Is Medical-Only Weed Legal in Minnesota?

Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
August 28, 2021
Minnesota Weed Legality
Minnesota Weed Legality

Minnesota strictly prohibits the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, as adult-use weed/marijuana is illegal.  But, The Gopher States does maintain a legal medical marijuana program for patients with certain qualifying conditions, allowing them access to specific forms of marijuana products that can be purchased in state-licensed dispensaries located in places like Minneapolis, Saint Paul, or Duluth.


History of Weed Laws

In May of 2014, Governor Dayton of Minnesota signed into law the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Act, acting as the state’s first legal medical marijuana program for patients with certain qualifying conditions.  This made the state the 23rd to develop a state-regulated medical marijuana program.


This led to the development of the state’s Medical Cannabis Program and Registry, which would oversee all operations pertaining to the medical marijuana program including the application processes, the regulating of dispensaries and the testing of cannabis products sold in the state.  The Medical Cannabis Program and Registry is a branch of the state’s Department of Health.  Medical cannabis sales did not start until 2018.


Where Can a Person Legally Purchase Weed in Minnesota?

Only authorized medical patients are allowed to purchase cannabis in Minnesota.  Purchasing cannabis as a recreational user remains strictly prohibited.  Medical patients can only purchase cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary, and there are numerous dispensaries throughout the state which you can find through the list on the state’s website.  Dispensaries cannot legally deliver cannabis products to patients’ homes, but patients can request a caregiver to purchase marijuana on their behalf.


The state only recognizes certain cannabis products as legal for medical patients.  This includes vaping cartridges, lozenges, capsules, oils, topicals, tinctures and oral sprays.  Concentrates and smokable flower products are not permitted.  A pharmacist at a dispensary will recommend a cannabis product and dosage for the patient when they visit for the first time.


Where Can Cannabis Legally Be Used?

Minnesota does not have any laws that strictly prohibit cannabis consumption in public, but it is illegal to vape cannabis in the presence of a minor.  Cannabis use can also lead to criminal charges if it pertains to negligence, such as being under the influence while doing work or engaging in an important activity that impacts others.  It is illegal to drive under the influence, as it is illegal to consume cannabis in a childcare facility, correctional facility or on school or campus grounds.


Possession Laws

A medical cannabis user can possess up to a 30-day supply at any given time, with exact amounts determined by their pharmacist.  For non-medical users, anything less than 1.5 ounces is considered a misdemeanor.


Can Residents Grow Their Own?

There are no laws pertaining to cultivation in Minnesota, although if you are caught growing cannabis, you can face criminal charges depending on the amount that you are growing.


Medical Marijuana

Minnesota’s medical marijuana program is managed by the Minnesota Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Office.  They oversee the entirety of the medical marijuana program in the state, and take application forms from patients.


Qualifying Conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Autism
  • Cachexia, or wasting disease
  • Cancer, if the underlying condition or treatment causes severe or chronic pain, nausea, or severe vomiting
  • Chronic or intractable pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizures, including epilepsy
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including multiple sclerosis
  • Terminal illness with a probable life expectancy of less than a year if the illness or its treatment causes cachexia (severe wasting disease), nausea, or severe vomiting


Minnesotans are invited to petition the state to include additional qualifying conditions to the list above.


Patient Qualifications:

For a patient to qualify for medical marijuana, they must first visit a physician and receive a diagnosis of at least one of the above qualifying conditions or attempt to petition the state for the addition of their condition under the qualifying list.  From there, they must receive a certification from the physician that is to be approved by the state.


How to Register for Medical Marijuana in Minnesota

A patient must provide their email to their physician, who will initiate the application process on the patient’s behalf.  From there, they will receive an application form via email that is to be submitted along with a state-issued ID to prove residency, along with a $200 registration fee.  The patient will have to be evaluated, and from there they will be given a medical marijuana card that is valid at a state dispensary.


Qualifying as a Caregiver

Before a caregiver can apply to care for a patient through the state, they must be approved by the patient’s physician.  A caregiver must submit to a background check that is performed by the state, which can take up to 30 days to complete.


Registering as a Caregiver

The patient will request a specific caregiver through their application process, which will notify the caregiver via email through an application form that must be submitted by the caregiver.  The caregiver must provide a state-issued ID and pay a $15 fee.  From there, they will be provided with a state-issued card if approved that permits them to purchase cannabis on a patient’s behalf.


Reciprocity Laws

MN does not have reciprocity laws, which means that patients who are visiting from out of state with a medical card are not permitted to buy marijuana in a Minnesota dispensary.



According to Minnesota law, it is required that cannabis products sold there first undergo a full analysis by a state-authorized independent laboratory.  This analysis checks for the cannabinoid profile of a product and tests for various contaminants and impurities to ensure safety and quality.