Minnesota Democrats tout edible THC policy, call for full marijuana legalization – Twin Cities

Days after Minnesota businesses got the green light to start selling cannabis-infused gummies and other food and drink products, Democratic-farmer-labor lawmakers say the new law has helped bolster protections. consumers, but still needed to be amended to help enforce restrictions around edibles.

And given the positive public response over the weekend to the rollout of the sale of products containing servings of up to 5 milligrams of THC, lawmakers said the state should move forward with a broader plan to legalize recreational marijuana for ages 21 and older. older.

“Minnesota strongly supports this change,” House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said Tuesday at a press conference outside Indeed Brewing Co. “It was a step forward. intentional, and it is an opportunity for Minnesota businesses and consumers to gain access to a product that may be safe and is widely available and used today, however, through an illicit market.

The celebratory comments came after a new state law went into effect on July 1 allowing people 21 and older to buy food and drink products containing up to 5 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive part of cannabis. State law states that consumers may purchase packages of hemp-derived THC products, as long as they do not exceed 50 milligrams and are not shaped like people, animals, or fruit, nor may they be modeled on products marketed for children. Producers of commercially available candies and snacks are also prohibited from adding THC to existing products.

Hemp and tobacco stores around the state saw strong demand for the products as soon as they hit shelves. And while companies have been ready to meet demand, some state lawmakers and regulators have said they don’t expect the policy to pave the way for access to licensing of herbal products. of recreational cannabis in the state.

Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said Friday that the legislation was a bipartisan effort to restrict access to delta-8 products for those under 21 and noted that the changes “were absolutely necessary”. Miller on Tuesday criticized Democrats for holding the press conference on THC products rather than discussing the violence in Minneapolis the night before.

“While Senate Republicans focus on making communities safer, Democrats continue to turn a blind eye to violent crime,” Miller said. “Republicans will continue to make public safety a priority by putting more good cops on the streets and holding criminals accountable for their actions.”

Earlier this year, the Senate and House invested hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding for law enforcement initiatives across the state, but they were unable to achieve a deal that could bring them back to St. Paul to approve an additional funding plan.

Other members of Miller’s caucus, meanwhile, seemed unaware of the impact the legislation would have when they voted to approve it. Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, told the Star Tribune he didn’t realize when he voted that the policy would allow additional edibles to be sold in Minnesota. And he said lawmakers should rescind the policy in later sessions.

DFL lawmakers have said the public will not support overturning the policy. But additional enforcement mechanisms should be added to ensure products are sold and consumed safely, they said. They said provisions such as the creation of a cannabis oversight board were not included in the legislation because they would have spurred opposition in the GOP-led Senate.

“Yes, there are going to be issues as to how we enforce this, but I will say this law makes a very clear step of what is legal. And I think it helps the state of Minnesota,” the bill’s author, Rep. Heather Edelson, DFL-Edina, said Tuesday. Edelson said she was working with the League of Minnesota Cities to draft additional guidance on enforcement provisions that she plans to release later in the week.

Edelson said she introduced the legislation to place restrictions on unregulated products containing delta-8, a hemp derivative that can cause highs. She and Winkler said while some lawmakers or state agencies expressed surprise about the law and its changes, hearings around the proposal were open to the public and supporters were clear about their intent to set parameters. clearer for THC and cannabidiol (or CBD) produced as is.

“Sometimes legislation benefits from a lot of publicity, and sometimes legislation benefits from the ability to do the job more quietly,” Winkler said. “We just haven’t spotlighted everyone.”

The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy is set to regulate the production and sale of cannabis-containing products. Last week, the council issued guidelines saying it would not test or approve THC products before they hit the market.

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