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2016 Drug Reform Act

2016 Minn. Session Laws, Chapter 160, revises Minnesota’s drug sentencing laws and directs certain changes to the drug-sentencing revisions proposed by the Commission in its January 15, 2016, Report to the Legislature.
 
Description of Amendments Resulting from the Act:
  • Adopt the proposed Drug Offender Grid, with modifications.
  • Eliminate proposed Severity Level (SL) D7.
  • Renumber proposed severity levels D10, D9, and D8 as severity levels D9, D8, and D7, respectively.
  • Change the presumptive disposition for new SL D7 from executed to stayed at criminal history scores of 0 and 1.
  • Rank aggravated first-degree controlled substance crime at new SL D9.
  • Rank first-degree possession of a controlled substance at new SL D8 (with sale).
  • Rank second-degree controlled substance crime at new SL D7.
  • Make conforming changes to the Guidelines.
  • A list of “aggravating factors” is created.
  • Aggravated controlled substance crime in the first degree is created.
  • A mandatory-minimum sentence is established for the aggravated first-degree offense, with no waiver provision.
  • A mandatory minimum sentence is established for first-degree offenses where the aggravated amounts are involved, but the offense is not otherwise an aggravated first-degree offense.
  • A disposition under Minn. Stat. § 152.18 no longer qualifies a subsequent offense as a “subsequent controlled substance conviction.”
  • The new mandatory-minimum provision applies to first- and second-degree offenses, and only prior first- and second-degree offenses qualify a subsequent first- or second-degree offense as a “subsequent controlled substance offense conviction.”
  • § 609.11 mandatory-minimum penalties must also be added to the mandatory-minimum penalties for aggravated first-degree controlled substance crime, but only if the crime is aggravated because of two aggravating factors, rather than because of a firearm.
  • Cocaine and methamphetamine weight thresholds are increased for first- and second-degree controlled substance crime, and third-degree possession offenses. Some or all of those threshold increases are rolled back if the offense involves a firearm or multiple aggravating factors.
  • Marijuana weight thresholds are reduced for first- and second-degree offenses, and the marijuana plant is introduced as a new measure of quantity and severity.
  • For offenders with no prior Minn. Stat. chapter 152 convictions, fifth-degree possession of certain small amounts of a controlled substance becomes of a gross misdemeanor.
  • Eligibility for disposition under Minn. Stat. § 152.18 is expanded to third-degree possession offenses.
  • Disposition under Minn. Stat. § 152.18 becomes mandatory for eligible fifth-degree possession cases with no prior felony record and no prior convictions for gross misdemeanor fifth-degree possession.
  • The mandatory-minimum provisions of § 609.11 may not be waived for first- or second-degree sale while using or possessing, on the person or within the immediate reach of the defendant or an accomplice, a firearm.

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