Minnesota could provide a unique environment for a new cannabis industry

Outside MN State Capitol
Outside MN State Capitol(Quinn Gorham)
Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 6:39 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, MN -- Cannabis becomes legal in Minnesota on Tuesday, August 1st, and while many are excited, experts say it’s important to remember the process will take some time.

“The first phase here in Minnesota, people are going to be able to grow eight plants at home for their individual use,” said Peter Morrell with the University of Minnesota. Morrell teaches a course on Cannabis.

The new law allows people to grow 8 plants at home; 4 of those can be mature.

While other states that have legalized the drug, like California, benefit from year-round nice weather, Minnesota winters will be hard on homegrown cannabis.

“There will be a growing season for marijuana in Minnesota,” said Morrell.

He said it’ll be similar to farming hemp. In the spring and summer, the plants will be easy to grow, but it’ll get tricky during the state’s long and cold winters.

“The rest of the cultivation of Minnesota is going to have to be indoors. And cannabis is a plant that likes relatively warm, moist environments,” said Morrell.

Providing the right temperature, lighting, and humidity could prove challenging—and expensive for home-growers.

“The energy usage of those things is going to be pretty high. And there’s a real concern if you just turn your basement into a marijuana grow operation. You’re setting up high humidity conditions and things that aren’t good for the house,” said Morrell.

Since marijuana is still federally illegal, it’s against the law to transport it across state lines, meaning imports won’t be an option.

Lawmakers believe it’ll take anywhere from 12-18 months for the first dispensaries to obtain licensing and begin to sell the product.