How To Open A Dispensary In Minnesota (2023)

Are you looking for information on how to open a cannabis dispensary in Minnesota?

This page will keep you up to date on the most recent news and important developments on starting a marijuana business in Minnesota, including information pertaining to the future of cannabis in the state. 


With a 72-61 vote, the state House of Representatives approved a bill on May 13, 2021, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Winkler, Rep. Melissa Hortman, and other lawmakers, to legalize the use of recreational cannabis in Minnesota. The proposed bill, HF600, would permit adults 21 years of age and older to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis as well as cultivate up to eight plants.

However, the legislature’s regular session ended two days later with the companion Senate bill unable to move forward in committee. When the legislature reconvenes in 2022 for its regular session, HF 600 will get the opportunity to resume and pick up where it left off.

Democrats in Minnesota are preparing for a new push to legalize marijuana this 2022 session. Ryan Winkler (D) said he plans to change the legislation in order to get more people to support the House-passed reform bill. Licensing structures, public safety, and substance abuse issues are some of the things that lawmakers will be looking at to improve the bill. When the Minnesota Hemp Growers Cooperative put on a roundtable event on January 19, Ryan Winkler (D) and Melisa Franzen (D) talked about legislative strategies. 

On January 26, 2022, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) showed support for legalizing marijuana as part of his huge supplementary budget. Walz included funding to execute marijuana legalization in his yearly budget proposal to legislators. 

On July 1st, 2022, legislation that legalizes edibles in Minnesota that contain trace levels of THC entered into effect. HF 3595 allows for the sale of edibles and beverages that contain up to 5 milligrams of THC generated from hemp in each serving. The state Board of Pharmacy issued a FAQ document that explains what kinds of edible and non-edible hemp products are permitted and prohibited under the law. 

On December 29th, 2022, MN is Ready, a group of Minnesota activists, announced the beginning of the next stage of their campaign to legalize marijuana in the state. This stage will include grassroots advocacy and lobbying lawmakers to adopt a revised reform measure that advanced through the House last year. In a press release, MN is Ready announced that outgoing House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) has signed on as the coalition’s campaign chairman after having sponsored the aforementioned legislation. 

The newest push by the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), an affiliate of the democratic party, to legalize cannabis for adult use in the state has been unveiled. Current language of the HF 100 proposal would allow adults over the age of 21 to legally possess and transport up to two ounces of cannabis flower in public. On January 6th, 2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz tweeted his continued support for the state’s cannabis legalization initiative, saying it’s time to legalize adult-use cannabis and erase cannabis convictions in Minnesota and added that he is prepared to sign the bill into law. 

On January 24th, 2023, Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota revealed his budget proposal for the 2024-2025 biennium that includes funds for different state agencies to carry out the legalization of marijuana. The proposal also outlines the projections for cannabis revenue as state lawmakers work towards advancing reform. 

A growing number of Minnesotans are expressing support for the legalization of marijuana. Legalizing recreational marijuana would provide tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in tax revenue. 58% of respondents to the 2021 House of Representatives State Fair Poll said they favor adult-use cannabis legalization. This shows an increase in approval when compared to the chamber’s 2019 study, when support stood at 56%. 

The Opportunity Size

Numbers from a Denver-based Marijuana Policy Group project that cannabis sales in Minnesota would reach $426 million in year one of adult-use cannabis legalization and would grow to $1.2 billion by year five. 

Additionally, it is estimated that legalization will have a significant impact on the state’s projected tax revenue. The group projected $112 million in tax revenue in the first year and $300 million by the fifth year. Legalization will reportedly generate an annual economic impact of $2.6 billion and 20,000 jobs. 

Local Cannabis Restrictions & Laws

Towns and municipalities may have their own policies for what will be allowed and what won’t be when state medicinal and recreational marijuana laws finally change. Some towns are predicted to strongly embrace the state law while others will be less supportive or will want to outright oppose changes in legislation.

The proposed HF600 bill concerning recreational marijuana use in Minnesota says the following regarding local restrictions:

  • Local governments may not prohibit the possession, transportation, or use of cannabis or cannabis products.
  • Local governments may not ban the opening of a licensed cannabis business.
  • Allows local governments to set reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions and requires the board to develop a model ordinance with local governments.
  • Local governments may conduct research on putting reasonable limitations on the time, place, and mode of operation of cannabis businesses until January 1, 2024.

In addition, after HF 3595 legalized sale and consumption of hemp THC edibles in Minnesota on July 1st, municipalities have placed moratoriums on the production and sale of edibles derived from hemp, and other municipalities are contemplating doing the same. 

Waite Park and Prior Lake are debating whether to enact their prohibitions, while the restrictions are already in place in St. Joseph and Marshall. Stillwater enacted its one-year moratorium in November of last year.

On this page, we will keep you informed of any changes in Minnesota towns’ stances, restrictions, or outright bans on recreational cannabis.

Medical Marijuana Program Opportunities

On May 29, 2014, Minnesota joined 21 other states in considering marijuana to be a legal medicine after Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Act (SF2470), a medical marijuana program that is among one of the nation’s most restrictive. 

The use of medical cannabis in Minnesota is limited to patients who are Minnesota residents, who have been diagnosed with one of the qualifying diseases, and who have been certified as such. Cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Alzheimer’s disease are among the conditions that qualify. Sickle cell illness and chronic motor disorder will be eligible for the program starting in August 2021. You can see the comprehensive list of qualifying conditions by visiting the Department of Health’s website. On May 25, 2021, Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill (HF 2128) into law allowing the use of raw/flower cannabis by adults 21 and older.

According to the Office of Medical Cannabis’ Minnesota Medical Cannabis Patient Registry, there are 26,556 active patients with approved enrollment and 52,621 total approved patient enrollments as of September 23, 2021. 

Medical Marijuana License Types and Fees

Medical Cannabis Manufacturer 

A licensed manufacturer is allowed to cultivate, produce, and distribute medical cannabis. There are two medical cannabis manufacturers registered with the Minnesota Department of Health. Currently, no new manufacturer license applications are being accepted.

The application fee costs $20,000 and the annual license fee is estimated to be in the region of $75,000 to $100,000.

Medical Cannabis Laboratory

According to state law, medicinal cannabis must be tested for content, contaminants, and consistency by third-party laboratories that have been approved by the state’s commissioner. Applications for laboratory licenses are currently open.

To thoroughly evaluate applying laboratories, the testing process is divided into three parts:

  • The application and required documentation must be submitted.
  • Laboratories that match the criteria will be notified for a site visit.
  • Approval is received from the Department of Health.

Visit Medical Cannabis Laboratory Application Process and Forms for additional information.

Recreational Use/Adult Use Program Opportunities

As previously stated, a bill to legalize marijuana in the state of Minnesota was passed by the Minnesota House of Representatives. Here’s what we know so far about the proposed bill, HF 600:

HF600 would create a responsible regulatory framework for recreational cannabis, improve the medical cannabis program, establish taxes, address racial disparities, provide better access to veterans, and expand opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses while also providing a way for social equity applicants to participate in the growing market. The complete text of HF 600 can be found here

The Cannabis Management Board will be in charge of overseeing the regulation of the production and sale of adult-use marijuana, specifying cannabis business licensing categories, requirements, and procedures, and handing over the medical marijuana program initially handled by the Department of Health to the Cannabis Management Board.

HF 600 directs the board to evaluate applications on a variety of criteria, including the applicant’s social equity status. A social equity applicant includes veterans who lost their honorable status due to cannabis-related offenses, residents of areas with disproportionately high cannabis enforcement, and residents of low-income areas.

Recreational Marijuana License Types and Fees

Nine adult-use cannabis license types will be available: 

  • Cultivator
  • Manufacturer
  • Retailer
  • Wholesaler
  • Transporter
  • Testing facility
  • Microbusiness
  • Event Organizer
  • Delivery Service

A $250 application fee may be charged by the board if the legislation is passed.

HF 600 specifies that microbusiness licenses and craft cultivator licenses should be given top priority in the issuance of permits.

As the state’s cannabis program, particularly the recreational program, grows in scope, we will keep you informed about all relevant news and legislation pertaining to the opening of a dispensary in Minnesota. You can stay up to date on all relevant news and comments based on Minnesota Legalization by signing up for our Minnesota Cannabis Mailing List (see below).

This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • How much does it cost to open a dispensary in Minnesota?
  • What are the requirements to get a marijuana business license and open a dispensary in Minnesota?
  • What special programs will be available?
  • And more

To gain access, simply enter your contact details in the form below. 


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