Early groundwork to grow Office of Cannabis Management underway

Early groundwork to grow Office of Cannabis Management underway

Early groundwork to grow Office of Cannabis Management underway

Minnesota lawmakers approved the formation of the Office of Cannabis Management as part of marijuana legislation that legalizes use for adults in the state beginning on Aug. 1.

Inside the Department of Agriculture in St. Paul, Charlene Briner, a consultant, is helping to form the new office.

“We are incubating and building an office from scratch,” Briner said. “It’s like pioneering through the woods with a sort of a road map and also instinct.”

Briner, a former state deputy education and human services commissioner, is in a new role tasked with getting the Office of Cannabis Management up and running.

“We’re really just putting foundational pieces in place, every single day, and every single week,” Briner said.

It’s very early in the process, as the position for director of the office won’t be posted until July 1 and the posting needs to remain open for 30 days before any possible finalists could be selected for an interview.

Governor Tim Walz will then make the final decision as to who will lead the office.

“But there will be staff who are doing the temporary regulating and oversight,” Briner said of the meantime.

The Office of Cannabis Management website launched around the time the legislation passed.

It’s one of the first efforts from the state government to explain to residents what lawmakers passed, along with the next steps for cannabis licensing, sales and regulation.

“To really create the market that people expect, they may have been to other states where they’ve gone to a dispensary or been able to purchase cannabis, it’s going to take us a while to get there,” Briner said.

The state anticipates a retail marijuana marketplace may not open in the state until early 2025.

But until then, beginning Aug. 1, residents can possess certain amounts of marijuana, and grow it as well.

Once key staff members are hired to run the office, work will begin on writing crucial administrative rules.

There’s also no set location right now as to where the Office Cannabis Management will operate.

“We don’t know if we’ll have leased space from an existing state office building, we’ll lease space somewhere else, purchase some building, we actually have to find a home,” Briner said.

When cannabis becomes legal for people over age 21, there are limitations on where it can be used. Those include any location where the smoke, aerosol or vapor of a cannabis product could be inhaled by a minor, or on federal property including at airports and national parks, according to a state website.