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🌲 Exploring the Lake Street weed district

Ahead of Saturday's high holiday, a look at four Lake Street businesses staking their claim in the new market.

Longfellow Whatever
6 min read
🌲 Exploring the Lake Street weed district

It’s been a big two years for weed in Minnesota. 

In 2022 the legislature somewhat slyly legalized hemp-derived THC edibles and drinks, setting off a wave of entrepreneurial experimentation and creating a market unlike anywhere else in the country. In short order, companies sprung up to formulate THC and sprinkle it in everything from popcorn to lip balm. Even the most straightlaced retailers began carrying colorful pouches with far-out brand names. Perhaps most surreally, you can now belly up to the bar and drink a couple THC seltzers with your lunch. 

The scene is poised for even more radical change next year, when when the state plans to begin issuing dispensary licenses to sell regular old marijuana, not just THC derived from hemp.

Ahead of weed culture’s high holiday on Saturday, let’s take an eastward stroll down Lake Street and check out four shops laying their claim in the new market. 

Zen Arcade | 3010 Minnehaha Ave, Suite 420

Zen Arcade co-owner Jesse Brodd

It wouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who's been to a show at the Hook and Ladder Theater that an affiliated cannabis shop would open up in the back of the building. The music venue in the former Patrick's Cabaret space at Lake and Minnehaha puts on a diverse calendar of music, but hippy-stoner is certainly a central thread.

Zen Arcade opened last year as a "rock & roll cannabis lounge," conceived of by three of the Hook's founders as something like what bars are for alcohol, but for THC. And, even though it turns out the current haphazard rules only allow venues with a liquor license to sell THC for on-site consumption, it provides both an extensive retail shop and a comfortable place to lounge afterward, including an actual arcade component (a two-person console stocked with vintage video games), an array of soft seating, and a record player open for guests to commandeer.