Local officials dealing with new pot law

Local News

On Aug. 1, anyone 21 years old and older will be able to possess and use marijuana in Minnesota.

The state will be one of only four states allowing the smoking or vaping of pot in public unless local rules say it is not allowed.

We are still looking into it and so is our city attorney,” says Eric Olson, Winnebago police chief.

City Attorney David Frundt, who is also city attorney for Blue Earth and some surrounding towns, did not respond to a request for comment.

Tom Fletcher, chief of police for Blue Earth, says they are currently working on a “public use” ordinance.

For now, absent of a local ordinance, someone could smoke a joint walking down a sidewalk, outside a bar or restaurant, in a park or on a public bench.

This is all new to everybody,” says Olson. “Hopefully, we’ll have some answers at the next council meeting.”

Olson says he expects restrictions of marijuana public use will be much like those that are in place for alcohol.

If smoking laws and ordinances ban smoking somewhere, then marijuana would be banned as well.

The three permitted places where it would be legal to consume by smoking or vaping are:

  • a private residence including enclosed backyards, decks or patios;
  • private property not accessible to the public as long as the owner is okay with it;
  • and, at special events where organizers have permits for festivals of up to four days.

The new marijuana law will mean that apartment owners must allow possession and uses of edibles and other delivery methods, but can prohibit smoking and vaping inside apartments.

At the next legislative session, public smoking of marijuana is expected to be one of the areas that lawmakers will be considering.

The new law makes it legal to possess and use recreational marijuana before it is legal to buy it. For at least 18 months, the only legal supply will be whatever a person can grow themselves.

Under the new law, anyone 21 and older can possess and travel in the state with 2 ounces of cannabis flower, 8 grams of concentrate and 800 milligrams worth of THC-containing edible products such as gummies and seltzers. They also can have up to 2 pounds of cannabis flower at home.

Persons will be able to grow up to eight plants at home, with no more than four flowering. But, the plants must be grown in an enclosed, locked space that’s not open to public view, whether it’s indoors or in a garden.

Similar to the state’s “open container law,” both the driver and passengers will not to able to possess, smoke or vape cannabis and hemp products.

One of my concerns is someone who is driving while smoking marijuana,” says Olson.

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