Minnesota’s cannabis conundrum
(ABC 6 News) – It’s been roughly eight months since lawmakers legalized cannabis across Minnesota. But even now nobody has been able to get a license to sell it. Now, the office of cannabis is asking lawmakers for a temporary solution.
“For me it’s frustrating because we are ready to hit the ground running,” said Shelly Buchanan Hempire Hemp and Vape Shoppe in Rochester. She has been waiting to get her license to sell cannabis, but the state office has had a slower start than expected.
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“We’re ready to go; we have staff, we have vendors. We have everything ready to go, but we don’t have the license,” said Buchanan.
Now, the cannabis office is asking the legislature to approve temporary licenses to try and get the ball rolling.
But certain groups will have priority in getting those licenses. That group includes veterans and people who have prior convictions for selling or possessing cannabis. Something Buchanan doesn’t think is fair.
“I kind of get the back burner because I didn’t break the law. But I’m not saying everybody who broke the law should be shameful or anything like that. For me, it’s hard because I did things the right way,” said Buchanan.
Republican Senator Carla Nelson says it’s important legislation gets well thought out before passage.
“The idea of just coming into session and passing something without our full stood up version of the office of cannabis I think should give everyone a bit of pause,” said Nelson.
But DFL Senator Liz Boldon wants reassure people they are going to do what’s best for Minnesota.
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“You know there’s always that balance of safety and speed and want to be certainly sure that everyone is safe, and we are having those things in place and doing that as quickly as we can,” said Boldon.
The 2024 legislative session begins on Monday. Republicans are calling this a fix-it session while Democrats say they hope to build off last year’s historic legislation.