Report Says Minnesota Needs at Least 381 Dispensaries, Examines MJ Consumer Habits


Minnesota legalized adult-use cannabis in 2023 and medical cannabis back in 2014, and with the emergence of the pending market comes a new report documenting the cannabis habits among consumers in the state.

While the report primarily looks at consumption and buying habits of Minnesotans, it also notably suggested that the state will need a minimum of 381 cannabis dispensaries across the state. This is because of state law, which requires one dispensary for every 12,500 Minnesotans.

The report details the findings of a project commissioned by the Minnesota Office of Cannabis Management looking to better understand current attitudes of cannabis consumers and demand in the state. Specifically, it pulls from data collected from the June 2023 and Sept. 2023 Regulatory Determinants of Cannabis Outcomes Survey (RDCOS), which is used to gather state-specific data on cannabis-related outcomes and administered on a quarterly basis.

Data collected from 494 participants residing in Minnesota who completed the full survey were included in the sample, and all were past-year cannabis consumers. The percentage of participants residing in each county is “almost perfectly correlated with the percentage of actual Minnesota residents in each county,” so authors suggest that the data is consistent with actual county populations in the state.

Minnesotan Cannabis Usage Habits Examined

The report first looks at consumption frequency among respondents, noting that 83% of qualified participants consumed cannabis at least monthly, with 40% consuming cannabis daily or almost daily. It also notes that 40% of the total sample said they are medical cannabis patients. 

Authors clarify that these figures are “likely no representative of the absolute prevalence of past-month cannabis consumption among past-year consumers in the state, not of medical cannabis participants in the broader cannabis consuming population,” stating that the RDCOS successfully oversampled frequent consumers to provide greater confidence in quantifying total demand.

The report notes that these patterns are consistent with other U.S. states, with individuals in the sample consuming flower and concentrates slightly less (11 days out of the month versus 12 days in the national sample for flower and five days versus six days in the national sample for concentrates). Edibles and vapes were consistent between Minnesota and national data, at seven and eight days out of the month, respectively.

The report also looked at alternative cannabinoid consumption, with more than 50% of the sample reporting the use of at least one alternative cannabinoid over the past month and 68% indicating use of alternative cannabinoids in the past. 

Delta-8 THC was the most popular for past-month use at 32% followed by CBD at 31%. More participants said they used CBD “before, but not in the past month” at 40%, though numbers still remained strong in this category for delta-8 at 33%.

A Closer Look at Obtaining Cannabis in Minnesota

Participants reportedly obtained 24.77 grams of cannabis within the past month across the entire sample, a slightly higher figure than the national average “suggesting a robust market for cannabis-related businesses,” the report says.

Most participants said they obtained cannabis from friends and family (67.6%), followed by adult-use dispensaries (61.3% — though the report notes this likely means lower-potency hemp-based edible retailers given that recreational cannabis dispensaries are not yet up and running). Dealers were the next largest source (53.4%) followed by medical dispensaries (42.7%).

Participants were most likely to report sourcing cannabis from a dealer more than once over the past month compared to the reported frequency of sourcing from other options, with 41% of those purchasing from a dealer reporting going two or more times in the past month. In contrast, 35% of those sourcing from adult-use dispensaries went two or more times, along with 26% of those utilizing medical dispensaries.

“Importantly, these data suggest an overall high prevalence of obtaining cannabis from a dealer, an illicit source, among Minnesota residents, which stands to reason as legal adult-use sources are not fully available,” the report notes.

About 25% of the sample also reported cultivating cannabis at home, with two cannabis plants on average per participant.

Looking Big Picture

Finally, the report looked at broader practices around cannabis consumption, finding that respondents on average traveled 18 minutes each way to purchase cannabis, similar to the national sample. 

Participants in the sample spent a median of $40 on cannabis within the past month, a slightly lower figure than respondents in states with similar adult-use cannabis laws from the national sample (a $75.50 median).

While the report notes that there will be “no less than 381 retail registrations” given the state’s population size, authors state that many local governments may look to have more retail registrations than the minimum so that number may very well be higher when the market finally finds its footing.

“It is impossible at this time to understand the necessary supply of cannabis vs. hemp needed to accommodate total demand without further research,” authors wrote. “Until the adult-use market is launched and sales for both types of outlets can be thoroughly assessed, estimates of adequate product supply and outlets for the adult-use program will likely be inaccurate.”

The full report is available here via KSTP-TV.



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