In a pioneering move, the Red Lake Nation council in Minnesota voted on July 11 to legalize adult-use cannabis effective August 1. While the state is still developing its dispensary license program for legal cannabis, the Red Lake Nation Tribe is set to get a head start on sales.
Although retail dispensaries won’t be allowed to open for another 12 to 18 months due to regulatory requirements, the Red Lake Nation already operates NativeCare, a medical cannabis dispensary. As of August 1, NativeCare will expand its offerings to include recreational cannabis, making it the state’s first recreational dispensary.
Minnesota’s Red Lake Nation approves adult-use cannabis sales, positioning itself as the state’s first recreational dispensary.
Situated in Minnesota’s Northern region, approximately four hours away from Minneapolis and Saint Paul (the Twin Cities), the Red Lake Nation aims to harness the benefits of legal cannabis for its tribal members.
Tribal secretary Sam Strong expressed optimism about reducing harm and aiding recovery from opioid addiction through this new endeavor while highlighting that alcohol use is currently prohibited on the reservation.
Governor Tim Walz signed legislation on May 30 to legalize recreational cannabis in Minnesota, making it the 23rd state to do so. However, officials need time to establish a regulatory framework before retail sales can fully commence. The governor acknowledged that careful consideration has been given by incorporating lessons learned from other states into their approach.
Furthermore, Governor Walz announced in June that tribes across the state could proceed with cannabis sales ahead of the pending legalization date. This move recognizes both their sovereignty and their potential contributions to the industry.
Projections indicate that by 2029, Minnesota’s cannabis market could generate over $1.5 billion annually with more than 700,000 registered adult-use and medical cannabis patients statewide.
The Red Lake Nation Tribe joins a growing number of Native American tribes across the United States that have embraced medical and/or recreational cannabis. As the industry continues to evolve, these tribes are seizing opportunities for economic growth and community development.