Minnesota became the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use marijuana after Gov. Tim Walz signed a unique legalization bill into law Tuesday that also permits the sale of hemp-derived cannabinoids such as delta-8 THC.
Walz signed the bill at the state capitol while flanked by cannabis advocates as well as former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, a steadfast legalization advocate.
Minnesota just became the 23rd state in the nation to legalize adult-use cannabis.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) May 30, 2023
Minnesota is one of a growing handful of states to legalize cannabis via the legislature rather than with a ballot initiative.
The state does not allow for citizen-initiated ballot questions.
Delaware, which legalized earlier this year, also did so via its legislature.
Once the law goes into effect Aug. 1, Minnesotans aged 21 and over will be legally able to possess and cultivate cannabis.
Sales will be taxed 10%.
It’s expected to take about a year for the new state Office of Cannabis Management to issue the first retail business licenses.
Minnesota will be an outlier in welcoming hemp-derived cannabinoids, including the controversial delta-8 THC, into the mainstream state-legal cannabis industry.
Fourteen other states – including some with established cannabis industries which see competition from less-regulated hemp as a mortal threat – have banned or strictly regulated hemp-sourced products.
In contrast, Minnesota business owners will be able to apply for what the state calls a “mezzobusiness” license.
Holders can cultivate, manufacture and operate up to three retail locations to sell marijuana as well as products containing hemp-derived cannabinoids.
There will be no statewide license cap, but localities are able to limit the number of dispensaries to one per 12,500 residents.
Minnesota is considered one of the strictest states for medical marijuana.
Just two companies operate the state’s 15 dispensaries. Both are multistate operators: Green Thumb Industries and Goodness Growth, formerly known as Vireo Health.
Medical operators will be allowed to enter the adult-use market.
The state will also serve as a testing ground for THC-infused drinks, which the new law explicitly allows to be sold at liquor and convenience stores.
First made legal a year ago along with other hemp-derived cannabinoid-infused products, drinks containing THC have proved popular in the state.
Chris Roberts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.