In 2019, Illinois voters cast ballots that legalized recreational marijuana in the state beginning at the start of this year, following in the footsteps of other states around the nation.

As recreational uses of the plant shed their longstanding legal turmoil and social taboos, cannabis-based business are booming in states that have moved to legalize it. Dispensaries, bake shops, cafes, growers and investors alike are sharing in a wealth of creative and profitable new horizons.

However, the Minnesota House Legislature and Senate can’t agree on measures to legalize it in the state. A recent bill passed by the House was rejected by GOP senators, further drawing out attempts to catch Minnesota up with the 11 states so far who have legalized the plant.

Racial injustice continues along with the taboo

While medical marijuana use is legal, the racial disparities attached to drug law enforcement efforts are still problematic for much of the population. Minnesota ranks fairly high on the ACLU’s list of worst states for racial disparity in marijuana enforcement, a report the organization released in April.

Because anyone can be charged for marijuana possession in Minnesota, it’s important to know your rights if you are stopped or searched. If you’ve been stopped by police and marijuana or any other drug is found on you, it’s possible the officer acted illegally to uncover the substance.

What are my rights?

If the police do stop you, there is no obligation to consent to a search without a valid warrant, except for a pat down if it’s suspected you’re carrying weapons. Often, people will be coerced or threatened into allowing an unlawful search.

You do not have to speak to police and may plead the fifth amendment, which gives you the right to remain silent. This is important to remember. Always contact a qualified attorney as soon as you possibly can.

If your rights have been violated in the process of discovering possession of any substance, it’s possible that the case can be thrown out, or charges lowered or dropped. Your attorney can help you more fully understand and advocate for the circumstances of your case.

Remember that recreational marijuana is still illegal in Minnesota. Protect yourself while the battle to change those laws continues.