Expert Alert

Legalizing marijuana in Minnesota

Image of a judge with an approval stamp.
Credit: Getty Images

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (07/31/2023) — Beginning August 1, adult-use recreational marijuana will be legal in Minnesota.

Peter Morrell, a professor in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, is available to provide expert commentary as Minnesotans prepare for this transition.

Peter Morrell, Ph.D.

“Recreational use of marijuana in Minnesota will bring the state into closer alignment with much of the country. Our current medical marijuana laws have not permitted consumers to grow marijuana for their own use. Minnesota's current THC consumables law requires that the THC is hemp-derived, but hemp by definition produces a limited amount of THC.”

“Legalization makes adult recreational use of marijuana quasilegal in Minnesota. However, federal law and laws in most neighboring states still prohibit recreational use. There will be restrictions on marijuana; you still can't carry it across state lines or into public places like the university or the airport.”

“Most of the marijuana produced in Minnesota will be grown indoors. This will require lighting, heat, cooling and ventilation, which are energy intensive. Minimizing the climate and energy usage impacts of production will require planning and education efforts.”

Peter Morrell is a professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. His areas of interest include computational biology, evolutionary genetics and plant evolution. Each fall semester he teaches a course on the Science of Cannabis.

About the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences 
The University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) strives to inspire minds, nourish people, and sustainably enhance the natural environment. CFANS has a legacy of innovation, bringing discoveries to life through science and educating the next generation of leaders. Every day, students, faculty, and researchers use science to address the grand challenges of the world today and in the future. CFANS offers an unparalleled expanse of experiential learning opportunities for students and the community, with 12 academic departments, 10 research and outreach centers across the state, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the Bell Museum of Natural History, and dozens of interdisciplinary centers. Learn more at

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