Full Implementation of Minnesota’s New Marijuana Law Facing Delays
Jan 27, 2024
Minnesota has encountered unexpected problems while implementing its new marijuana law. As such, the implementation has experienced significant delays. State officials commented that it will be another year or so of necessary work before the law’s provisions can take effect.
Minnesota’s governor signed the marijuana bill almost eight months ago. However, the Office of Cannabis Management involved with the bill now lacks a director, as the previous director recently resigned. Though there were talks of a potential replacement, the individual no longer works in state government, thus ending such speculation. Many now speculate that a new director will take charge sometime in mid-February.
Another issue delaying the full implementation of the law concerns the Cannabis Expungement Board. According to the Board, it needs to fill two vital openings. Filling these positions will allow the Board to begin expunging misdemeanor and felony convictions.
State officials have also not specified when the retail sale of marijuana will start. However, they believe it will begin early in 2025. There are also predictions that preliminary cannabis industry rules will take effect by spring 2025.
The government will also need to appoint someone to oversee the cannabis office. Though someone has temporarily filled the position that manages the office, the individual’s contract expires on February 15. However, the state is not accepting applications for the job yet and has not said when they expect to hire someone.
Technical and programming issues have also delayed automatic expungements. These delays significantly affect marijuana-related petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor convictions. As such, many should not expect expungement until August. Meanwhile, the state will handle higher-level convictions differently. These cases require review by a specially appointed board.
Another delay concerns the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. This Bureau is responsible for handling automatic expungements. According to the Bureau, technical infrastructure needs have affected the delays. The Bureau of Infrastructure’s website revealed how contractors and staffers struggle with identifying marijuana records eligible for expungement. Another struggle concerns how they will inform individuals of their eligible convictions.
Once the new law goes into effect, it will open up new job opportunities for individuals who have had their criminal records expunged. It will also provide a larger labor pool for employers. However, employers in Minnesota don’t have to wait for the law to take effect. Employers can proactively determine whether various convictions are relevant to their open positions. The best way to start a second chance hiring program is to work with an experienced background check company.
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