New recreational cannabis law also contains changes to Minnesota medical cannabis program

(ABC 6 News) – The new law recently signed by Governor Tim Walz legalizing adult use of cannabis in Minnesota for people 21 and older, also contains several changes to the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program.

The Minnesota Department of Health outlined changes for patients of the program which include:

  • Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program patients can now buy medical cannabis from Minnesota Tribal Medical Cannabis Dispensaries.
  • Effective July 1, 2023, the annual enrollment fee will be eliminated. (Due to state regulations, MDH unfortunately cannot refund enrollment fees already paid before that date.)
  • Effective Aug. 1, 2023, a patient’s initial certification visit with a health care practitioner can be conducted via telemedicine.
  • Effective March 1, 2025, patients will be required to get recertified for their qualifying medical condition every three years, instead of every year.
  • Effective March 1, 2025, the age for registered caregivers to purchase cannabis flower will be 18, rather than 21.
  • Effective March 1, 2025, the Office of Medical Cannabis (and the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program) will move from the Minnesota Department of Health to the new Office of Cannabis Management.
  • Lower-potency hemp edibles and beverages will continue to be sold. Regulation of these products has moved to the Office of Medical Cannabis, but will transfer to the Office of Cannabis Management on March 1, 2025.

While the tax on adult-use cannabis product sales will be 10% (in addition to state and local sales taxes), medical cannabis products will continue to be tax-free.

The Medical Cannabis Program will establish an alternative certification procedure for veterans who receive care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to confirm that the veteran has been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition. The new application procedure will be effective Jan. 1, 2024. More information about this procedure will be released at a later date.

Last week, Gov. Walz signed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana for people over the age of 21 starting on August 1, 2023, making Minnesota the 23rd state to legalize the substance for adults.

RELATED: Minnesota governor signs bill legalizing recreational marijuana starting in August

Because of the complexity of everything in the legislation and the work it will take to set up the new Office of Cannabis Management, certain parts will take some time. Lawmakers say the goal is for all of the expungements to be done by the end of the year or next spring, and retail marijuana sales aren’t expected to start until the first quarter of 2025.