A number of Minnesota cities are temporarily banning THC edibles following the new law that went into effect earlier this month.
Over the past week, St. Joseph in central Minnesota and Marshall in western Minnesota approved moratoria that stop the manufacture and sale of hemp-derived edibles. Stillwater officials put a one-year moratorium in place last November — long before lawmakers crafted the new law — to try to be ahead of the state when it legalized marijuana. for recreational purposes. And two other towns – Waite Park and Prior Lake – are also considering moratoriums.
“We’re not saying, ‘We hate weed,'” said Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski. “We’re just trying to be smart about it.”
The temporary bans are meant to give city staff time to research the problem and write ordinances that regulate the manufacture and sale of edibles. The new law allows Minnesotans 21 and older to purchase edibles and beverages containing small amounts of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plant.
“Honestly, it caught a lot of us off guard,” said Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud. “We really didn’t see it coming or have any opinion on anything before it happened.”
On Monday, Waite Park City Council considered approving a moratorium, but instead decided to put the discussion on hold to wait to see how other towns in the St. Cloud area handle the regulations.
“I totally believe it’s a – I’ll use my own words – an evil that’s coming,” Waite Park Mayor Rick Miller said of recreational marijuana. “But I also think I think it’s a perfect example of where the six cities should come together, and, if they take an ordinance, they should all mirror each other.”
St. Joseph Mayor Rick Schultz told city staff Monday that he doesn’t want to ban the products for an entire year, until city staff can meet with nearby towns and draft a statement. prescription that works for the St. Cloud area.
Therese Haffner, St. Joseph’s city administrator, said she anticipated it would only take a few months to present a draft ordinance to council, but wanted to get it right the first time.
“The state passed this without really looking at it carefully, so I think we’re going to see changes from the state as well,” Haffner said. “If we rush to pass an order now, then we could change it four times before the end of a year.”
Several city councils in the St. Cloud area are scheduled to meet on July 25. St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis said the city isn’t considering a moratorium on THC products, but is working with the League of Minnesota Cities to draft an ordinance regulating sales, similar to its product ordinance. tobacco.
This month, staff from The League, a membership association serving more than 800 cities with advocacy and policy development, worked feverishly with state agencies to research the law and help cities regulate new products.
The law dictates several regulations, including requirements that products cannot resemble commercial food products or be modeled after brands primarily marketed to children. Edibles cannot exceed 5mg of THC in a single serving or more than 50mg per package.
“Some of the things that we initially [heard] was that it was the Wild West or a free-for-all or something – it’s not,” said League General Counsel Pat Beety. “We have a state law that contains certain parameters and good things in it.”
According to the League, cities are able to regulate where edibles can be made or sold, the age of the person selling the products, where the products can be located in a retail establishment, whether pop-up sales are authorized and if there is a minimum distance between businesses and schools, parks and residential areas.
The Marshall City Council has implemented a one-year moratorium on the sale of THC products using an emergency ordinance. In Stillwater, which is still under the one-year moratorium passed in November, officials plan to vote on a new ordinance in a month or two.
Prior Lake City Council members asked staff on Monday to draft a one-year moratorium on THC products, with plans to vote on the moratorium on August 1, according to Prior Lake Mayor Kirt Briggs.
Prior Lake City Council previously voted to ban the sale of flavored vapes, except for tobacco and menthol. Briggs said it would be up to the board to decide whether it wanted to consider banning the sale of TCH products.
The League’s guidelines state that state law is unclear whether a city can completely ban the sale of edible cannabinoids, but states that a city could possibly propose a ban under its authority to ensure the health and safety of well-being of his community – the same reasoning used when banning flavored tobacco products.
“I appreciate this law giving a local voice,” Briggs said. “The availability of these products should be left to the cities.”