Third Minnesota Tribe to Enter Recreational Marijuana Market

A full-fledged market launch date for the state is still to be determined.

The recreational marijuana business in the Land of 10,000 Lakes is picking up, with a third Minnesota-based Native American tribe announcing plans to enter the trade. Recreational possession and use became legal in the state on Aug. 1, but the state has yet to create a framework for businesses to operate under.

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe last week signed off on plans to launch both retail dispensaries and consumption lounges on its lands in the northern part of the state, Minnesota Public Radio reported. The move follows recreational cannabis sales launches first by the Red Lake Nation and then by White Earth Nation.

The Leech Lake Band expects to have at least one dispensary operational before the end of the year, MPR reported, and eventually a total of three stores open to the public. Specific locations are still “up in the air,” a tribal spokesperson told the radio station.

The Leech Lake Reservation is roughly three and a half hours north of Minneapolis.

For months at least, the tribes will have the state’s cannabis market to themselves, since regulators aren’t expected to accept business license applications until sometime next year. A full-fledged market launch date still to be determined.

The tribes’ sovereignty from the state government gives them autonomy to decide for themselves whether to launch marijuana businesses, which now gives the tribes a serious head start on any competition that may emerge down the road.

Native American tribes in many other states – from New York to California to the Pacific Northwest – have been operating cannabis businesses for years as the industry has grown nationally.

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