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Minnesota lawmakers are mulling THC beverages on tap, marijuana license cap

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Minnesota cannabis operators could sell low-THC beverages on tap if changes made this week to the state’s 2023 adult-use marijuana law are finalized.

Though Native American tribes in Minnesota started selling recreational products in August, the state’s full adult-use market isn’t expected to open until early 2025 as lawmakers continue to debate edits to the legislation.

Among the tweaks approved by the state House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee on Wednesday:

  • Allowing popular low-THC beverages derived from hemp to be sold on tap as well as at liquor stores.

  • Awarding social equity licenses via a “vetted lottery” rather than a “merit-based system,” despite criticism from social equity advocates that “large out-of-state retailers could game the system.”

  • Allowing medical marijuana patients to grow up to 16 plants at home, up from the eight allowed under the adult-use legislation.

Regulators are also asking lawmakers to impose a license cap for the first two years of recreational marijuana sales, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Charlene Briner, the state Office of Cannabis Management’s interim director, is requesting a limit of no more than:

  • 200 retail licenses.

  • 50 cultivation permits.

  • 24 manufacturing licenses.

  • 44 “mezzobusiness” permits that allow small-scale cultivation as well as manufacturing and sales.

Half of those licenses would be reserved for social equity applicants.

Cultivation canopy for mezzobusinesses would be capped at 15,000 square feet.

There would be no limit on “microbusiness” licenses, which are similar to mezzobusiness permits except for a 5,000-square-foot cap on cultivation.

Microbusinesses also permit on-site consumption and live entertainment, the Star Tribune reported.

The full Legislature must sign off on the committee’s changes before they become law.


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