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Minnesota cities press pause on hemp THC edibles

In response to newly legal hemp THC edibles, a handful of Minnesota cities have placed temporary bans on production and sales.

These include:

St. Joseph, central Minnesota near St. Cloud

Marshall, western Minnesota

Stillwater, eastern Minnesota

Robbinsdale, a suburb of Minneapolis

The cities of Waite Park and Prior Lake are also considering moratoriums, reports the Star Tribune.

The temporary bans are meant to pause production and sales of THC edibles and drinks while the cities draft local regulations.

At the state level, the rules for THC edibles are similar to tobacco: legal for adults 21 and up, with additional standards to ensure products are safe and not marketed to kids.

But the state left the details of licensing, zoning, and additional regulations to each municipality, according to the League of Minnesota Cities. Cities can choose to regulate where edibles are made or sold, which businesses can sell them, and the age of the person selling the products.

City officials’ stances on recreational cannabis range from neutral to foreboding, but so far it doesn’t appear that any are looking to ban hemp THC completely.

City officials’ stances on recreational cannabis range from neutral to foreboding, but so far it doesn’t appear that any are looking to ban hemp THC completely.

Robbinsdale Mayor Bill Blonigan told Fox 9 News that city officials will draft rules for where hemp stores are allowed, but said legalization “is something the public wants.”

Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski took a similar stance. “We're not saying, ‘We hate weed,’” he told the Star Tribune. “We're just trying to be smart about it.”

Stillwater’s yearlong moratorium started last November, when the city pressed pause on allowing new CBD shops. The proposal also included language preventing existing CBD shops from selling recreational THC if it became legal in the state.

In Waite Park, the police chief said they needed time to respond and adjust to the new law: "It quite honestly caught a lot of us off guard,” he told the Tribune. “We really didn't see it coming or have input on anything before it came along.”

But the city’s mayor was a bit more skeptical about the statewide rule change.

"I do believe totally that this is an — I'm going to use my own words — evil that's going to come," Mayor Rick Miller told the Tribune. "But I also believe that I think this is a perfect example of where the six cities should get together, and, if they do an ordinance, they should all be mirrored."

Can Minnesota Cities Impose Permanent Bans?

That’s unclear, according to the League of Minnesota Cities.

“Can they outright ban it? I don’t know,” Patricia Beety, general counsel for the League of Minnesota Cities, told Fox 9 News. “That’s an open question in the law. I don’t hear cities contemplating that right now.”

Beety said right now cities are using moratoriums as a tool to study the implications for their community, and decide whether and how to regulate.

The League noted that the new law didn’t include an explicit option to opt out, hence the lack of clarity.

“Without a clear opt-out option, the question as to whether a city could completely prohibit the sale of edible cannabinoids is an open question,” the League wrote. “… If a city were to attempt to prohibit edible cannabinoids under this authority, it would need to work with its city attorney to develop findings that clearly show the dangers of edible cannabinoids products and the need to prohibit the products.”

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