Red Lake Nation prepares to open state’s first recreational marijuana dispensary

Recreational marijuana now legal in Minnesota

The new Minnesota law took effect at midnight Tuesday morning.

The Red Lake Nation made its final preparations Monday to begin selling recreational marijuana on Tuesday.

When Minnesota’s new law takes effect Tuesday, the tribal nation’s NativeCare dispensary will become the state’s first recreational marijuana dispensary.

“Once the bill was passed, there was the ability to open our dispensary and make it safe for Minnesotans to come on and purchase, we wanted to be the first, we not only wanted to be the first, we wanted to be the best experience,” Tribal Secretary Samuel Strong said.

The Red Lake Nation already had a cannabis-growing operation, with 24 employees, because they already sold medical marijuana to patients.

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Because of that infrastructure and the fact that tribal nations don’t need to wait for the state’s licensing system to get up and running, Red Lake Nation is in prime position as the new recreational cannabis law takes effect.

“Making some dollars, it’s an economic driver for the Red Lake Nation, we’ve invested a lot of money into this, that whole ROI, we want a return on our investment,” Executive Director Jerry Loud said.

While tribal officials won’t share financial projections, they certainly feel it could boost the community financially.

Leaders are expecting a long line to form Tuesday based on pre-orders. They’re also bringing in security to work Tuesday and say sales are cash-only.

“I think the thing that makes me most nervous is making sure everyone has a good experience and we’re able to accommodate all the requests,” Strong said.

Outside tribal lands, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office says those who buy marijuana can’t use it in their vehicle.

Tribal officials say for those coming to make purchases that marijuana and other products sold at the dispensary can’t be used in public spaces on their land.