Red Lake Nation in northwestern Minnesota plans to roll out mobile cannabis dispensary

FILE - Marijuana plants grow at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn., June 17, 2015. At least two tribal nations are expected to open Minnesota’s first recreational marijuana dispensaries in August 2023, as recreational marijuana becomes legal to possess and grow in the state on Tuesday, Aug. 1. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

RED LAKE, Minn. (AP) — The Red Lake Nation in northwestern Minnesota, which opened the state’s first recreational marijuana store this month, now plans to roll out a mobile dispensary.

Minnesota Public Radio reported that the dispensary, which will resemble a food truck, will allow the tribe to expand its cannabis business into other markets, but only on tribal lands.

“Obviously, there’s some more security concerns that would be involved with a food truck, but very similar to that concept,” Tribal Secretary Samuel Strong said.

Mobile dispensaries have also popped up in other states, including New York, where authorities have tried to shut them down because that state’s retail licensing system is not yet in place.

The on-reservation NativeCare dispensary saw big crowds when it first opened on Aug. 1, but the long lines have shrunk drastically since then, Strong said. He estimates around 300 customers a day currently visit the dispensary.

Business has been so good they’re now open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. — a number that has long held significance in the cannabis culture and is sometimes used as slang for smoking it.

The White Earth Nation opened its own dispensary a few days after Red Lake, also taking advantage of its tribal sovereignty to enter the market. While recreational marijuana became legal in Minnesota on Aug. 1, off-reservation retailers aren’t expected to open until early 2025 as the state puts a licensing system in place.