5 years of legal marijuana could bring Minn. $300M in revenue, expert says

Cannabis buds on a counter
A budtender, right, shows cannabis buds to a customer at a marijuana dispensary in Desert Hot Springs, Calif.
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images file

Five years of legal recreational marijuana in Minnesota could generate $1.12 billion in sales, $300 million in tax revenue and 20,000 jobs, an industry expert estimates.

MinnPost reports the analysis came from Sal Barnes of the Marijuana Policy Group, who spoke at the CannConMN Symposium, a conference on the impacts of cannabis legalization.

Barnes told the conference that as Minnesota moves toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use, leaders must be careful with the number of licenses they issue. He said Colorado has an effective number of licenses because it makes for a competitive market that isn’t so expensive it drives people to buy cannabis illegally.

“The challenge you’ll see is if you have too many or too few licenses you will encourage the black market,” Barnes said, as MinnPost reports.

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Legalizing marijuana Can Minnesota learn from other states?

Barnes’ remarks come as Minnesota lawmakers plan to make another push for marijuana legalization in next year’s legislative session. Gov. Tim Walz has told state agencies to prepare for legalization if a bill comes to his desk.

“We will have everything ready to go, and we will be able to implement it in Minnesota the minute the Legislature moves this,” Walz said in August.

Some legalization opponents recently seized on the recent rash of severe lung injuries tied to vaping as reason to slow any recreational cannabis bills. Many of the injuries have been tied to vape cartridges containing THC, the high-producing compound in marijuana.

However, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, denied the claim, saying a legal marketplace would have public health goals and inform people what’s in their products.

“What we’re trying to do with cannabis is create a responsible, well-regulated marketplace,” he said.

A state Senate committee shot down a legal marijuana bill last session.