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Minnesota passed medical marijuana legislation in 2015. The state’s medical marijuana environment remains one of the most restrictive in the country, due to a relatively small list of qualifying conditions and limits on the types of cannabis that patients can purchase. Minnesota dispensaries cannot sell cannabis leaves and flowers intended for smoking. In Minnesota, approved cannabis deliver forms include liquids, pills, and vaporization.
Recreational use remains illegal, but this may change. The state’s new governor Tim Walz, elected in November 2018, has promised to regulate recreational marijuana use during his term in office, which means that a recreational market could be just around the corner.
Yes. Minnesota requires its cannabis dispensary owners (called manufacturers in the state’s legal language) to apply for and receive a license from the state. As of 2019, the state has eight dispensary locations run by two manufacturers who operate four locations each.
The Minnesota Department of Health manages the state’s medical cannabis program. The Department of Health selected two manufacturers at the beginning of the state’s medical cannabis program, and has not opened itself up to new applications since then.
As of 2019, the state of Minnesota is not accepting new manufacturer applications and is unlikely to begin a new enrollment period until legislation changes, which could happen in the next year or two. There is no way to obtain a cannabis dispensary license in Minnesota right now except by acquiring one of the state’s existing holders (subject to regulator approval).
Dispensary organizations must provide state authorities with a full business plan covering every aspect of the cultivation, processing, and sale of cannabis products. The state explicitly prohibits hydrocarbon-based extraction using butane, hexane, or alcohols, and requires manufacturers to generate comprehensive reports on virtually every aspect of their business.
Minnesota’s cannabis dispensary applicants submitted a $20,000 non-refundable application fee. Only two organizations were approved, which means the rest simply lost their money.
Yes. Minnesota has not publicly published its annual fee structure, but the original applications mention that the state’s two successful applicants will have to pay an “oversight fee” every year, and that the sum will depend on the success of the program itself. The Department of Health clarified that it expects to charge between $75,000 and $100,000 per year.
Minnesota only offers a single type of cannabis retail license, called a manufacturer license. This is a one-size-fits-all license for cultivating, processing, transporting, and selling cannabis in the state.
The state announced its first round of successful applicants three months after its manufacturer application deadline. These two applicants both had operational cannabis businesses running seven months after earning their licenses.
If Minnesota passes recreational marijuana legislation, it is likely that the state will accept retail dispensary applications from individuals who already own dispensaries. However, it is not certain – actual results depend on the regulatory framework the state eventually adopts.
Minnesota only allows two cannabis organizations to operate within its borders. It specifies that dispensaries must be 1000 feet away from any public or private school.
No. Minnesota state law does not require cannabis event organizers to take special action or apply for permits. Cannabis advocates regularly hold events in support of recreational cannabis legislation.
No. Cannabis event organizers and exhibitors do not need to apply for any event-specific licensing. Providing attendees with cannabis products is prohibited, though.
Any dispensary owner can host a cannabis-themed event in accordance with local laws without applying for an event license. However, the events must be educational in nature. Selling or advertising marijuana to people who are not registered patients is prohibited.
Minnesota dispensary owners need to generate comprehensive reports on inventory, sales, logistics, cultivation, processing, security, and more. Appointing a highly conscientious compliance officer and implementing automated solutions for report generation are critical to success in the state.
Minnesota dispensaries and cultivation sites must implement a commercial-grade security alarm system, facility access controls, RFID-based personnel identity system, and a perimeter intrusion system. Authorities must have unlimited access to these systems upon request.
Not easily. Minnesota prefers manufacturers package and label cannabis at the cultivation site, and the state’s laws against dried smokable flower means that almost all cannabis products will have to be prepared using off-site equipment. It is technically possible to install that equipment in a retail store, but it hampers efficiency.
No. Minnesota dispensaries can only sell cannabis products and cannabis-related products strictly for medical purposes.
Yes. Minnesota actually requires its cannabis dispensaries to be owned and operated by organizations that also operate their own cultivation sites. Dispensaries are prohibited from operating outside their respective territories, essentially requiring vertical integration and local market monopolization.
No. Minnesota specifically prohibits dispensaries from giving cannabis products away for free unless the Department of Health has specifically approved the patient in question for financial assistance.
Minnesota does not require dispensaries to adhere to specific operating hours. Dispensary owners must report operating hours to the Department of Health as part of their application, though.
Although Minnesota regulations specify that manufacturers must comply with “reasonable restrictions” on advertising, the state has not published any specific restrictions. Instead, it refers to prescription drug laws.
Minors can obtain medical marijuana cards and can purchase marijuana in Minnesota, but the registration process is far more complex for minors than it is for adults over the age of 18. While there is no age limit, dispensary owners should treat minors with special scrutiny.
Minnesota requires cannabis dispensaries to generate comprehensive reports on almost every aspect of their daily business operations. Seed-to-sale reporting offers data on the cannabis supply chain, showing how, when, and where individual plants were processed into cannabis products and then sold – and to whom.