Minnesota doesn’t take drugs and alcohol lightly. In fact, they have a lot of laws that say what you can and cannot do with these substances. Breaking these laws has serious consequences, so it’s best to know what they are. Take a look through the drug and alcohol laws in Minnesota and stay informed.

DWI Laws in Minnesota

In Minnesota the police can arrest you for “driving while intoxicated” (DWI). This means that you are driving or physically controlling a motor vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Under the influence of any substance that makes it hard to drive.
  • Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more.
  • Having any amount of a drug listed by Minnesota in Schedule I or II (except marijuana).

This doesn’t just apply to cars. It also means things like motorcycles, snowmobiles and motorboats.

Zero Tolerance Laws for Minnesota

Minnesota has zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. If you are under 21, it’s a misdemeanor to drink any amount of alcohol and drive. In fact, it’s defined as driving with any physical evidence of alcohol use in the body. Breaking this law comes with more penalties on top of the normal punishments for a DWI.

Is Marijuana Legal in Minnesota

In Minnesota, it’s against the law to use marijuana recreationally. Having, growing or selling it is a crime with heavy penalties.

Minnesota does have legal medical marijuana for diseases like cancer, PTSD and AIDS. If you have one of the listed conditions, you have to have a doctor’s diagnosis and put your name in a registry. You can only get medical marijuana in liquid, pill or vapor form.

Drug and Alcohol Related Crimes

In Minnesota, there are different kinds of crimes related to drugs and alcohol depending on what you were doing with them:

  • Possession of illegal drugs: If a drug is on Minnesota’s list of illegal substances, it’s a crime to have it. Other drugs are only legal to have if they are prescribed by a doctor.
  • Manufacturing illegal drugs: You cannot make any of the drugs illegal in Minnesota. This includes chemically producing them, growing plants like the opium poppy or marijuana, or breaking down these plants for drugs.
  • Distribution of illegal drugs: Selling or distributing drugs is a serious crime in Minnesota. This is especially true if you sell to children or near a school.
  • Driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol (DWI): It’s against the law to drive in Minnesota if you’ve used drugs or alcohol. If drugs or alcohol are affecting your driving, you can be arrested for DWI.

Penalties for Drug or Alcohol Abuse in Minnesota

Minnesota has strict penalties for breaking its drug and alcohol laws. These depend on the kind of drug, the law broken and other things.

DWI Penalties in Minnesota

The punishment for DWI in Minnesota depends on the “degree.” The state will decide which degree to charge you with. This is based on different things like how many DWIs you’ve had in the past, whether there were children or other passengers in the car, and how intoxicated you were.

  • For a fourth-degree DWI, expect up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • For a third- or second-degree DWI, expect up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
  • A first-degree DWI is a felony. Expect up to 7 years in jail and a $14,000 fine.

Zero Tolerance Penalties in Minnesota

If you’re under 21, drunk driving comes with even more penalties. Normally, you will face misdemeanor charges, but you may also face:

  • Losing your license until age 18.
  • Required community service.
  • Alcohol education classes.

Cannabis Penalties in Minnesota

Having or selling marijuana in Minnesota comes with penalties based on the amount. For example, having less than 42.5 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor punished by a $200 fine. More 42.5 grams is a felony with harsher penalties. More than 100 kilograms means up to 30 years in jail and a $1,000,000 fine.

These penalties can go up even more if children are involved or the crime is near a school. Plus, having more than 1.4 grams in your car could result in 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Get Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Minnesota

Beating drugs and alcohol can seem impossible, but with professional help and a plan designed for you, a healthy lifestyle is within your reach. If you or a loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, call your nearest treatment center today to learn about your options.  


  1. Johnson, B. (2018). An Overview of Minnesota’s DWI Laws
  2. The State of Minnesota. (n.d.). Medical Cannabis Qualifying Conditions
  3. The State of Minnesota. (n.d.). Ch. 152 MN Statutes

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