City and county officials continue planning for August 1 legalization of marijuana
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City and county officials continue planning for August 1 legalization of marijuana

As the Aug. 1 legalization of marijuana timeline nears, local officials in Grand Marais are holding meetings and attending conferences to absorb as much information on regulating and enforcing the newly passed law. 

Grand Marais Mayor Tracy Benson recently attended a League of Minnesota conference in late June, where the conversations at the tables focused on how small towns and cities will implement the legalization of marijuana. 

While marijuana will be legal to possess and transport starting Aug. 1, legal sales will not go into effect until Jan. 2025. In addition, starting Aug. 1, individuals can grow up to eight cannabis plants in their residences. 

Benson said the new law authorizes cities to operate a municipal cannabis retail store, providing a unique opportunity for Minnesota cities. The cannabis store has to be a standalone business, separate from a municipal liquor store. 

Following the initial news of the new law, city, and county officials met on June 8 to gather information and discuss a temporary moratorium until further details of the law were discovered. 

“We talked about some of our major concerns,” Benson said. The significant concerns discussed included increasing education for youth at the schools and for health care providers, zoning, ordinances, and licensing. 

The handful of officials, which include City Administrator Mike Roth, County Administrator James Joerke, County Commissioner Dave Mills, Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen, County Attorney Molly Hicken, and Grand Marais Mayor Tracy Benson, plan to meet again before Aug. 1 to go over final details before the legalization takes effect.  

Find the League of Minnesota FAQs about marijuana legalization here

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with Grand Marais Mayor Tracy Benson following the recent city council meeting. The audio from the interview is below.