State cannabis officials hope the state legislature will consider tweaks to the business licensing process to meet the goal of retail marijuana sales available beginning in early 2025. In a recent informational webinar, interim director of the Office of Cannabis Management Charlene Briner said the fledgling regulatory agency continues to hire staff and build out the infrastructure necessary to oversee the legal cannabis marketplace, including setting up an online application system for prospective business owners to seek licenses. Regulators will begin testing how well it works later this spring.

But when lawmakers return to St. Paul next week for the 2024 legislative session, Briner hopes that they will update the law with modifications "designed to both help us launch successfully and in a timely way, and also to help us effectively regulate over time," she explained in the hour-long meeting late last week.

Among those recommendations is allowing for temporary business licenses, especially for "social equity" applicants, in order to keep the state on schedule for its anticipated market launch in the first quarter of next year. The cannabis management office detailed recommendations in two reports sent to the legislature.

"When I say temporary licenses, I mean early licenses — so as soon as this summer, depending on if the legislature decides to take us up on that," Briner said. She also believes that lawmakers should also remove barriers to getting a license that she characterized as "bottlenecks," like the requirement that Minnesotans secure property for their business before even receiving a license to operate.

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