elements of the crime is charged.  The burden of coming up with proof of the government’s claims, remains with the State.

In addition, there are affirmative defenses such as the medical marijuana necessity defense which can either negate or excuse guilt.  The defense must come up with some evidence to support an affirmative defense.  If we do, the ultimate burden of persuasion is again the back on the prosecutor.

Suppression of illegal evidence

Before trial defenses, we look to how evidence was obtained by the government.

If one person goes free because a court suppresses illegal evidence, that person could be a risk to public safety.  But if the government breaks the law, we are all at risk.

Minnesota marijuana lawyers like Gallagher look to the chain of the investigation events for a break down of law and order by police.

Was the initial stop or Fourth Amendment seizure illegal?

Was the stop unlawfully expanded or the detention illegally prolonged?

Did police search the person, car or home illegally?

Was the confession unreliable, involuntary?

Did police provide a Miranda rights warning prior to in-custody questioning?

These and other issues can be raised and litigated by the defense at a pretrial evidentiary or Contested Omnibus hearing.

Minnesota marijuana lawyers can help

NLC Minnesota marijuana lawyers memberHave a question about Minnesota marijuana defense?  You can now call Minnesota marijuana lawyer Thomas C. Gallagher to discuss.  Call 612-333-1500.