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In Minnesota, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians tribe is taking an innovative approach to the cannabis business by planning to open a mobile dispensary, essentially a cannabis “food truck”.

This venture will allow them to travel and conduct business on tribal land throughout the state. The tribe, which currently operates one of the state’s only adult-use marijuana shops, is serving approximately 300 customers daily at their flagship location in Red Lake. Some customers are even driving for hours to reach this northern Minnesota town.

The tribe’s NativeCare retailer aims to expand its operation and reach more markets by becoming mobile, setting up shop anywhere on tribal territory. Tribal Secretary Samuel Strong expressed his excitement about the venture and the community’s response. He acknowledged potential security concerns but emphasized the benefits of mobility and increased availability to consumers. Minnesota’s cannabis landscape is unique, with tribes permitted to open marijuana businesses before the state licenses traditional retailers.

Adults have been legally allowed to possess and cultivate marijuana since August 1, but the process of enacting regulations and licensing traditional retailers is expected to take at least another year. In the meantime, the marijuana food truck could help meet demand from people who aren’t able to travel to Red Falls, a 3-4 hour commute from most major cities. NativeCare, which experienced an “overwhelming” opening day that led them to turn away customers and suspend online purchases, is also planning to open two more shops in addition to the mobile service. The tribal secretary believes that these initiatives are changing perceptions and building bridges, with cannabis playing a significant role in this process. In related news, the White Earth Nation tribe has also launched an adult-use cannabis shop after its governing council voted to authorize marijuana sales last month. Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has expressed interest in joining the cannabis industry, aiming to become the “first major politician in America” to have his face on a marijuana brand. Minnesota’s legalization law has led to the creation of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), the primary regulatory body overseeing the market. The state is currently seeking an executive director for the OCM, with an announcement expected in early September. Additionally, the Cannabis Expungement Board has been established to facilitate record sealing for people with eligible marijuana convictions on their records. The state has also launched a website serving as an information hub about the new law and has begun soliciting vendors to help build a licensing system for recreational marijuana businesses. The governor has been supportive of the legalization measure, criticizing Republicans who’ve asked for a special session to address perceived “loopholes” in the law concerning youth possession and public consumption. In a separate development, a new law legalizing drug paraphernalia possession, syringe services, controlled substances residue, and testing took effect this month. Furthermore, a government psychedelics task force is being established to prepare the state for the possible legalization of substances like psilocybin and ibogaine.

By John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.