Minnesota Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS MINNESOTA'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Minnesota is still developing its presence in the cannabis industry. The state has created a successful medical cannabis program but has yet to legalize cannabis for recreational-use. However, new political moves are being made that could include cannabis legalization legislation on the Minnesotan ballot in November.
WHAT ARE MINNESOTA'S CANNABIS LAWS?
Currently, there are a series of medical cannabis laws in place in the state of Minnesota. These laws established and protected the legal medical cannabis system, and outline which patients are allowed to participate. The Minnesota Medical Marijuana Act allows patients with qualifying conditions to register for medical cannabis. Such conditions can include chronic pain, cancer (if the patient has severe pain, nausea, or wasting), glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Tourette’s, ALS, seizures, severe and persistent spasms, inflammatory bowel disease — including Crohn’s disease, terminal illness with less than one year to live (if the patient has severe pain, nausea, or wasting), intractable pain, PTSD, autism, obstructive sleep apnea, and Alzheimer's disease.
WHAT IS MINNESOTA'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
Minnesota’s medical cannabis program and application process is regulated by Minnesota’s Department of Health. All Minnesotan medical cannabis state-sanctioned manufacturers and retailers applied for their licenses in 2014, and the state is not currently accepting more applications.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN MINNESOTA?
Early on in 1976 Minnesota decriminalized cannabis possession under 42.5 grams or less as a small misdemeanor. According to the Marijuana Policy Project (mpp.org), in May of 2014 the Minnesota Senate and House passed different medical marijuana bills, including the Minnesota Medical Marijuana Act. The Senate bill included more patients, including those with PTSD, severe nausea, wasting, and intractable pain, and more dispensaries while costing significantly less to administer. The House bill reflected several demands from law enforcement and Governor Mark Dayton, including prohibiting patients from using cannabis flowers or leaves in their natural form, having a monopoly manufacturer, and including an invasive observational study. On May 15, 2014, a committee agreed to a compromise, which the House and Senate signed off on the following day. Dayton signed the bill into law on May 29, 2014. The first dispensary opened a little more than a year later, on July 1, 2015.
In 2018, Governor Tim Walz sparked the conversation around recreational legalization arguing the tax revenue could be great for the state and lead to less arrests for drug-related offenses. The following year, in 2019 Senator Melisa Franzen and Representative Mike Feiberg and Senator Scott Jensen introduced a bill that would allow people over 21 to possess, grow, and purchase limited quantities of cannabis. The Senate Republicans in Minnesota, voted against the proposed measure to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Republicans also decided not to create a task-force to study the issue further.
On May 5, 2020, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) introduced his long-awaited legislation to legalize and regulate cannabis. Unfortunately, the bill didn’t advance before the legislature adjourned on May 18. Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R) has said the Republican caucus is strongly opposed, and that legalization would not pass the Senate. Under Gazelka’s and Sen. Michelle Benson’s leadership, the Senate killed even a modest, House-passed proposal to allow whole-plant, raw medical cannabis. Without this reform, the costs of medical cannabis will remain out of reach for many Minnesotans. However, the entire legislature will be on the ballot in November, so there’s an opportunity to elect more lawmakers that recognize the negative effects of prohibition.
DOES MINNESOTA HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE MINNESOTA CANNABIS MARKET?
Minnesota is not currently accepting applications, however it’s possible that legalization could happen sooner than we think as the next election gets closer. Getting ahead is never a bad idea and Point7 can help you! Connect us today to discuss the preliminary steps you could be taking now to better prepare yourself for when legalization passes and the application process opens.