how to open up a dispensary in minnesota


How To Open A Dispensary In Minnesota

Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize recreational marijuana on May 30, 2023, after Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota signed the legislation. In addition to expunging minor offenses and establishing rules for its sale, the law permits adults aged 21 and above to own and use marijuana. 

Tribal governments, including the 11 Native American tribal nations in Minnesota, are permitted to run their own dispensaries independently while dispensaries are put on hold until a licensing system is formed, which is anticipated by early 2025. On August 1st, the Red Lake Nation established the first retail marijuana dispensary, going by the name of NativeCare, providing cannabis to anyone over the age of 21.

Estimated Cannabis Market Size In Minnesota

Minnesota could create 20,000 jobs, $300 million in tax income, and $1.12 billion in sales over the course of five years of legal recreational marijuana here.

Cannabis Laws In Minnesota

HF100, the final version of the marijuana legalization bill, has the following key provisions:

  • Individuals who are 21 or older will be able to legally buy and carry up to two ounces of cannabis in public starting on August 1, 2023. 
  • The legislation would also permit people to grow up to eight plants at home, with a maximum of four mature plants. Additionally, users would be allowed to keep up to two pounds of marijuana in their homes. 
  • The bill’s provision allowing adults to trade gifts of up to two ounces of marijuana for free is another noteworthy aspect. 
  • The bill additionally allows the setting up of cannabis businesses with licenses, with the caveat that municipalities and counties may also own and run government dispensaries. 
  • The bill also permits the operation of cannabis delivery services and on-site consumption permits for events.

Social Equity Eligibility

The law prioritizes business license applications from those deemed social equity applicants, which include:

  • Individuals who were found guilty of cannabis possession or sale
  • Individuals whose family members have been found guilty of cannabis possession or sales.
  • Service-disabled veterans, active or former members of the National Guard, or any military veteran or current or ex-member of the National Guard who lost their status because of an offense involving cannabis possession or sale.
  • People who have lived in a community that has seen disproportionately large cannabis enforcement for at least five years.
  • Emerging farmers
  • Individuals who have lived in census tracts with high poverty rates for at least five years. 

When Will Minnesota Open The Application Window For Cannabis Businesses?

The Office of Cannabis Management Board will start accepting applications for cannabis business licenses in 2024. Although there is no official date for when applications will be accepted, it is anticipated that the process will begin sometime next year.

The applicant must be at least 21 years old and ensure that all necessary supporting documentation is included with their application. Additionally, candidates need to demonstrate that they meet the financial requirements and have a clean criminal record.

Medical Marijuana License Types and Fees

Medical Cannabis Manufacturer 

Medical cannabis can be grown, produced, and distributed by a business that has a license. The Minnesota Department of Health has two manufacturers of medical cannabis listed. New manufacturer license applications are not being accepted at this time.

The application fee is $20,000, and the estimated range for the yearly license fee is $75,000 to $100,000.

Medical Cannabis Lab

As mandated by state law, third-party laboratories that have been approved by the state commissioner must test medical cannabis for consistency, contaminants, and content.

The testing procedure has been divided into three steps in order to thoroughly evaluate applying laboratories:

  • Document submission.
  • Laboratories that fit the requirements will get a notification for a site visit.
  • The Department of Health gives its approval.

Requirements To Apply For A Minnesota Cannabis License

Minnesota Residency and Ownership Requirements

Individual adult-use license candidates must be Minnesota residents.

Businesses that apply must be incorporated in the state, and entities applying must have at least 75% Minnesota citizens as owners.

Recreational License Application Scoring in Minnesota

In Minnesota, 15 different license categories, including a new “mezzo” license, will be established.

Cannabis License Application Requirements

  1. The address of the business and its detailed legal property description.
  2. Proof of legal ownership of the site where the business will be located.
  3. A security drawing and a diagram of the premises
  4. Security plan details
  5. A business plan outlining:
  1. Estimated business size and projected growth
  2. Record-keeping plan
  3. The applicant’s qualifications and those of any officer, director, manager, or general partner.
  4. Environmental plan
  5. Additional relevant operational and financial components
  6. Peace agreement validation by a bona fide labor organization.

Adult-Use License Selection Criteria

Every completed application will receive points from the office in the following categories:

  • Social equity applicant
  • Veteran applicant
  • Security and record keeping plan
  • Employee training plan
  • Business and financial plan
  • Diversity plan
  • Labor and employment best practices
  • Knowledge and experience
  • Environmental plan

Recreational Cannabis License Application Fees

License TypeApplication FeeInitial License FeeRenewal License Fee
Testing Facility$10,000$10,000$20,000
Event Organizer$750$750NA
Delivery Service$250$500$1,000

Opening A Dispensary In Minnesota

Review Rules & Regulations

It can be challenging to open a dispensary in Minnesota because of several legal and regulatory restrictions. As of 2023, Minnesotans who want to open a retail cannabis business will have to abide by the new cannabis regulations established by the state.

Few regulations Cannabis Business Enthusiasts must know:

  • The Medical Cannabis Program in Minnesota will continue to function even after March 2025 after which it will become a part of the OCM.
  • Social equity clauses provide preference to veterans of the armed forces and members of underprivileged communities impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Strong Financial Planning

A substantial investment is required to open a dispensary in Minnesota, and the exact expense will depend on a number of factors, including the location, size, and scope of the business. However, when planning to open a dispensary in Minnesota in 2023, there are a few common costs to take into account.

The first requirement for obtaining a cannabis store license is to submit a $20,000 application fee. Along with the application cost, there are other expenses related to complying with the state’s regulations, such as those related to security requirements, background checks, and record-keeping obligations.

Partnering With A Top IT Services Provider

You can ensure compliance with Minnesota state requirements and streamline your dispensary’s operations by implementing the right cannabis technology. Partner with a renowned top IT services provider who will assist you in investing in the right cannabis IT hardware and software such as POS systems, inventory management software, and security systems.

Important Cannabis Technology Solutions:

  • POS system for sales monitoring and inventory management
  • Seed-to-sale tracking systems for state regulation compliance
  • Security systems, such as alarm systems and security cameras
  • Barcode scanners, printers, etc.

How Can Cure8 Help?

Cure8 is a one-stop shop for information technology solutions that can boost business performance. Our specialist team works closely with your team to understand the IT needs. Our services include managed IT services, IT consultancy, and specialized hardware and software.

Check out more about our solutions here.

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