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Would you like to open one of the first adult-use cannabis businesses in Minnesota’s billion-dollar market? Governor Tim Walz just signed new legislation that would allow social equity applicants to grow cannabis for the new market by the end of this year. Our Minnesota cannabis consultants summarize everything you need to know to get started in Minnesota’s cannabis market.

Minnesota Cannabis Business Consultants

Regulatory Agency for Minnesota’s Cannabis Industry

To start, our Minnesota cannabis business consultants recommend that you familiarize yourself with the newly created Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). The OCM is responsible for regulating cannabis, enforcing compliance, and establishing rules for adult-use cannabis business applications.

Keeping up to date with their website, news releases, and notifications is crucial to staying informed about the latest developments and requirements in Minnesota’s cannabis industry.

Laws and Regulations

Understanding the legal framework is vital for anyone looking to enter the cannabis market in the state.

Thus, it’s essential to thoroughly read Minnesota Statutes Chapter 342, which outlines Minnesota’s cannabis laws.  This chapter will provide you with the necessary legal knowledge to ensure your business operates within the bounds of state law.

The OCM has begun drafting rules (aka regulations) to complete the regulatory framework for Minnesota’s new cannabis industry. To stay up-to-date on rule making, subscribe to our newsletter and we will send you an email when the rules are published.

Next, our Minnesota marijuana business consultants discuss the timeline of the adult-use program.

Timeline

Minnesota’s cannabis industry is evolving rapidly, and it’s crucial to stay updated with the latest application timelines and requirements. Here are the key dates and processes for 2024:

June 24, 2024: Social Equity Verification Opens

Applicants can begin the process to verify their social equity status. This step ensures that applicants who qualify for social equity status meet the necessary qualifications for pre-approval.

July 10, 2024: Social Equity Verification Closes

The window for social equity status verification closes. Applicants must complete this verification by this date to proceed with the pre-approval application process.

July 24, 2024: Application for Pre-Approval Licenses Opens

The application period for pre-approval licenses begins. Verified social equity applicants can submit their applications during this period.

August 12, 2024: Application for Pre-Approval Licenses Closes

The application period for pre-approval licenses ends. All applications must be submitted by this date to be considered for the pre-approval process.

Fall 2024: Lottery for Pre-Approval Licenses

Submitted applications will undergo a thorough review and vetting process. Qualified applications will be entered into a lottery, which is planned to take place in the fall of 2024.

2025: Applications for General Licenses Open

For those interested in general licenses for cannabis businesses, the application process will commence in 2025. Specific dates and details will be announced by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) closer to the time.

This timeline ensures a fair and organized process for all applicants, especially those with social equity status, to participate in Minnesota’s expanding cannabis industry. Preparing early and staying informed is key to making the most of these opportunities.

Types of Marijuana Business Licenses Available in 2024

Minnesota will offer nine main types of adult-use cannabis licenses:

  1. Microbusiness
  2. Mezzobusiness
  3. Cultivator
  4. Manufacturer
  5. Retailer
  6. Wholesaler
  7. Transporter
  8. Testing Facility
  9. Delivery Service

Refer to the appendix below for details on the permitted activities of the various Minnesota adult-use cannabis license types.

Next, let’s take a look at the license application requirements and process.

Application Requirements & Process Summary from Minnesota Cannabis Consultants

Overview for Social Equity Applicants

Minnesota has recently introduced a pioneering initiative aimed at fostering a fair and inclusive cannabis industry. This involves a specific focus on social equity applicants, allowing them an early start in the application process and prioritizing their participation in the market. Here’s an updated breakdown of the application requirements and process:

Step 1: Verify Social Equity Applicant Eligibility

The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will verify applicants who qualify for social equity status. This initial verification is a critical step, as only those who are verified can proceed to apply for a license. Key dates include:

  • June 24, 2024: Verification system opens.
  • July 10, 2024: Verification system closes at 11:59 p.m.

Step 2: Apply for License Preapproval

Once verified, social equity applicants can apply for license preapproval. This process involves submitting detailed documentation, including:

  • Proposed Business Plan: Outlining your business strategy, goals, and operational plans.
  • Security Plan: Ensuring safety and compliance.
  • Business Capitalization Table: Financial structure and funding sources.
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Covering quality assurance, inventory control, storage, diversion prevention, and accounting/tax compliance.

Timeline:

  • July 24, 2024: Application system opens.
  • August 12, 2024: Application system closes at 11:59 p.m.

Step 3: OCM Conducts Lottery

Eligible applications will be reviewed and entered into a lottery for preapproval. Selected applicants will be notified, and preapproval does not guarantee a full license if all requirements are not met.

General Licenses

For those not qualifying under social equity status, the general licensing round will follow. Applicants should prepare detailed business plans, security plans, and financial documentation. Our Minnesota cannabis consulting firm will update this page once more information and timelines are available.

Application and Licensing Fees

The office will charge a nonrefundable application fee to cover the administrative costs of reviewing and processing applications. Licenses must be renewed annually. In addition, licenses may not be transferred.​

License Type Application Fee Initial License Fee Renewal License Fee
Cannabis Microbusiness $500 No initial license fee $2,000
Cannabis Mezzobusiness $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
Cannabis Cultivator $10,000 $20,000 $30,000
Cannabis Manufacturer $10,000 $10,000 $20,000
Cannabis Retailer $2,500 $2,500 $5,000
Cannabis Wholesaler $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
Cannabis Transporter $250 $500 $1,000
Cannabis Testing Facility $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
Cannabis Delivery Service $250 $500 $1,000

Now, let’s look at priority applicants, since the Minnesota cannabis business license applications will be scored and merit-based.

Social Equity Status

An individual qualifies as a social equity applicant if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Convicted of a cannabis-related offense before May 1, 2023, or have a family member who was.
  • A military veteran, service-disabled veteran, or National Guard member, including those who lost honorable status due to a cannabis offense.
  • A resident for the past five years in areas with high cannabis enforcement rates, poverty rates of 20% or more, low median family income, or high vulnerability according to the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index.
  • Participated in farm operations for at least three years, with specific sales thresholds.

The bills also create grants to assist individuals in entering the legal cannabis market, including funding for cannabis industry training and start-up assistance.

For detailed information on the verification process and eligibility, refer to our Minnesota Social Equity Verification Guide.

Next, let’s look at the subject of local control.

Local Control in Minnesota

The proposed state laws ban local municipalities from opting out from allowing cannabis businesses to locate within their jurisdictions, although they are allowed to review for compliance, and also can set limits on times of operations.

Conclusions from our Minnesota Cannabis Business Consultants

In conclusion, our Minnesota cannabis business consultants are highly experienced at winning cannabis licenses in extremely competitive markets, such as Minnesota’s adult-use license market.

We have a track record to prove it, as shown in this video. Save yourself some time and money and engage our services. Reach out to the cannabis consultants at Quantum 9 for a free consultation.

APPENDIX | SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION

Below is supplemental information that our Minnesota cannabis business consultants included for your reference. In addition, follow this link if you want to learn about the economic benefits of regulating cannabis in Minnesota.

Ownership Limitations

Ownership limitations exist for several different license types. For example, a person, cooperative, or business holding a​ cannabis testing facility license may not own or operate, or be employed by, any other​ cannabis business.​ In addition, the office may limit the number of testing facility licenses a person or business may hold.

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Julio Soriagalvarro

Author Julio Soriagalvarro

Julio Soriagalvarro leads BV, a pioneering cannabis marketing agency specializing in SEO, PR, social media, and website optimization. He has scaled dozens of cannabis B2B and B2C brands by helping them secure top Google rankings, boost web traffic, and enhance conversion rates.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Gnoria says:

    I’m interested in opening a retailer business.

  • James Pokrivnak, Shannon Shepherd, Brandy Shepherd Solberg says:

    Me and three others are looking to open retail in central Minnesota Crow Wing county and surrounding areas, 4 members are myself and my significant other and all four owners are family two of whom actually registered nurses for the state of Minnesota . So it would be me why partner wife and her two sisters and my wife and her other sister are both registered nurses in the state. This is a lifelong passion and dedication and something we’ve been waiting on for a really long time we have a our own huge plan idea in depth were lacking off consulting lawyers elderly to apply for licensing advisement on property location establishment retail wondering if multiple retail throughout the state from the get-go would it be better to do that and get the overwhelmingness over and done with or would it be better to set up the first retail manage and operate it yourself or get enough revenue to have it independently managed and you just own and collect the revenue from the company what is the best aspect of the industry you’re definitely looking to provide a logistics delivery along with our retail establishments.? James Pokrivnak owner and CEO of Best Budds LLC EIN 92-3283868
    We had a previously thought that we perhaps wanted to go into micro business cultivation but we don’t have any previously much experience growing and not on large level like that so to speak but we all have management and retail sales and ownership of businesses experience people management business management planning regulating and implementing all aspects of retail establishments sales customers relations service location etc so we definitely want to start retail branded dispensary perhaps even franchise into a multi-state operators that would like to come in and help us establish and supply the retail establishments that we open from day one open to all ideas options partnerships and available industry regulations with complete compliance from building location code products sales record keeping and reporting integrating digital services like dutchie for a online mobile sale application for quicker easier customer sales service and as much technology that we can implement in to the retail establishment itself fully integrating everything even the delivery service.

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