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Minnesota’s Cannabis Regulator Calls for Law Changes to Meet 2025 Adult-Use Rollout

Minnesota’s interim director of the states cannabis regulator has called on lawmakers to amend legislation in order to help it achieve the goal of rolling out an adult-use framework by 2024.

The interim director of the Office of Cannabis Management, Cherlene Briner, announced during a informational webinar last week that she will seek regulatory changes to address a number of regulatory gaps as the young regulator continues to develop a comprehensive framework for cannabis.

She said these proposed updates are ‘designed to both help us launch successfully and in a timely way, and also to help us effectively regulate over time’.

Minnesota legalized recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older on August 1, 2023. While the law allowing possession, cultivation, and use was signed by Governor Tim Walz in May 2023, it took a few months for regulations and licensing procedures to be established before sales could begin.

Firstly she sought to address the sale of raw cannabis flower, which was left without clear regulation when cannabis was legalised last year.

Ms Briner says she will request that the oversight of ‘hemp-derived’ products be transferred from the Office of Medical Cannabis to the Office of Cannabis Management this summer, rather than waiting until next Spring as initially intended.

This will enable the Office for Medical Cannabis to focus solely on its namesake, meaning that an extended period in which it would have the authority, but not the resources, to inspect raw cannabis flower would be avoided.

The regulatory gap arose when the legal authority to regulate raw cannabis flower became uncertain, leading to concerns about the sale of potentially illegal products.

Furthermore, she has called for temporary business licences, particularly those for ‘social equity applicants’ in order to keep to the planned schedule

She also believes that lawmakers should also remove ‘bottlenecks’ such as the requirement that prospective businesses secure property for their business before even receiving a license to operate.

“Trying to secure that building and spend thousands if not millions on a facility — without any assurances of obtaining a license — is incredibly expensive and uncertain and creates a great deal of risk for potential business operators.”

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