Growing Cannabis in Minnesota: Your Ticket to Business Success

So You Want To Grow Cannabis In Minnesota?

While there’s no golden ticket to the cannabis industry, the first step for starting a cannabis business in a new state is to determine the license type you are applying for. Minnesota’s cannabis market is no exception.

If you’ve narrowed your plans on growing or cultivation as your chosen business type, this simple decision is more complex than it seems when it comes to Minnesota’s creative new cannabis license types. In this post, we’ll focus only on the license options that include a component of cultivation.

Minnesota Is Innovating Cannabis Cultivation Licenses

Most cannabis-legal states limit your cultivation choices to segments of tiers based on canopy square footage and occasionally allow for a single variety of vertical license. In Minnesota, several license types will be available that permit cultivation of some kind: 

  1. Cannabis Cultivator
  2. Cannabis Microbusiness
  3. Cannabis Mezzobusiness
  4. Medical Cannabis Cultivator


Cannabis Cultivator License

These four cultivation-related licenses are differentiated mainly by their canopy square footage. While the cannabis cultivator doesn’t have the full operational options of a microbusiness or mezzobusiness, the cultivator-only licensees can cultivate up to 30,000 square feet of plant canopy indoor and up to two acres outdoor. A cannabis cultivator licensee may also hold a cannabis manufacturing license, medical cannabis cultivator license, medical cannabis producer license, license to grow industrial hemp, and cannabis event organizer license.

Microbusiness Cannabis License

For Microbusinesses, cultivation space is limited to 5,000 square feet of plant canopy for an indoor facility. In an outdoor operation, the limit is one-half acre of mature, flowering plants. An added bonus to the micro license is a low application fee of $500 and the ability to manufacture cannabis products, operate one retail location, and allow on-site consumption of edible cannabis products and lower-potency hemp edibles on a portion of its premises.

Note: Don’t confuse this with the New Jersey “Microbusiness,” which is merely a way to denote a smaller version of retail, manufacturing, or cultivation operations, or the New York “microbusiness,” which is also a vertical operation, though one that cannot allow on-site consumption of edibles and can deliver and distribute cannabis products.

Mezzobusiness Cannabis License

For Cannabis Mezzobusinesses, the flowering canopy is limited to 15,000 square feet for indoor and one acre of outdoor. The mezzobusiness also has the option to make concentrate and manufacture cannabis products but cannot allow on-site edible consumption. The most striking feature of the Mezzobusiness is that it can operate up to three (3) retail locations!

Medical Cannabis Cultivator License

For hopeful Medical Cannabis Cultivators, it’s unclear if dual licensing will be available in the near future or if medical licenses will be an aspect of the upcoming licensing round at all. The statute suggests that medical involvement may be beneficial on the application as a way to foster the medical cannabis program and invigorate it in a time when medical programs usually wane. 

Everything You’ll Need to be Successful as a Minnesota Cultivator

Along with all other application and regulatory requirements, any business licensed to cultivate cannabis must prepare, maintain, and execute an operating plan and a cultivation plan, which complies with the rules and contains information covering topics such as record-keeping, inputs, water usage, recycling, waste disposal, and pest management.

Cultivator applicants will additionally need to provide the proposed size and layout of the cultivation facility, plans for utility usage, and plans for compliance with applicable building code and federal and state environmental and workplace safety requirements. Additionally, the statute leaves the door open for the OCM to later increase the canopy square footage limits for all cultivation licenses.

Cannabis licensing is complex, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re looking to enter the Minnesota cannabis market, our best advice is to:

  1. Evaluate your team’s capabilities and interest according to licenses available
  2. Sketch out business plan and financial projections for your selected license type
  3. Consult with your advisors to put yourself in the best place for licensure

Take Your First Steps in The Licensing Process with Canna Advisors

Whether you’re in the beginning stages of this process or ready to build your Minnesota cannabis business right now, Canna Advisors can guide you through the necessary development and license license application steps.


Contact our team of cannabis licensing experts to find out how to stay ahead of the competition.

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