Though a small amount of marijuana in its plant form is decriminalized; any amount – even a small amount – of hashish, hash oil, cannabis wax, or a similar “resinous form of marijuana” can be charged as a felony crime under current Minnesota law. There is no rational basis to treat a person with the resinous form as a felon, while a person with the plant-form is not a criminal at all. The law should be updated to reflect current Minnesota public policy favoring the resinious form of marijuana, by treating small amounts of all forms of marijuana the same.
One key difference between the two versions is that the the House Bill follows a medical, clinical study format with distribution through pharmacies. This fundamental difference will trigger presumably unintended consequences that will likely may the proposed law unworkable under other, existing Minnesota laws relating to pharmacies.
This week, the MN Senate passed a medical marijuana Bill that is better than nothing. Friday May 9, 2014,The MN House passed a Bill that is worse than nothing. The two Bills will now go to a Sentate-House Conference Committee to negotiate one Bill that will then face an up or down vote in the House and Senate, and if passed in both, then go to the Governor.
The Minnesota Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, has now ruled that Bong Water (water which had been used in a water pipe) was a “mixture” of “25 grams or more” supporting a criminal conviction for Controlled Substance crime in the first degree. The crime is the most serious felony drug crime in Minnesota, with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for a first offense. The case is Minnesota v Peck, A08-579, Minnesota Supreme Court, October 22, 2009.
The majority opinion takes a literal view, arguing in essence that any amount of a substance dissolved in water makes that water a “mixture” containing that substance. Perhaps. But, since Minnesota’s criminal prohibition laws are organized to make greater quantities of drug possession a more serious crime than smaller quantities, such a simple-minded view defeats the purpose of the quantity-based severity levels.