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A Rose is a Rose is a … Sale? Marijuana Cultivation Laws in Minnesota

Does the word “Cultivate” mean “Sell?”

No?   Well, the Minnesota legislature has decreed otherwise.  Minnesota’s marijuana cultivation laws contain nonsense.

Minnesota lawmakers, influenced by the state’s prosecutors, have taken a page from Humpty Dumpty in Alice Through the Lookinglass:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, ” it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make a words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be the master – that’s all.”

Statutory nonsense verse

The legislature thinks it can define terms in any way they wish, regardless of common meaning.  Like Humpty Dumpty in Alice, sometimes they go too far.   The legislature gives words a statutory definition completely divorced from their common meaning.  And they’ve done it again – in Minnesota’s marijuana cultivation laws.

The limits on legislative power

Marijuana Growing Indoors: Minnesota marijuana cultivation laws
Marijuana Growing Indoors: Minnesota marijuana cultivation laws

Yet – their power does have limits.  We, the People, are complicit in unjust marijuana cultivation laws to the extent that we tolerate them.  We must hold the legislature accountable, when need be.

The courts can strike down such nonsense as unconstitutional.  And we can ask the courts to do so.

And the People on the Jury have the power of Jury Nullification.  The jury can acquit anyone of criminal charges based on a law that that the Jury finds to be nonsense. 

Even one juror can veto the law.  One lone dissenter on the juror has the power to stop a “guilty” verdict.  Why?  Because a verdict in a criminal case must be unanimous.

The framers designed this jury power to be a check and balance on government power.   The jury’s power limits the power of the elites in the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

If the judge won’t dismiss a prosecution based on these nonsense marijuana cultivation laws, they jury still can.

Grow a tomato; money magically appears?

If you grow a tomato in your backyard, then eat it there off the vine; have you by doing so also “Sold” it?  Replace “tomato” with “marijuana.”  Same conclusion?

Minnesota Statutes §152.01, subd. 15a, defines “Sell” to include “to manufacture.”  Then, , their definition of “Manufacture” in Minnesota Statutes §152.01, subd. 7, means “cultivation” of “drugs.” 

Tricky, aren’t they?

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By redefining the common meaning of words, they’ve turned “growing marijuana” into a “sale,” where no sale took place.  No money.  No buyer.  That’s how low Minnesota’s marijuana grow laws go.

For more on marijuana cultivation laws take a look at our Minnesota marijuana grow defense page.

By Thomas C Gallagher, Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer, and legalization activist.

See: Marijuana Legalization in Minnesota: What Should It Look like?

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