Minnesota’s Cannabis Legalization: What’s Happening in 2024

Here’s What to Expect On Minnesota’s Legal Cannabis Journey in 2024 

It’s been a year since adults became legally able to possess cannabis in Minnesota, but the retail market is still relatively small. As Minnesota develops a licensing structure, we’ll likely see the market grow. Here’s how changing laws are affecting cannabis businesses and users in Minnesota this year.

New Laws Will Expedite the Process for Legitimate Cannabis Businesses in Minnesota

On May 24, 2024, Governor Tim Walz signed a new cannabis bill into law. These recent changes are designed to help expedite the launch of our state’s cannabis industry. 

To do this, Minnesota law now allows eligible social equity applicants to grow cannabis. That way, we’re more likely to have the supply necessary to meet demand when retail sales begin statewide next year. (Currently, cannabis sales can only be done on tribal lands that allow it. Statewide, sales are limited to consumable products made with hemp-derived THC.)

The bill also includes provisions to strengthen social equity and increase protections for people who participate in Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Program.

Another aspect of the bill aims to improve the licensing process for businesses planning to sell cannabis. People applying for retail cannabis licenses were initially required to have a physical location for their store before applying. Now, that requirement has been dropped, making it more affordable to get into the cannabis business.

Further, the Office of Medical Cannabis changed to the Office of Cannabis Management sooner than originally planned. This name change helps ensure that the government is ready to regulate a full range of cannabis-related products.

New Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensaries Are Opening

In June 2024, the closest legal cannabis dispensary to the Twin Cities metro area opened for business. The Sweetest Grass, owned by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, is located in Walker, Minnesota. That’s just over a three-hour drive from downtown Minneapolis. 

The owners anticipate a lot of summer business as people from the Cities head north for vacation. This dispensary joins two existing businesses, NativeCare and Waabigwan Mashkiki, as Minnesota’s only dispensaries. All three are north of the Twin Cities area. 

The list of dispensaries will surely continue to grow as we approach legal retail sales in 2025.

Some Cannabis Laws Remain the Same in 2024

Despite changes to the laws, some things are staying the same. It’s still a crime to transport cannabis across Minnesota state lines into other states where it’s not legal. Doing so could lead to prosecution in another state, as well as federal charges.

It’s also still a crime to smoke cannabis and operate a motor vehicle. Doing so can lead to charges of driving while impaired, which come with serious consequences.

Do you have questions about changing cannabis regulations and how they may affect you? Contact our Elk River law firm by calling us at 763-241-0477. Consultations are free and confidential.

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