Red Lake Nation opening marijuana dispensary on Aug. 1

Red Lake Nation opening marijuana dispensary on Aug. 1

Red Lake Nation opening marijuana dispensary on Aug. 1

The Red Lake Nation says it will open Minnesota’s first recreational marijuana dispensary when the state’s new law goes into effect on Aug. 1.

NativeCare, which is run by the Red Lake Nation, announced its plans on social media.

Under the law passed by state legislators this spring, it will be legal for Minnesotans who are at least 21 years old to have certain amounts of recreational marijuana starting Aug. 1.

While possession will become legal, sales aren’t expected to take off until 2025 due to a quirk in the law. However, Red Lake Nation will be able to start sales as soon as the law goes into effect because of separate rules for tribes.

The Office of Cannabis Management told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “The new law signed by Governor (Tim) Walz recognizes tribes have the authority to regulate on-reservation adult-use sales. It is not unexpected that some tribes are moving quickly to begin doing so now that adult-use will be legal statewide. The state will also begin negotiating compacts with interested tribes related to adult-use and medical cannabis outside of tribal lands.

“The legislature granted the Office of Cannabis Management rulemaking authority to establish statewide industry and commercial requirements in a variety of areas, including business licensing. Rulemaking is anticipated to be complete in 2025 (applications for business licenses would follow rulemaking).”

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Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, added, “Throughout our time in office, Governor Walz and I have been committed to building strong government-to-government relationships with the eleven Tribal Nations within Minnesota. The law Governor Walz signed to legalize adult-use cannabis is one of the strongest in the nation in honoring the sovereignty of Tribal Nations like Red Lake Nation to make decisions on the sale of adult-use and medical cannabis.”

NativeCare has already been growing and selling medical marijuana for the past two years at its dispensary north of Bemidji. Unlike other businesses in the state, NativeCare won’t need to be licensed to sell recreational marijuana because its dispensary is on tribal land.

“We can provide a tested product, that is highly regulated, that is available to community members as well as others, and really break down barriers for people who intend to use cannabis,” Samuel Strong, the tribal secretary for the Red Lake Nation, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

Strong says the new venture will also create more jobs.

“We do see this as economic development and social venture for our community,” Strong added.

The Red Lake Nation says it plans to use some of the profits from marijuana sales to address the opioid crisis.