Marijuana in Minnesota

White Earth Nation to begin recreational marijuana sales Thursday

A small log building
The Waabigwan Mashkiki dispensary opened quietly on Monday to supply medicinal marijuana in Mahnomen on the White Earth Nation. Just days later, it will now begin selling recreational marijuana to tribal members and others.
Mathew Holding Eagle III | MPR News

Recreational marijuana sales will begin in Mahnomen on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota at 10 a.m. Thursday, according to a late afternoon press release from the White Earth Reservation Business Committee.

The White Earth Nation legalized adult-use recreational cannabis just days ago through a council vote Friday afternoon.

The Waabigwan Mashkiki dispensary opened Monday offering medicinal marijuana. Initially tribal officials said it would not begin offering recreational cannabis for about two weeks. The dispensary is open to both tribal and non-tribal members.

Calls for confirmation of the earlier start of recreational sales were not immediately returned, but the dispensary website offers flower and pre-rolls beginning Thursday without a prescription.

Like Red Lake Nation, which opened its dispensary for recreational marijuana Tuesday, White Earth is a sovereign nation and can sell marijuana under its own laws. Off-reservation dispensaries in Minnesota not affiliated with a tribe will have to wait for the state to generate its regulatory system. Those dispensaries are not expected to open for at least a year.

Earlier this week, White Earth Chair Michael Fairbanks told MPR News White Earth may soon enter into agreements with other tribal nations across the state to supply them with cannabis products for retail.

Fairbanks also confirmed that White Earth, along with other tribal nations in Minnesota, are negotiating a compact with the state that would allow tribes to operate dispensaries off- reservation.

State law allows for compacts between the governor and 11 tribal governments around medical cannabis and adult-use recreational cannabis. Tribes may operate their own cannabis operations regardless of whether the state and tribes enter into an agreement.

Sponsors of the state law hoped that negotiations between state and tribal governments will proactively settle any jurisdictional issues and make sure that public safety and health are considered. For the tribes, those agreements could afford certain civil and criminal protections. 

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