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Minnesota marks legislation to launch cannabis industry

Saint Paul, MN — Recently enacted changes to Minnesota’s cannabis law will help expedite the launch of Minnesota’s new cannabis industry, with social equity applicants selected via a well-vetted lottery able to start their business operations earlier than had been allowed by the original law.

The legislation allows eligible social equity applicants to grow cannabis for the new market by the end of this year, helping ensure cannabis supply meets demand once retail sales start in 2025.

Governor Tim Walz signed the bill on May 24, 2024.

The final bill included many of OCM’s recommendations to build upon the structure of Minnesota’s cannabis law, including provisions to strengthen social equity, improve the application and licensing process, and enhance protections and build continuity for the state’s Medical Cannabis Program patients.

Under the legislation, the Office of Cannabis Management will establish a preapproved licensing process and vetted lottery for social equity applicants. The application period for pre-approval licenses will be open from July 24 to Aug. 12. Applications for general licenses for cannabis businesses will open in 2025.

Among the other changes in the cannabis law, people who apply for cannabis licenses will no longer be required to secure a physical location before applying, avoiding a high level of financial risk. Furthermore, the legislation moved the Office of Medical Cannabis to the Office of Cannabis Management in July 2024 instead of March 2025. That move also brings regulation and enforcement of hemp-derived cannabinoid products to OCM.

“In the weeks and months ahead, OCM’s focus will be on meeting the newly accelerated timeline the Legislature has given us to launch Minnesota’s new cannabis industry,” said Office of Cannabis Management Interim Director Charlene Briner. “As always, OCM’s goal is to provide adults who choose to consume and medical patients access to safe, reliable cannabis products, and build a sustainable and equitable cannabis industry that will benefit our state for years to come.”

Learn more about the changes at the 2024 Legislative Changes to Chapter 342. People interested in cannabis licensing options are encouraged to visit the OCM website.

 

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