RED LAKE, Minn — Make hay while the sun shines.
It’s an old saying that accurately reflects the current state of affairs on the reservation at Red Lake, where the tribe is taking advantage of bureaucratic delays at the state of Minnesota to get a huge head start in capturing the new recreational cannabis market.
KARE 11’s Jennifer Hoff confirmed that the Red Lake Nation will now launch a new mobile marijuana dispensary on September 2 at its casino in Thief River Falls in conjunction with a concert by Sawyer Brown.
To be clear, the mobile dispensary will be on tribal grounds but not inside the casino. Hoff reports that the rolling facility, which will resemble a food truck, will open at 11 a.m. each day and close when cannabis products run out
Tribal Secretary Samuel Strong told MPR News that since opening the on-reservation dispensary NativeCare on Aug. 1 they’ve been seeing about 300 customers a day and that for the most part, wait times outside the facility have been drastically reduced.
Business has been so good, Strong said, the dispensary is now open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. — four-twenty is slang among cannabis users referring to marijuana or the act of smoking.
At this point, a source told Jennifer Hoff, 70% of business is coming from the greater Twin Cities Metro.
Minnesota has not licensed any businesses yet to sell recreational cannabis in the state, and it may take until mid-2024 or early 2025. Tribal governments don’t have to wait for the state’s licensing system, which is why Red Lake opened its NativeCare dispensary promptly on Aug. 1 when recreational pot became legal.
The new recreational cannabis law allows adults 21 and older to possess and travel in the state with two ounces of cannabis flower, 8 grams of concentrate and 800 milligrams worth of THC-containing edible products such as gummies and seltzers. A person can have up to two pounds of cannabis flower at home.
Low-potency edibles made with THC from industrial hemp were legalized last year. They’ve been subject to a 10% marijuana tax since July 1.
That tax will apply to other marijuana products as they become licensed for sale, but not on sovereign tribal lands. It remains illegal under federal law to bring cannabis in from out of state.
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