Duluth business owner, economist react to cannabis legalization

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is expected to sign a bill into law, making recreational marijuana legal.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 5:16 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) -- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is expected to sign a bill into law, making recreational marijuana legal.

Minnesota will become the 23rd state to do so.

By August, Minnesotans 21 and older will legally be allowed to use marijuana and other cannabis products recreationally.

Sales tax on all of it will be 10%.

“I think the state will definitely start seeing some of those larger impacts that come from those taxes and regulations,” said Monica Haynes, the Director of the Bureau of Business & Economic Research at UMD.

80% of that tax revenue goes to the state. 20% goes to local governments.

Haynes said revenue could reach $60 to $80 million in a few years.

“A good chunk of the money is actually going to local areas where the sales are happening, so that’s just a big increase in funding for the state and local cities and municipalities,” Haynes said.

Haynes also anticipates more cannabis businesses opening up.

“I think a lot of businesses have started preparing for this reality for several years, so we are seeing some new business creation kind of in preparation, and I think that will just continue to probably grow,” Haynes said.

Jeff Brinkman owns Superior Cannabis Company, which operates in Duluth and Austin, Minnesota.

He said legalization has been a long time coming.

“We’re very excited about it, it’s something that Minnesota needed to do,” Brinkman said.

Brinkman’s business has sold CBD and THC products since 2018 after Brinkman and his partner discovered their medical benefits, but now with law changes, he has some concerns.

“With these things that are coming with the law, we’re really kind of questioning whether we can continue that and then also do adult-use cannabis,” Brinkman said.

That’s because selling adult-use cannabis would require a new license, which could cost up to $50,000.

Still, Brinkman said the bill, especially the erasures of low-level cannabis crimes, is a positive step forward.

“We were never really of the opinion that the bill should be stopped because it’s not necessarily a good bill. We think any progress is some progress,” Brinkman said.

Sales of marijuana in businesses are not expected to begin for at least a year, as the newly created Minnesota Office of Cannabis Management will have to process and review all license applications, which they expect to take some time.

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