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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 (Office of Cannabis Management) recommenda­tions to build upon the struc­ture of Minnesota’s cannabis law, including provisions to strengthen social equity, improve the application and licensing process, 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 a vetted lottery for social equity appli­cants. The application period for pre-approval licenses will be open from July 24 to August 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 (https://can­nabis.state.mn.us ).

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