Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- A new law that took effect earlier this year has led to new citations being issued in the Rochester area and across Minnesota. 

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Earlier this year, Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law that legalized recreational use and possession of marijuana. The new law took effect last month. 

The end of cannabis prohibition does not mark the end of tickets related to cannabis possession. While possessing up to two ounces of cannabis in public and up to two pounds in a private residence is legal, removing it from its packaging while in a motor vehicle can result in a ticket. 

Trimmed marijuana flower (Mango Kush) in glass jar on wood table with vape pen.

The Minnesota State Patrol has ticketed at least one motorist in southeast Minnesota suspected of violating the law. Amanda Grayson, Crime Prevention & Communications Coordinator for the Rochester Police Department (RPD) says officers have issued one citation since the new law took effect on August 1. 

Minnesota State Patrol/Facebook
Minnesota State Patrol/Facebook

Grayson says in order for officers to issue a citation during a traffic stop, “An officer needs reasonable articulable suspicion to expand the scope of a stop regarding cannabis-related offenses. An example would be observing improperly packaged marijuana.” 

She says RPD is taking the new law seriously and that officers received additional training regarding the new statue earlier this year. 

TJ Leverentz/TSM
TJ Leverentz/TSM

The state law says, “It is a crime for a person to have in possession, while in a private motor vehicle on a street or highway, any cannabis flower, a cannabis product, a lower-potency hemp edible, a hemp-derived consumer product, or any other product containing an artificially derived cannabinoid that:

(1) is in packaging or another container that does not comply with the relevant packaging requirements in chapter 152 or 342;

 (2) has been removed from the packaging in which it was sold; 

(3) is in packaging that has been opened or the seal has been broken; or 

(4) is in packaging of which the contents have been partially removed.”

The citation is classified as a misdemeanor-level offense. 

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