State report offers recommendation to jumpstart marijuana sales

(KSTP) – Minnesotans could get recreational marijuana sooner than originally anticipated after the state’s regulatory office offered a suggestion to speed up the process.

The Office of Cannabis Management sent a report to lawmakers earlier this week that looked at the current state of marijuana consumers and demand in Minnesota. It found that Minnesotans are getting marijuana from a variety of sources.

“What we saw is that Minnesota consumption of cannabis is at or even somewhat higher than neighboring states and national trends,” Charlene Briner, the office’s interim director, said.

The report also asked for new temporary licenses to be allowed as a quicker way of getting private operations running while the Office of Cannabis Management continues the lengthy rulemaking process. Currently, only tribal nations can legally operate growing and dispensary operations.

“If we really want to expedite even further, this is one strategy to do it,” Briner said.

That move alone could allow operations to get started at least six months before they’re currently scheduled to, Briner estimated, adding that cultivation applications could be accepted as early as this summer.

“At the very least, we know that getting seeds or plants in the ground to grow the plants to produce the supply is one of the things we need to do,” Briner said.

Dispensary licenses could, of course, come later — the office’s report says more than 380 dispensaries will have to be licensed. Currently, retail sales aren’t slated to begin until 2025.

The chief author of the marijuana bill, Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he’s open to changes in the law, adding, “I’m sure we’ll have a good discussion about it during session.”