Minnesota Cannabis Business Consultants – Quantum 9, Inc.

Would you like to open one of the first adult-use cannabis businesses in Minnesota? If your answer is yes, schedule a consultation with our Minnesota cannabis business consultants. We are here to help you succeed. 

In the article below, you’ll find a step-by-step-guide with 10 steps you can take now to win a license. But first, let’s look at the broader scope of the proposed Minnesota cannabis program, including its proposed application process.

Laws and Regulations

Firstly, our Minnesota cannabis business consultants recommend that you thoroughly read House Bill HF 100 and Senate Bill SF 73.

So far, the bills have passed smoothly through committees with nearly half of the committees remaining to review. The Minnesota regular legislature sessions adjourn at the end of May 2023, and high enthusiasm exists to get passage of these adult-use bills done and not postpone until next year’s session.

So, stay tuned. But meanwhile, begin preparation to submit your cannabis business application.

In addition to the bills themselves, you should familiarize yourself with the recently created Office of Cannabis Management (“the office”). It is tasked to regulate cannabis, take enforcement actions, and promulgate the rules for your adult-use cannabis business application. Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with its website, news releases, and notifications before the application process begins.

In addition, the Departments of Agriculture, Department of Employment and Economic Development, and the Department of Public Safety will each have important roles in the new legal system for adult-use. For now, the Department of Health oversees the medical cannabis program.

By doing so, you will learn about the application process and regulations that you will need to follow when operating your business. Below, our Minnesota marijuana business consultants summarize the proposed adult-use program, which will sunset the previous medical cannabis only rules.

Timeline

Currently, both the House and Senate adult-use cannabis bills are moving their way successfully through committees. If both pass as expected by the end of May 2023, then look for January 2024 for the rules to be promulgated by the newly forming Office of Cannabis Management.

Types of Marijuana Business Licenses in Minnesota

First of all, Minnesota is proposing over 9 adult-use cannabis license types (detailed below), in addition to its low potency and medical cannabis licenses:

  • Lower potency edible retailer​,
  • Medical cannabis cultivator,
  • Medical cannabis processor, and
  • Medical cannabis retailer.

Vertical integration is prohibited, with the following limited exception:

“If the office determines that the issuance of multiple licenses resulting in a single​ applicant being vertically integrated is necessary to ensure a sufficient supply of cannabis​ flower and cannabinoid products during the first calendar year in which cannabis flower​ and cannabinoid products are lawfully sold to customers, the office may authorize one or​ more applicants to be fully vertically integrated” for one year from the date of opening retail operations.

Read further below for specifics on the various adult-use license types, or skip to the cannabis license application process itself.

Cannabis Cultivator License (Craft Cultivator, Bulk Cultivator)

First, a cannabis cultivator license in Minnesota allows the licensee to grow cannabis within an approved amount of space. With this license type, you can:

  • Grow from seed or immature plant to mature plant,
  • Harvest cannabis from a mature plant,
  • Package and label cannabis for sale to other cannabis businesses,
  • Transport cannabis to cannabis manufacturers that are located on the same premises, and
  • Perform other actions approved by the board.

Secondly, a person, cooperative, or business holding a cultivator license may also hold a cannabis manufacturing license, medical cannabis​ cultivator license, medical cannabis manufacturing license, license to grow industrial hemp,​ and cannabis event organizer license. They may not own or operate any other type of cannabis business.

The office will offer two types of cultivator licenses:

  • Craft cultivator – A craft cultivator license allows cultivation by a license holder of not more than 10,000 feet of plant canopy.
  • Bulk cultivator – A bulk cultivator license in Minnesota allows cultivation by a license holder of not more than 30,000 feet of plant canopy.

If you want an even smaller amount of plant canopy, a microbusiness license may be the perfect option for you.

Cannabis Manufacturer License

A cannabis manufacturer license allows a license holder to purchase cannabis, cannabis products, hemp, and hemp products from cultivators, manufacturers, microbusinesses, and industrial hemp growers. Additionally, with this license type, you can:

  • Extract THC and other raw materials from cannabis,
  • Concentrate THC,
  • Manufacture products for public consumption,
  • Package and label cannabis products for sale to other cannabis businesses, and
  • Lastly, perform any actions that are approved by the board.

A person, cooperative, or business holding a​ cannabis manufacturer license may also hold a cannabis cultivator license, a medical cannabis​ cultivator license, a medical cannabis processor license, and a cannabis event organizer​ license.​ They may not own or operate any other type of cannabis business.

Cannabis Retailer License in Minnesota

Next, if you have a cannabis retailer license in Minnesota you are able to sell immature cannabis plants and seedlings, adult-use cannabis, adult-use cannabis products, and other products authorized by law to customers.

Additionally, a cannabis retailer can only sell cannabis and cannabis products to those who are 21 and older. All immature cannabis plants and seedlings, adult-use cannabis, and adult-use cannabis products must:

  • Be obtained from a licensed Minnesota cannabis cultivator, cannabis manufacturer, microbusiness, or wholesaler, and
  • Meet all applicable packaging and labeling requirements.

Additionally, a cannabis retailer can sell up to two ounces of adult-use cannabis, eight grams of adult-use cannabis concentrate, and edible cannabis products infused with 800 milligrams of THC during a single transaction to a customer.

A cannabis retailer in Minnesota can also sell the following products:

  • Drinks that do not contain alcohol,
  • Books and videos about the cultivation and use of cannabis products,
  • Magazines and other publications about cannabis,
  • Multiple-use bags designated to carry purchased items,
  • Clothing with the specific name, brand, the logo of the cannabis retailer, and
  • Hemp products.

A person, cooperative, or business holding a​ cannabis retailer license may also hold a cannabis delivery service license, a medical cannabis​ retailer license, and a cannabis event organizer license.​ They may not own or operate any other type of cannabis business.

Cannabis Wholesaler License in Minnesota

Next, a cannabis wholesaler license in Minnesota allows for the licensee to purchase immature cannabis plants and seedlings, cannabis, cannabis products, hemp, and hemp products from cannabis cultivators, cannabis manufacturers, cannabis microbusinesses, and industrial hemp growers.

Additionally, this license allows you to sell immature cannabis plants and seedlings, cannabis, cannabis products, hemp, and hemp products to manufacturers and retailers.

In regards to the limitation on licenses, a cannabis wholesaler in Minnesota can also hold a cannabis transporter license, a cannabis delivery service license, and a cannabis event organizer license. They may not own or operate any other type of cannabis business.

Cannabis Transporter License in Minnesota

A cannabis transporter license in Minnesota allows the licensee to transport immature cannabis plants and seedlings, cannabis, cannabis products, hemp, and hemp products.

The license allows the transporter to transport from cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers, microbusinesses, medical marijuana businesses, and industrial hemp growers to manufacturers, testing facilities, wholesalers, retailers, and medical marijuana businesses.

For this license type, there are specific operational plans for the business. Required operational plans include, but are not limited to:

  • A shipping manifest that must be updated at all times,
  • Records of transportation,
  • Storage compartments,
  • Randomized deliveries, and
  • Multiple employees.

A person, cooperative, or business holding a​ cannabis transporter license may also hold a cannabis wholesaler license, a cannabis delivery​ service license, and a cannabis event organizer license.​

A person, cooperative, or business holding a​ cannabis transporter license may also hold a cannabis wholesaler license, a cannabis delivery​ service license, and a cannabis event organizer license.​ They may not own or operate any other type of cannabis business.

Contact our Minnesota cannabis business consultants for more information on the plans required.

Cannabis Testing Facility License in Minnesota

Next, a cannabis testing facility license in Minnesota allows for the licensee to obtain and test immature cannabis plants and seedlings, cannabis, cannabis products, hemp, and hemp products from cultivators, manufacturers, microbusinesses, medical marijuana businesses, and industrial hemp growers.

Testing facility operations must comply with the following requirements:

  • Proof of accreditation,
  • IOS formal management systems,
  • Facility layout including ventilation and filtration systems,
  • Testing services,
  • Testing protocols,
  • Three years of maintenance of all records,
  • Disposal plans for cannabis flower and cannabinoid products, and more.

Interestingly, a person, cooperative, or business holding a testing facility license may not own or operate, or be employed by, any other cannabis business.

Cannabis Microbusiness License in Minnesota

This marijuana license type is the closest that the bill gets to allowing vertical integration. This license allows the growing, process and sale of cannabis products by a single operator, though the size of such businesses is limited with the intention to keep big players from dominating the market. The microbusiness license allows the licensee to:

  • Grow cannabis from seed or immature plant to mature plant, harvest cannabis from a mature plant, package, and label cannabis for sale to other marijuana businesses in Minnesota,
  • Extract THC and other raw materials from cannabis, and concentrate THC,
  • Manufacture edible cannabis products for public consumption,
  • Purchase concentrated THC from a cannabis manufacturer or cannabis wholesaler for use in manufacturing edible cannabis products,
  • Sell immature cannabis plants and seedlings, adult-use cannabis, adult-use cannabis products, and other products authorized by law to customers, and
  • Lastly, operate an establishment that permits on-site consumption of edible cannabis products.

As this is a microbusiness license, there are limitations for all activities you do. A cannabis microbusiness that cultivates cannabis can not cultivate more than 2,000 square feet of plant canopy.

Additionally, there are limitations to extraction and concentration, production of customer products, retail operations, and on-site consumption.

Cannabis Event Organizer License in Minnesota

With a cannabis event organizer license in Minnesota, you are able to organize a temporary cannabis event that lasts no more than 4 days.

Also, if you want this license type you must obtain local approval, are able to charge entrance fees to the event, must have security within the event, and make sure that no one under the age of 21 enters the event.

Next, let’s look at a similar license, one that is specifically for cannabis event sales.

Cannabis Event Sales License

In addition to the above license, licensed cannabis retailers and licensed cannabis microbusinesses with endorsements to sell cannabis and cannabis products to customers, including the cannabis event organizer, can sell cannabis and cannabis products to customers at a cannabis event.

Specific limitations include:

  • All sales of cannabis and cannabis products at a cannabis event have to take place in a retail area that is designated within your application. With that, licensed retailers and microbusinesses can only conduct sales within their specific area.
  • Also, licensed retailers and microbusinesses can display one sample of each cannabis or cannabis product available for sale. These samples must be stored in ways approved by the board. The office places limitations on the potency of samples.

Cannabis event on-site consumption can be approved by the local unit of the government for a cannabis event in Minnesota. Now, let’s look at the similar on-site consumption lounge license.

On-Site Consumption Lounge with a Microbusiness License in Minnesota

As for consumption lounges, Minnesota only offers this license type as a microbusiness. This license type allows on-site consumption of edible cannabis products on a portion of its premises.

Specific rules apply. Edible cannabis products sold for on-sit consumption must comply with testing, packaging, and labeling rules. Additionally, these edible cannabis products must be removed from their packaging and consumed on-site. Lastly, food and beverages sold on the site have to be compliant with state and local laws, ordinances, licensing requirements, and zoning requirements.

In addition, a cannabis consumption lounge can not:

  • Sell more than one single serving of an edible cannabis product to a customer,
  • Allow the sale or consumption of alcohol or tobacco on the premises,
  • Sell food and drink, other than packages and labeled edible cannabis products infused with cannabis or THC, and
  • It may not distribute or allow free samples.

Cannabis Delivery License in Minnesota

First, a cannabis delivery license in Minnesota allows the license holder to purchase cannabis, cannabis products, medical cannabis, and medical cannabis products from licensed retailers, microbusinesses with an endorsement to sell cannabis and cannabis products to customers, and medical cannabis businesses. The delivery business can then transport and deliver cannabis, cannabis products, medical cannabis, and medical cannabis products to customers.

A person, cooperative, or business holding a​ cannabis delivery service license may also hold a cannabis retailer license, a cannabis​ wholesaler license, a cannabis transporter license, and a cannabis event organizer license​ subject to the ownership limitations that apply to those licenses.

There are also specific operational requirements for a cannabis delivery license in Minnesota. This includes:

  • Age and registry verification upon delivery,
  • Record keeping,
  • Limits on the amount of cannabis and cannabis products a cannabis delivery service may transport,
  • Statewide monitoring system, and
  • Storage compartment requirements.

Accordingly, be sure to include how you will comply with all operational plans within your cannabis application.

Each license type noted above allows you to perform different cannabis activities. To explore the license types in more depth, contact our Minnesota marijuana business consultants.

Next, let’s take a look at the proposed application process.

Application Process for a Cannabis Business License in Minnesota

Applications will be scored and are merit-based. If there are insufficient licenses available for entities that receive​ identical scores, the office will utilize a lottery to randomly select license recipients from​ among those entities.​

The office will issue licenses​ in each license category, and will award points for the following:

  1. status as a social equity applicant or as an applicant who is substantially similar to​ a social equity applicant as described in #10 below.
  2. status as a veteran applicant;​
  3. security and record keeping;​
  4. employee training and education plan;​
  5. business plan and financial situation;​
  6. diversity plan that establishes a goal of diversity in ownership, management, employment, and contracting;
  7. labor and employment practices;​
  8. knowledge and experience; and​
  9. environmental plan.​
  10. The office may award additional points to an application if the license holder would​ expand service to an underrepresented market including but not limited to participation in​ the medical cannabis program.​
  11. The office shall establish application materials permitting individual applicants to demonstrate the impact that cannabis prohibition has had on that applicant including but​ not limited to the arrest or imprisonment of the applicant or a member of the applicant’s immediate family, and the office may award points to such applicants in the same manner​ as points are awarded to social equity applicants.​

Also, the application includes requirements for the following:

  • criminal history check,
  • operation plan to ensure compliance,
  • labor peace agreement signed attestation by a bona fide labor organization,
  • commitments made including how you will maintain your labor peace agreement,
  • certification of compliance with the cannabis business ownership and operation requirements,
  • identification of controlling persons or managerial employees as responsible agent to the office,
  • statement of agreement to respond to the office’s supplemental requests, and
  • disclosure of ownership and control.

Application and Licensing Fees

The office may charge a nonrefundable fee not to exceed $250 to cover the administrative costs of reviewing and processing applications.

Licenses must be renewed annually. The office may charge an application fee for renewal not​ to exceed $250 to cover the administrative costs,​ but must not charge a licensing fee.​ In addition, licenses may not be transferred.​

Now, let’s look at priority applicants, since the Minnesota cannabis business license applications will be scored and merit-based.

Social Equity Status / Priority Applicants

Firstly, social equity applicants will be scored higher. All things considered, status as a social equity applicant must account for at least 20 percent​ of the total available points. The office will determine the points awarded by considering the number or​ ownership percentage of cooperative members, officers, directors, managers, and general​ partners who qualify as social equity applicants.

Secondly, the bills establish a Division of Social Equity within the OCM to promote development, stability, and safety in​ communities that have experienced a disproportionate negative impact from cannabis​ prohibition.​

Therefore, people living in low-income neighborhoods and military veterans who lost honorable status due to a cannabis-related offense will be considered social equity applicants eligible for priority licensing.

An individual qualifies as a social equity applicant if the individual is:​

  • a military veteran who lost honorable status due to a cannabis-related offense
  • a resident for the last five years of one or more subareas, such as census tracts or​ neighborhoods, that experienced a disproportionately large amount of cannabis enforcement​ as determined by the study conducted by the office, or​
  • a resident for the last five years of one or more census tracts where, as reported in​ the most recently completed decennial census published by the United States Bureau of the​ Census, either:​
    • poverty rate 20% or more, or,
    • the median family income did not exceed 80 percent of statewide median family​ income or,
    • if in a metropolitan area, did not exceed the greater of 80 percent of the statewide​ median family income or 80 percent of the median family income for that metropolitan​ area.​

Also, the bills create grants to assist individuals to enter the legal cannabis market, as well as funding cannabis industry training grants and start-up assistance funds.

Next, let’s look at the subject of local control.

Local Control in Minnesota

marijuana business consultants in Minnesota

The proposed state laws ban local municipalities from opting out from allowing cannabis businesses to locate within their jurisdictions, although they are allowed to review for compliance, and also can set limits on times of operations.

Tips for Winning Licenses (Steps 1-10) from our Minnesota Marijuana Business Consultants

Step 1: Read the Laws and Regulations

First, to win a cannabis business license in Minnesota, you should acquaint yourself with its cannabis acts, laws, and regulations. Moreover, doing so will help you understand the types of licenses available, as well as the application process and operational requirements.

Below are links to the proposed cannabis regulation amendments:

House Bill HF 100 and Senate Bill SF 73

Secondly, to become a successful marijuana business owner, we suggest you regularly visit the Office of Cannabis Management. This state agency will license and regulate all Minnesota cannabis businesses.

Finally, contact our Minnesota cannabis consultants and we’ll keep you informed with the latest.

Step 2: Choose a license type

The bills create more than a dozen types of licenses for growing, selling, transporting and testing cannabis. Read summaries above for types of adult-use marijuana business licenses in Minnesota.

Step 3: Engage our Minnesota cannabis business consultants

Allow us to manage your project from pre-licensure to fully approved and operational. Our cannabis business consultants in Minnesota can manage all aspects of your application, including:

  • Team recruitment,
  • Raising capital,
  • Real estate selection,
  • Facility design,
  • Technical writing,
  • Operational support, 
  • Employee education and training, and more.

In any event, reach out for our consulting services to learn more.

Step 4: Form a business entity

At this beginning stage, you should form a business entity, such as an LLC or an S-corp.

You can learn more about forming a business entity in Minnesota by visiting the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. If you are unsure what type of business entity would work best for your proposed cannabis operations, engage our consultants or work with an attorney to choose the best structure for your business plans.

Step 5: Build a team with the help of our Minnesota cannabis business consultants

The office will scrutinize the background and qualifications of each member of your team in order to ensure proper safety and compliance. Your team should expertise related to both business management and the wide variety of cannabis business specific operations.

With our talent acquisition services, our Minnesota cannabis business consultants provide you a deep network of industry-leading experts and help you put together the ideal team for the approval of your business license.

Reach out today for more information about our personalized business applications and consulting services.

Step 6: Develop a business plan with the help of our Minnesota marijuana business consultants

Firstly, a comprehensive business plan is critical for you to raise capital for your cannabis business application in Minnesota. The application process will be highly competitive.

Your business plans should show, at a minimum:

  • the expected size of the business,
  • anticipated growth,
  • methods of record keeping,
  • knowledge and experience of the applicant and any officer, director, manager, and general partner,
  • environmental plan, and
  • all other relevant financial and operational components.

Make sure you have created a viable business model. It shows the office that your business is well-planned and sustainable. Plus, it will help you to raise capital. Engage our Minnesota cannabis business planning services. We’ll help you write the best business plan that is in line with your mission statements, lines out your strategies and budget projections, and provides your market analysis and pro forma financial statements.

Step 7: Raise Capital with the help of our Minnesota marijuana business consultants

Although the license applications fees themselves seem minor, starting a cannabis business in Minnesota is a costly endeavor. In addition to annual license fees, the start-up costs alone can easily run you and your team into the millions.

Now is a good time to get your financials in order. You’ll have to show the sources and structure for all your financing in the license application. Plus, you need to show your finance plans are capable of carrying your newly licensed cannabis business to sustainable and productive fruition.

Finally, choosing the right location may be crucial to ensuring your capital raising is put to the best use.

Step 8: Choose a location with the help of our Minnesota cannabis business consultants

As you’re raising capital, research locations for your cannabis business. It can take months to secure a location, and you want to make sure it’s the right location for your proposed operations. 

Additionally, check with the municipality and make sure your proposed location is compliant and zoned correctly.

Remember, municipalities in Minnesota cannot opt-out after the new law, although they can control operational hours and locations to a certain extent. Still, when you’ve submitted your license application to the office, the agency will send a copy to the municipality for affirmation that you are compliant with local zoning, as well as fire and building codes.

So, be sure to do your facility location research well in advance. If you are unsure of the best location, reach out to our Minnesota cannabis business consultants.

Next, seek letters of support from appropriate local authorities and community organizations.

Step 9: Garner local support

Showing proof of local support will make your application stick out from the multitude and help you win a license. Do your best to obtain a letter of support from the municipality and any local organizations.

Enlist our Minnesota cannabis business consultants for building local connections in your prospective location. Also, we can guide the technical writing of your application from start to finish.

Step 10: Write and submit an application with our Minnesota Marijuana Business Consultants

Finally, you can begin writing and compiling portions of your Minnesota cannabis license application. Above, we listed some of the sections of the application that you will have to submit. Also, here we have detailed the sections that are priority scored.

In addition, you will need to include your:

  • applicant information, including:
    • name, address, date(s) of birth of applicant(s),
    • disclosure of ownership and control,
    • bankruptcy filing history for any officer, director, manager, and general partner of the applicant business,
    • diagram of premises including security,
    • address and legal property description of the business, and
    • proof of trade name registration.
  • security plan,
  • business plan,
  • social equity plan,
  • environmental plan, and
  • more.

Another key point, the office will score your application based on merit and compliance. You can easily end up writing hundreds of pages of technical narratives.

Lastly, allow our Minnesota cannabis business consultants to write your application for you. We have one of the highest success rates in the industry for winning licenses (90.12%). We thrive in extremely competitive markets, which will certainly be the case for adult-use cannabis business licenses in Minnesota.

Contact our consulting firm in Minnesota for more information about our cannabis license application services.

Summary from our Minnesota Cannabis Business Consultants

Lastly, if you want to open a cannabis business in Minnesota, understand that you will be competing against multi-state operators as well as cannabis and legal experts who will vie fiercely for these limited licensing opportunities.

Our Minnesota cannabis business consultants are highly experienced at winning cannabis licenses in extremely competitive markets, such as Minnesota’s adult-use license market. We have a track record to prove it, as shown in this video. Save yourself some time and money and engage our services.

The last thing you want to do is compromise your chance of winning an adult-use cannabis license in Minnesota. In conclusion, save yourself time and money, and reach out to the cannabis consultants at Quantum 9 for a free consultation.

Additional Information from our Minnesota Marijuana Business Consultants

Below is supplemental information that our Minnesota cannabis business consultants included for your reference.

Municipal submissions

Basically, no requirement exists for a separate municipal submission.

However, upon receipt of your completed application and fee, the office will forward the copy to the municipality where your business intends to operate. The municipality will then send the office a form of certification of compliance with local zoning ordinance, and compliance with state fire code and building code. So, make sure you’ve chosen the correct facility location and are in compliance.

Within 90 days of receipt of a completed application, the office will issue the appropriate license or send notice of rejections with specific reasons for nonapproval.

Expungable under the law

Bills HF100 and SF73 call for expungement of criminal records for people previously convicted of low-level cannabis offenses, as well as proactively eliminating criminal penalties for cannabis possession.

Tax rate imposed on cannabis

The state will impose a tax equal to eight percent (8%) of gross receipts​ from retail and on-site sales in Minnesota of

  • adult-use cannabis flower,
  • adult-use cannabinoid​ products,
  • adult-use cannabis solution products, and
  • lower potency edible products.

The 8% tax rate is one of the lowest in the country for adult-use cannabis. The reason for this is that Minnesota intends that the new program will encourage people to take part from different levels of wealth and investment, but perhaps more importantly – to discourage the illegal market at much as possible by keeping the legal prices low.

Additional Resources from our Minnesota cannabis business consultants

Below are some additional links and resources that our Minnesota marijuana business sonsultants recommend for your review:

Ownership Limitations

Ownership limitations exist for several different license types. For example, a person, cooperative, or business holding a​ cannabis testing facility license may not own or operate, or be employed by, any other​ cannabis business.​ In addition, the office may limit the number of testing facility licenses a person or business may hold.

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