WILLMAR — When the state of Minnesota legalized the sale and purchase of hemp-derived THC edibles, it caught many lawmakers, as well as local municipalities, off guard — no one seemed to expect it. , including the town of Willmar.
In an effort to put something in place to regulate the sale and purchase of these THC products, Willmar City Council on Monday passed an emergency ordinance temporarily regulating the sale of THC cannabinoid products in the town. The ordinance went into effect Tuesday at 1 a.m.
Legislation passed by the state allows the sale of edible or consumable products containing no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC, if derived from legally certified hemp. THC is a psychoactive compound that produces an intoxicating effect, whether derived from hemp or marijuana.
Delta-9 THC is the main cannabinoid that causes intoxication. Delta-8 THC, which is significantly less intoxicating, has been legal in Minnesota since 2018.
Presenting the order, City Attorney Robert Scott said, “This section is in response to a recent change in state law that went into effect July 1. You can see from the cover of this that it was a bit of a surprise to a lot of people. that it was included in the legislation to be passed and that it came into force so quickly.
Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin echoed Scott’s thoughts, adding more context.
“I was in a meeting last Wednesday with the mayors of Minnesota together and this issue was brought to our attention,” he said, noting that he had asked city staff to begin drafting the ordinance. emergency at that time. “Rep (Dave) Baker spoke on the radio about how difficult it was for him, because of his opposition to addictive types of products and basically they had no idea it was even in the bill. excuse anyone for not reading the bill and voting on something they did not read.
New state law states that edibles or consumables containing less than 0.3 percent hemp-derived THC are now legal and no longer defined as a controlled substance, according to Scott. These products may be legally sold to Minnesota adults age 21 and older.
“State law had certain requirements for the packaging of these products, but did not otherwise regulate who could sell them, where they could be sold,” Scott told the board. “It appears that state law has given cities the ability to establish these regulations if they wish. Many cities are considering this right now and taking a variety of approaches. »
He noted that the emergency ordinance will streamline and speed up the process of bringing the regulations into effect in the city, as it does not need to be presented for a public hearing – the council only has to approve it by a vote of six and the order will be in effect for up to 60 days.
“The idea of this approach is to put in place baseline requirements that regulate how these products might be sold until we can write a more specific and thoughtful licensing program,” Scott said.
“The primary public safety and public health concern that this order addresses would be that these products are not yet legal for minors, or essentially anyone under the age of 21, and have not been deemed safe for the children. So this ordinance would place some basic parameters, basic requirements on how these supplies can be sold in the city, but would not make the sale illegal. This would mean that any company engaged in the sale of these products must meet certain requirements. »
Councilman Michael O’Brien told council he had seen a business with a sign saying it was selling THC legally and asked if that was possible. Scott clarified that as long as an edible contains less than 0.3% THC, it is now legal in Minnesota.
One of the requirements of the new city ordinance is a fixed location. Word of someone selling products from a tent was discussed on Monday.
“Did we have to arrest someone selling a tent? I understand it was a temporary tent that was set up,” said Councilwoman Julie Asmus.
Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt told council that no tickets or arrests had been made, but the police department was aware of some social media posts by someone claiming to sell THC products. from a tent.
Councilor Audrey Nelsen said she also saw the tent pitched.
City administrator Leslie Valiant noted that if there was a tent set up to sell the produce, it was not allowed, as the city requires.
The city’s director of planning and development, Judge Walker, confirmed what Valiant had said, adding that building officials issue permits to people doing business from a tent or temporary site. , and none have been issued for the sale of THC products.
Regulations in the Municipal THC Ordinance
The emergency order, which took effect at 1 a.m. on Tuesday July 19, will only be in effect for up to 60 days. The ordinance outlines guidelines for the sale of specific THC products in the town of Willmar.
- Any entity that elects to sell products containing THC in the Town of Willmar must provide the City Clerk with written notice identifying the person or entity making the sale of the product(s) and the permanent location of the establishment where such sales can be done.
- Sales may only be made to persons aged 21 or over and products must be stored behind a counter or other area not freely accessible to customers, or in a cash register or other storage unit not left open and accessible to the public. .
- Customers will need to request the THC product(s) from the person or employee of the entity selling it, and the person or employee of the entity will need to physically deliver the product to the customer.
- Sales will not be permitted from mobile or mobile places of business; only fixed-location businesses may engage in the sale of THC product(s).