2 weeks later, Red Lake Nation continues to see hundreds of cannabis customers
NativeCare first opened its doors in Red Lake back on Aug. 1 to sell legal marijuana, the first dispensary of its kind in Minnesota.
That day, Red Lake Nation leaders said they served more than 300 customers.
In the two weeks since the state of Minnesota legalized recreational cannabis, Red Lake Tribal Secretary Samuel Strong told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the store continues to see hundreds of customers a day.
“It’s been really great. We’ve had a lot of people come up and a lot of return clients already return. It’s been pretty much none stop,” Strong said.
Minnesota’s new cannabis law requires sellers to be licensed, but it doesn’t apply to the 11 tribes in the state.
Tribal communities have an edge in the marijuana marketplace since the state licensing system could be more than a year away.
“It definitely exceeded our expectations,” Strong said. “We had to make plans to accommodate the amount of people.”
Near Detroit Lakes, the White Earth Nation became the only other dispensary in the state to sell adult-use marijuana a few days after the Red Lake Community.
White Earth grows cannabis inside an old potato chip factory in the shadows of the new dispensary in Mahnomen.
“We want to make sure if you come up you can get some, we’re trying to ramp up as fast as possible to supply as much quality flower as possible,” said Alexander Oxendine, general manager of the Waabigwan Mashkiki dispensary.
To keep up with demand and supply on hand, the dispensary’s general manager told ABC affiliate WDAY-TV that it has limited the size of purchases to 14 grams a day per customer. That’s about one-quarter of the amount a person can legally carry on them in Minnesota.
Red Lake Nation officials say the financial impact of being first in the market will go far in their community.
“It’s definitely going to benefit our community,” Strong said. “Obviously, once the state opens up, we anticipate the market changing. We’re making plans for that as well.”
Red Lake Nation officials are planning to open two more dispensaries near their casinos in Warroad and Thief River Falls in the coming months.