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Here’s How Legal Marijuana is Going in Minnesota.

Adult-use cannabis officially became legal on August 1st, 2023, thanks to progressives in the Minnesota House and Senate.

The new law establishes cannabis for recreational use and takes crucial measures to begin to repair the legacy of racial injustice created by decades of criminalized marijuana use. 

Here’s what the first few months of legal cannabis looked like in Minnesota: 

Minnesota Stands Out in the Midwest 

Conservatives in other Midwest states rejected legislation to legalize marijuana and reimagine cannabis criminalization but Minnesota progressives delivered. 

Minnesota is in stark contrast to its neighboring state of Wisconsin whose conservative State Senate recently rejected a popular proposal to legalize cannabis and reverse its status as a marijuana “island of prohibition.”

Minnesota is bordered entirely by states where commercial cannabis products remain illegal. And recreational cannabis sales are already booming. 

In the first six weeks since the law took effect, Minnesota gained nearly $600,000 new dollars in tax revenue for Minnesota businesses. As the industry grows, that amount is expected to grow even more.  

With our neighbors keeping weed under lock, there are huge potential gains from out-of-state revenue for Minnesota as well. 

New Privileges for Minnesotans and Small Businesses

There are approximately 2,300 businesses selling hemp-derived products in Minnesota and that number is expected to greatly increase in the next year. Minnesotans over 21 can now legally possess and publicly transport 2 ounces of cannabis flower and up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates thanks to the new law.  

Minnesotans can expect to see more widespread commercial sales of marijuana products at new dispensaries beginning in 2025. This year, the state will work to establish a licensing process for non-tribal dispensaries. 

First Dispensaries Run by Tribal Nations

Minnesota’s new cannabis law takes steps to honor tribal sovereignty, and Governor Tim Walz has approved negotiations that will grant tribal nations the ability to sell cannabis products commercially before the state licensing process is finished. 

Since August 1st, several tribal nations have already opened up dispensaries on their land. The Red Lake and White Earth tribes have all approved commercial cannabis stores, and Red Lake made history with the first recreational marijuana sale in Minnesota history. 

The one-year headstart for selling commercial cannabis products will ensure financial gain for these tribes.

A Clean Slate for Minnesotans

Currently, a Black person in Minnesota is about 4.8 times more likely to be arrested for a marijuana charge (despite data showing that Black and white residents use cannabis at similar rates).

These convictions can show up on background checks for Minnesotans and can make applying for housing and jobs extremely difficult.

To help address criminal justice inequities created by our current system, progressives included expunging low-level cannabis use offenses and expunging records of cannabis-related misdemeanors in the legislation.

And expungements are on the way for Minnesotans with cannabis-related convictions on their records! The expungement process is expected to last until August 2024 and will mean a fresh start for thousands of Minnesotans.  

Exciting things to come for Minnesota

Want to keep up with everything marijuana? Subscribe to  Nuggets, a weekly newsletter chronicling legal cannabis in Minnesota by the Star Tribune.

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