What Homeowners Associations Need to Know About Decriminalization of Cannabis in Minnesota Part I: The Basics

It’s no secret that the 2023 legislative session in Minnesota ended with the adoption of significant new laws and changes to existing laws, but the decriminalization of adult use and sale of cannabis was headline-making news. Included in the 300-page bill were a few provisions that will affect homeowners associations. Part I of this article provides a broad overview of what the decriminalization means for associations. Future parts will address nuisance claims for use of cannabis and prohibitions on cannabis use on multi-family buildings.

Can anybody smoke cannabis anywhere now?

In short, no. Minnesota’s law allows only adults over the age of twenty-one (21) to use cannabis. Adults may possess no more than two pounds of cannabis flower in their private residence. They may use cannabis products only in a private residence (including the yard area), and only if the owner of the property does not specifically prohibit such use. Furthermore, adults may not “vaporize [vape] or smoke cannabis flower” or cannabis products where such vapor, smoke or aerosol would be inhaled by a minor.

Minnesota’s Clean Indoor Air Act’s prohibition on smoking in places accessible by the public will apply to vaping or smoking of cannabis products.

Are existing smoking prohibitions enforceable? Can associations adopt prohibitions on smoking, including smoking cannabis?

Restrictions on smoking that are already in place may continue to be enforced regardless of the state’s decriminalization of cannabis use. Associations may still amend their declarations to prohibit or restrict use of cannabis in their communities.

Can residents grow cannabis in their homes?

Yes. Under the new law, “Up to eight cannabis plants, with no more than four being mature, flowering plants may be grown at a single residence [including the yard], without a license to cultivate cannabis issued under this chapter provided that cultivation takes place at the primary residence of an individual 21 years of age or older and in an enclosed, locked space that is not open to public view.” Therefore, residents may not grow cannabis plants in gardens or in pots on patios or decks/balconies.

Various provisions of the cannabis bill, which was signed into law by Governor Walz on May 30, 2023, have different effective dates. The general provisions discussed here took effect immediately upon approval by the governor.

Up Next: Nuisance claims based on cannabis use and the potential consequences for associations responding to such claims

NOTE:  Minnesota’s cannabis law is expansive and includes terms with various effective dates and specific authorizations and prohibitions. This article provides a broad  summary of some provisions of the law that generally affect homeowners associations. If you have questions about how the laws regarding adult use and sale of cannabis in Minnesota may impact your association, please contact attorney Nancy Polomis at 952-746-2105 or [email protected].