Minnesota has entered a new era of cannabis regulation with the recent passage of legislation that allows for the legalization of recreational cannabis. This groundbreaking development not only signals a shift in the state’s approach to drug policy but also lays the groundwork for a burgeoning cannabis industry. As part of this legislation, Minnesota has established 10 adult-use cannabis business license types that will enable entrepreneurs and stakeholders to participate in the emerging market. Each of these cannabis business license types will be permitted to conduct the operations outlined in HF 100 and will be governed by current and upcoming regulations specific to their license type.
While a formal cannabis business licensing process and timeline has yet to be announced, the groundwork has been laid for a structured and regulated industry that promises to bring about economic growth and opportunities in the near future. Learn more about Minnesota cannabis business license types to prepare for this upcoming market!
Minnesota Cannabis Retailer Licenses
Minnesota dispensaries, called cannabis retailers, are permitted to sell adult-use cannabis flower and products, lower-potency hemp edibles, hemp-derived consumer products, and hemp-derived topical products. Cannabis retailers are also allowed to sell cannabis paraphernalia, including: child proof storage containers; certain drinks; books, videos, and magazines related to information on cannabis cultivation and cannabis products; multiple use bags; certain clothing; other hemp products; and products that detect the presence of fentanyl or a fentanyl analog.
Cannabis retailers are required to verify the age of customers before selling cannabis products and may not sell more cannabis than an individual is permitted to possess. Additionally, cannabis sales to persons who are visibly intoxicated is prohibited. Minnesota cannabis retailers are also strictly prohibited from giving away cannabis plants, cannabis flower, cannabinoid products, or hemp-derived consumer products.
Like many other established cannabis markets, retailers are required to comply with local building ordinances, maintain security, maintain adequate lighting, and accept deliveries through limited access areas. Cannabis retailers may not operate a drive-through window or cannabis vending machine, and may not sell cannabis plants, cannabis flower, or cannabinoid products when a security system, or the statewide monitoring system, is not working. Although cannabis retail license holders may also hold a cannabis delivery service license, a medical cannabis retailer license, and a cannabis event organizer license, they may not own or operate any other Minnesota cannabis business.
Minnesota Cannabis Cultivator Licenses
Minnesota permits both indoor and outdoor cultivation of cannabis, subject to security, fencing, and lighting requirements. All cannabis businesses that cultivate cannabis must establish and maintain records for each batch of cannabis plants that is cultivated, comply with limitations on the use of agricultural chemicals, and establish and follow an operation plan that includes a description of water usage, recycling, solid waste disposal, and pest management. These businesses must also comply with pesticide laws and rules and are prohibited from adulterating cannabis or using genetically engineered seeds.
Minnesota cannabis cultivators may also hold a cannabis manufacturing license, medical cannabis cultivator license, medical cannabis manufacturing license, license to grow industrial hemp, and cannabis event organizer license, but may not own or operate any other cannabis business. This prohibition does not prevent the transportation of cannabis flower from a cannabis cultivator to a cannabis manufacturer licensed to the same person, cooperative, or business and located on the same premises.
In the State of Minnesota, craft cultivators are considered those with 10,000 sq ft of canopy or less. This may be increased to 15,000 sq ft in the future if the expansion is consistent with the goals of the Office of Cannabis Management. At this time, the state is not licensing bulk cannabis cultivators, or those with up to 30,000 sq ft of canopy. As of now, these will not be available until 2028.
Minnesota Cannabis Manufacturer Licenses
All manufacturing must take place in an enclosed, locked facility that is used exclusively for the manufacture of cannabinoid products except for a business that also holds a cannabis cultivator license which may operate in a facility that shares general office space, bathrooms, entryways, and walkways.
Cannabis manufacturers in Minnesota may also hold a cannabis cultivator license, a medical cannabis cultivator license, a medical cannabis processor license, and a cannabis event organizer license, but may not own or operate any other cannabis business. This prohibition does not prevent transportation of cannabis flower from a cannabis cultivator to a cannabis manufacturer licensed to the same person, cooperative, or business and located on the same premises.
Minnesota Cannabis Microbusiness Licenses
Under HF 100, these license holders are permitted to cultivate cannabis, extract and concentrate tetrahydrocannabinol and other raw materials from cannabis, produce consumer products, operate a retail establishment, and operate an on-site consumption facility. Cannabis microbusinesses are also permitted to hold a cannabis event organizer license. Limitations on cannabis microbusinesses in Minnesota include limits on the size of cultivation operation and amount of cannabis the business can process, as well as a limit of one retail location.
Minnesota cannabis microbusinesses are authorized to perform any or all of the following:
- Grow cannabis plants from seed or immature plant to mature plant, harvest cannabis flower from a mature plant and package and label cannabis flower for sale to other cannabis businesses
- Create cannabis concentrate
- Manufacture cannabinoid products for public consumption
- Purchase cannabis concentrate and hemp concentrate from a cannabis manufacturer, cannabis wholesaler, or licensed hemp grower for use in manufacturing cannabinoid products
- Sell immature cannabis plants and seedlings, adult-use cannabis flower, adult-use cannabinoid products, hemp-derived consumer products, and other products authorized by law to customers
- Operate an establishment that permits on-site consumption of edible cannabinoid products
Minnesota Cannabis Mezzobusiness Licenses
Mezzobusinesses in Minnesota are permitted to cultivate cannabis, extract and concentrate tetrahydrocannabinol and other raw materials from cannabis, produce consumer products, operate a retail establishment, and operate an on-site consumption facility. This license type is limited on the size of a cultivation operation and amount of cannabis the business can process, and is limited to no more than three retail locations.
After licensure, these businesses are allowed to grow cannabis plants; extract tetrahydrocannabinol and other raw materials from cannabis flower; create cannabis concentrate, hemp concentrate, and artificially derived cannabinoids; manufacture products for public consumption; purchase cannabis flower, cannabis products, hemp, and hemp products from other businesses; and package and sell cannabis flower, cannabis products, hemp, and hemp products. Minnesota mezzobusiness license holders are not permitted to also hold a cannabis event organizer license.
Minnesota Cannabis Wholesaler Licenses
In the State of Minnesota, cannabis wholesaler licensees may purchase immature cannabis plants and seedlings, cannabis flower, cannabinoid products, and hemp-derived consumer products from cannabis cultivators, cannabis manufacturers, cannabis microbusinesses, and industrial hemp growers. Cannabis wholesalers may also sell immature cannabis plants and seedlings, cannabis flower, cannabinoid products, and hemp-derived consumer products to cannabis manufacturers and cannabis retailers. Additionally, wholesalers are allowed to import hemp-derived consumer products and lower potency edible products that contain hemp concentrate or artificially derived cannabinoids that are derived from hemp plants or hemp plant parts.
Minnesota cannabis wholesalers may also hold a cannabis transporter license, a cannabis delivery service license, and a cannabis event organizer license, but may not own or operate any other cannabis business. The Office of Cannabis Management may limit the number of cannabis wholesaler licenses a person or business may hold.
Minnesota Cannabis Transporter Licenses
In Minnesota, cannabis transporters are authorized to transport immature cannabis plants and seedlings, cannabis flower, cannabinoid products, artificially derived cannabinoids, hemp plant parts, hemp concentrate, and hemp-derived consumer products. Transport is permitted to occur from cannabis cultivators, cannabis manufacturers, cannabis wholesalers, cannabis microbusinesses, medical cannabis retailers, medical cannabis processors, and industrial hemp growers to cannabis manufacturers, cannabis testing facilities, cannabis wholesalers, cannabis retailers, lower potency edible product retailers, medical cannabis processors, and medical cannabis retailers.
A cannabis transporter license entitles the holder to multiple licenses. Cannabis transporters may also hold a cannabis wholesaler license, a cannabis delivery service license, and a cannabis event organizer license, but may not own or operate any other cannabis business. The Office of Cannabis Management may limit the number of cannabis transporter licenses a person or business may hold.
Post-licensure, cannabis transporters are required to obtain manifests and establish and retain specific records. During the transport of cannabis, all cannabis-related materials must be stored in a locked compartment that is not visible from outside the vehicle. Vehicles transporting cannabis in Minnesota are prohibited from using identifying logos or business names.
Minnesota cannabis transporters are also required to randomize their delivery schedules and include multiple employees in the transport of cannabis to ensure at least one employee remains with the vehicle at all times that the vehicle contains cannabis-related materials. Non-employee passengers are prohibited in delivery vehicles and all employee drivers must carry a valid driver’s license. Cannabis transport vehicles are subject to inspection at any time during transportation of cannabis-related materials.
Minnesota Cannabis Delivery Service Licenses
Minnesota cannabis delivery service licenses entitle the license holder to purchase cannabis flower, cannabinoid products, and hemp-derived consumer products from licensed cannabis retailers, licensed cannabis microbusinesses with an endorsement to sell adult-use cannabis flower and adult-use cannabinoid products to customers, and medical cannabis retailers. Cannabis delivery services are then authorized to transport and deliver cannabis flower, cannabinoid products, and hemp-derived consumable products to customers.
Individuals or entities holding a cannabis delivery service license are entitled to hold multiple licenses and are also permitted to hold a cannabis retailer license, a cannabis wholesaler license, a cannabis transporter license, and a cannabis event organizer license. Aside from these exceptions, cannabis delivery service licensees may not own or operate any other cannabis business.
During deliveries, licensees must verify the age of customers and, when applicable, that the customer is enrolled in the medical cannabis program. Cannabis delivery services are also required to maintain records that include this proof of age verification. The Office of Cannabis Management will establish limits on the amount to be transported and will require the entry of products in the statewide monitoring system.
Cannabis delivery vehicles must not have any identifying logos or business names on the vehicle and cannabis products must be stored within a locked compartment that is not visible from outside the vehicle while making deliveries. All cannabis delivery services must have multiple employees involved in the delivery to ensure that at least one employee remains with the vehicle at all times that the vehicle contains cannabis-related materials. Non-employee passengers are not permitted in cannabis delivery vehicles and all vehicles are subject to inspection at any time during delivery of cannabis-related materials.
Minnesota Cannabis Testing Facility Licenses
Minnesota cannabis testing facilities may obtain and test cannabis materials and products. These businesses must comply with the rules adopted by the Office of Cannabis Management establishing testing protocols, record retention, and disposal of cannabis flower and cannabinoid products. Cannabis testing facilities in Minnesota may not own or operate, or be employed by, any other cannabis business.
Cannabis Event Organizer Licenses
Minnesota cannabis event organizers must receive local approval, including obtaining any necessary permits or licenses issued by a local unit of government, before holding a cannabis event.
During a cannabis event, licensed cannabis retailers and licensed cannabis microbusinesses may sell cannabis plants, adult-use cannabis flower, adult-use cannabinoid products, and hemp-derived consumer products to customers. Cannabis event organizers are permitted to charge an entrance fee and a fee for event participants.
To include on-site consumption at cannabis events, the licensee must obtain prior approval from the local unit of government. The cannabis event may then designate an area for consumption of adult-use cannabis flower, adult-use cannabinoid products, or both. During the cannabis event, access to cannabis consumption areas must be restricted to individuals who are at least 21 years of age and must not be visible from any public place. The cannabis event organizer may not permit consumption of alcohol or tobacco.
How Can Point Seven Group Help?
The team of cannabis consultants and professionals at Point Seven Group have worked extensively in the U.S. and international cannabis markets and are familiar with the unique challenges of the cannabis industry. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with more cannabis industry updates!
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