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    New adult-use cannabis dispensary opens in Minnesota



    The closest legal cannabis dispensary to the Twin Cities opened for business Thursday on a reservation in Cass County. The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe passed a resolution in August 2023 that allowed for adult-use recreational cannabis sales throughout the boundaries of the reservation.

    “We assigned a task force and then a commission was established, and bylaws were created,” said Michael Michaud, chairperson for the board of the Leech Lake cannabis company. “Once that was complete, the board of directors were interviewed and selected for the Leech Lake cannabis company.”

    Michaud said they were able to get the cannabis dispensary open within 60 days of the first board of directors meeting.

    It’s 182 miles or a little more than 3 hours from downtown Minneapolis to the dispensary in Walker, just west of Leech Lake in Cass County.

    “It’s at the intersection of [interstates] 371 and 200, which is a major thoroughfare for a lot of people that come up north,” Michaud said. “We anticipate that with all the summer traffic that will be coming up through that corridor, we’ll be extremely busy throughout the summer.”

    The Red Lake Nation dispensary, NativeCare, in Red Lake is 249 miles from downtown Minneapolis while the White Earth dispensary, Waabigwan Mashkiki, in Mahnomen is 235 miles.

    The Prairie Island Indian Community plans to open a dispensary later this month, called Island Pezi, which would be closest to the Twin Cities: about 45 miles away or less than an hour’s drive.

    Minnesota legalized recreational marijuana sales last year, but the state’s system isn’t set to start until 2025. Sovereign nations create their own cannabis ordinances, which allows licensing and regulation within their own jurisdictions.

    Michaud says the tribe’s goal is to create more entrepreneurial opportunities for band members to open up their own dispensaries in the future.

    “The end goal for the tribe through the resolution is to have individual entrepreneurship for individual band members to open up their own dispensaries and grow operations,” Michaud said.

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