Minneapolis has voted to reduce penalties for possessing marijuana.
Previously, the city classified the possession of a "small amount" of marijuana as a misdemeanor. After Friday's vote, Minneapolis will reduce the charges to a petty misdemeanor – which is not a crime – to match up with the state law.
Minnesota law defines a misdemeanor as a crime for which the sentence is 90 days or less, and/or the fine is $1,000 or less. A petty misdemeanor is not punishable by jail time, and the maximum fine is $300.
A "small amount" of marijuana means 42.5 grams or less, according to state law. Any more than that is charged as a felony.
According to the request, the city attorney believes the change will be of little to no impact because Minneapolis police use the state statue when dealing with "small amount" of marijuana possession cases.
Marijuana in Minnesota
Minnesota legalized marijuana for medical use in June.
So far, more than a thousand patients have been approved for medical cannabis, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. And more than 500 healthcare practitioners are registered to give it to patients.
Minnesota's medical marijuana program is considered to be one of the strictest in the U.S. Patients are only allowed to get it in pill or liquid form – it can't be smoked. And patients are only qualified to receive it if they've been diagnosed with one of the following conditions:
- Cancer associated with severe or chronic pain, nausea, severe vomiting or severe wasting
- Tourette syndrome
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Crohn's disease
- Terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than a year
As of August 1, patients with intractable pain will be eligible to get medical marijuana.