Recreational marijuana sales begin in Red Lake
Hundreds of people waited outside the Red Lake Nation’s NativeCare marijuana dispensary on Tuesday morning as recreational use of the drug became legal across Minnesota.
As the dispensary opened at 11 a.m., employees began welcoming the more than 200 people who were outside — some of whom had been there for hours.
John Webster arrived early to make sure he could be one of the first customers Tuesday.
“Well, I’m retired so, you can imagine, I’ve got time,” Webster said.
At times, dozens of others waited outside the dispensary, with some calling it “like Christmas.”
“It’s a great day for Minnesota, we’ve been trying to get this law passed for a lot of years,” Michael Jones, one customer, said.
“This is amazing, and the amazing piece is we did it as a team. As we grew, we grew more team members, people that were devoted,” said Jerry Loud, the executive director at Red Lake who oversees the NativeCare dispensary. “These people all had passion for this, and that’s what really makes this a success — that you have people with passion, and we’re doing it not just for us. And truly, not even for the economy — but that is one of the targets — but we’re doing it for the future of the Red Lake Nation.”
He adds this could bring a big financial boost.
Prices range up to $380 for an ounce of marijuana grown at the Red Lake reservation
“Tribal nations hardly ever get a break like this, and to be able to get the jump on everybody, it’s amazing,” Loud said. “We are truly going to capitalize on this, and we’re doing it the right way. We’re following all the rules the state had already engaged with, and that’s what we’re doing.”
As previously reported, the law allowing recreational marijuana use went into effect at midnight Tuesday morning. While the state still needs to get its licensing system going, the sovereign Red Lake Tribal Nation is able to sell the drug right away.
Previously, only medical marijuana was sold to patients at NativeCare cannabis dispensary, but that changed Tuesday morning. Now, recreational sales can be completed with anyone who is at least 21 years old.
Charles Goodwin, a Red Lake member who was their first medical marijuana customer, became the state’s first legal recreational marijuana customer.
“It just feels great to be the first customer, to see many in line, and it feels great,” Goodwin said. “Been waiting for this day for a long time.”
Webster says being there for the first day of legal sales is a day he won’t forget.
“It’s done. It was a three-hour drive here, waited in the rain, it worked out just fine,” Webster said.
Tribal officials say they plan to open two more dispensaries outside their casinos near Thief River Falls and Warroad in the coming months.
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