A Native American tribal medical cannabis dispensary may become the first to launch in Minnesota’s recreational marijuana market, following a vote this week by the Red Lake Nation.
According to Fox 9, tribal leaders voted to allow NativeCare Dispensary, which the tribe already operates on its reservation in north-central Minnesota, to begin selling to customers 21 and older on Aug. 1, which is when possession and consumption become legal for all residents.
That’s months ahead of when non-tribal businesses will be allowed to get into the licensed marijuana business, the Minnesota Reformer reported. The state projected a 12-18 month timeline for a new regulatory system and licensing for adult-use marijuana.
That would give the Red Lake Nation a solid headstart on competitors, despite the NativeCare dispensary being a nearly five-hour drive north of Minneapolis.
There’s also a possibility the tribe may open two more adult-use shops on tribal land in the neighboring towns of Thief River Falls and Warroad, tribal secretary Sam Strong told the Reformer.
On top of that, the tribe may be able to open additional dispensaries on non-tribal land by negotiating compacts with the state government, the Reformer reported.
Strong said that the tribe intends to use revenue from marijuana sales to offset harms done to the community by opioid abuse.
“We see this as a resource not only to reduce harm, but to also bring in resources to help our people recover,” Strong told the Reformer, adding that more details of the tribe’s business plan will be made public in coming weeks.