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The 10 Most Absurd Licenses Required by Minneapolis

In Minneapolis a license is required to sell Christmas trees, operate a jukebox, or hold a "going out of business" sale?

In Minneapolis a license is required to sell Christmas trees, operate a jukebox, or hold a "going out of business" sale?

Minneapolis loves licenses. It offers hundreds of them; the exact number is tough to nail down because there are so many redundancies.

Grocery stores are broken down into 14 different categories, all requiring a different license. That's not counting the nine different licenses available for different classifications of confectioneries, and nine more for meat markets.

See also: Minneapolis Clubs Must Now Provide Free Earplugs

Speaking of markets, there's a different license required for farmers, produce and craft, mini, and flea markets, which are classified separately from antique shops.

Antique shops have seven different categories to register under, and they're considered different from second-hand shops, which must register for either a Class A or Class B license depending on how many transactions are conducted annually.

You get the idea. We combed through the city's 13-page Business Licenses index to pick out the 10 most absurd annual licenses required by the city:

Christmas Tree Dealer $124

Going Out of Business Sale Six(!) different licenses ranging from $36 to $141. Juke Box $52

Nut Vending Machine $5, which is "capped by state statute, Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin or other policy restriction." A regular vending machine license goes for $15. Resin Manufacturer $2,559 Street Photographer $265 per camera

Wholesale Sausage Manufacturer Three different classifications ranging from $186 to $1,472.

Ice Peddler $117, but if you're producing or dealing ice that's a different license that costs $276.

Donation Collection Bin $220, but only $50 for nonprofits.

Special Late Night Food $97, and "must include at least four entrees, sandwiches, or other principal food item."

To its credit, Minneapolis is aware of its business licensing problem and is planning on some kind of revamp soon. From the Star Tribune last Friday:

"As businesses are evolving and trying to innovate ... [there is] a need for our regulation to make sure we're keeping up with that and that we're not hindering good business models from opening and starting," said [City Attorney Susan Segal.]

The city has already held five "listening sessions" with business owners and is beginning to formulate specific proposals for changes. Segal said those are likely to include dropping some of the more than 250 business licenses offered by the city.

Send news tips to Ben Johnson.