Cloquet cannabis dispensary readies for legalization

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Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the legalization of marijuana in Minnesota on Friday. While marijuana products derived from hemp have been nationally legal since Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, Minnesota Senators will decide whether or not to make more potent marijuana products derived from the feminized plant available to Minnesotans.

The Minnesota House of Representatives passed its version of a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis on April 25th, 71 to 59. If passed in the senate, the differences in the bill’s two versions will need to be reconciled before advancing to Governor Walz’s desk.

Recently opened Salute Dispensary in Cloquet, hopes to be among the first businesses to offer Northlanders adult-use cannabis products.

“We are very excited that it passed the House,” said Cassandra Metro, Manager of Salute Dispensary. “We are also very hopeful that it will pass the Senate with the people that are in office. We’re very hopeful that Friday will be a success as well.”

If passed, Minnesotans with marijuana-related misdemeanor convictions would see them overturned, and the bill would also establish a body to consider expunging felony convictions on a case-by-case basis.

“We’re hoping to be able to expand to a whole new product line, and eventually, maybe expand our building,” said Metro. “To take down some walls and make a bigger space, so that we can have plenty of more options. But we’re hoping to be able to sell other products that contain marijuana THC, and then sell marijuana itself.”

A recent poll by Minnesota Public Radio shows 53% of Minnesotans in favor of marijuana legalization, with 36% in opposition.

Factors like pricing, regulation, and what can be learned by example from other states are among the considerations important to Minnesotans.

“The Senate, our representatives and everybody has forgotten about this,” said Cloquet resident Dan Tarr. “They’re just wanting to pass it, but there should be some price controls. And I’m not sure the amount that people can raise, but it needs to be controlled. There’s no reason a person should have to pay more than a hundred dollars an ounce for something that grows like crazy.”

Governor Walz has previously expressed his support for legalization and his intention to sign the bill if it reaches his desk. If that happens, lawmakers estimate at least one year between then, and the first recreation marijuana sale in Minnesota.