Marijuana and more: New Minnesota laws taking effect Aug. 1
Dozens of new state laws officially go into effect Tuesday as we enter August.
While much has been made about the legalization of adult-use recreational marijuana, there are many other laws taking effect on Aug. 1, too.
See some of the measures that take effect Tuesday below. The full list can be found here.
Yes, you’re likely aware that anyone 21 and older will be allowed to have up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower, 8 grams of concentrate and 800 milligrams of edible products starting Tuesday. The process to start expunging past misdemeanor marijuana-related convictions for Minnesotans will also begin, although that is expected to take until August 2024.
However, there are still some restrictions. Marijuana usage still won’t be allowed at schools, multifamily housing buildings, anywhere minors could inhale the smoke or anywhere that smoking cigarettes and vaping is already banned. Additionally, it will still be illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Also, most retail sales aren’t expected to start until 2025.
Catalytic converter thefts
Starting Tuesday, anyone buying a catalytic converter will have to keep detailed records of who they bought it from. Starting next August, it will also require scrap yards to report the purchase of vehicles and catalytic converters to a new online database.
The change seeks to close a loophole in state law that officials say has led to the wave in catalytic converter thefts in recent years.
Additionally, anyone found with a detached catalytic converter without proper documentation could face a felony charge, and criminals convicted of stealing them will have to pay to replace the victim’s catalytic converter.
Some new gun laws passed by state lawmakers this spring also go into effect Tuesday.
Background checks will be required for all private transfers of pistols and semi-automatic military-style assault weapons, and law enforcement officers have to deny gun applications if signs point to a substantial chance the recipient would be a danger to themselves or others.
Also, private parties will need a valid permit and government ID to legally get a pistol or assault weapon from another private party.
CROWN Act becomes law
A law to ban hair discrimination officially takes effect Aug. 1.
Based on the CROWN Act, the law adds protections for traits associated with race, like hair texture and styles, to the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
The name of the bill stands for “creating a respectful and open world for natural hair.”
‘Idaho Stop’ legalized
Bicyclists in Minnesota will now be able to go through a stop sign without first coming to a complete stop.
Often referred to as the “Idaho Stop Law,” starting Aug. 1, cyclists won’t have to stop at a stop sign if there isn’t a vehicle in the area.
It’s important to note that only applies to stop signs, as cyclists will still have to stop at red lights.
Expanded GPS tracking for law enforcement
Law enforcement agencies in the state will be able to use more technology to track stolen vehicles.
Starting Tuesday, agencies will be able to use GPS devices to track vehicles that are reported stolen. Previously, authorities have needed consent from the vehicle’s owner.
Police say the update will also help cut down on high-speed chases.
Deferred prosecution process for military members
Changes to the Veterans Restorative Justice Act will take effect Tuesday.
The act actually became law in 2021, allowing veterans to avoid jail for certain crimes by instead providing them the necessary resources to treat them and help them successfully reintegrate into society.
The changes allow military members to request an assessment to see if they’re eligible under the act before pleading guilty or going to trial. Any veteran who suffers a condition from their military service and whose condition — such as substance abuse, trauma or traumatic brain injuries — led to the offense is considered eligible.
Stronger privacy law
Changes to strengthen state privacy laws will take effect on Aug. 1.
Among the updates is a change that further outlaws any secret peeping or recording when a person has an expectation of privacy.
The changes are meant to eliminate loopholes that allow secret privacy invasions.
New law criminalizing deepfakes
Digitally altering video or audio of someone to make the subject do or say something that didn’t actually happen will be criminalized starting Aug. 1.
Anyone who commits the act, known as making a deepfake, without the consent of the clip’s subject will be violating the law, specifically as it relates to sex-related deepfakes.
The law will also make it a crime to disseminate a deepfake within 90 days of election in an attempt to influence the election’s outcome.
Officials across the U.S., not just in Minnesota, have begun putting safeguards on artificial intelligence, the technology used to create deepfakes.
New organized retail theft crime
A new crime specifically for organized retail theft becomes law Tuesday.
Created to help combat what was seen as a growing trend, the law creates specific penalties for a pattern of retail theft or participating in an organized crime ring that steals from stores.
Different from just shoplifting, the new law aims to target thefts or large quantities of merchandise from stores, which crime rings often then convert into cash.
Penalties can range from up to a year in jail if the stolen property is $500 or less to up to 15 years in prison.
Expanded access to low-cost insulin
More Minnesotans will be able to access low-cost insulin starting on Tuesday.
The Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program, which was created in 2020 to help those struggling to afford their insulin, will now be able to serve undocumented Minnesotans.
The state says individual taxpayer identification numbers will be an accepted form of identification for program eligibility, allowing those without a valid state ID card to join the program.
More information is available online.
Electronic signatures on wills
Wills will now be able to be witnessed and completed electronically.
The update also provides some technical and clarifying changes to the law.
No ‘faith statements’ for college credit programs … maybe
Schools that participate in postsecondary programs will no longer be able to require a “faith statement” from applicants for admission — maybe.
That will officially become law on Aug. 1, but the measure prompted lawsuits right after it was approved by state lawmakers this spring.
In response to the lawsuits, the state has said it won’t enforce the measure until the lawsuits are resolved.