How To Open A Dispensary In Minnesota

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.

HF600 would have created a responsible regulatory framework for recreational cannabis, improved the medical cannabis program, established taxes, addressed racial disparities, provided better access to veterans, and expanded 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

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.

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.

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:

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

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