House Dems on groceries: ‘We absolutely did this on purpose’

know about House Dems on groceries: ‘We absolutely did this on purpose’

House Democrats responsible for legalizing low-dose THC products said Tuesday that the covert approach that apparently caught Republicans by surprise was a necessary tactic to fully legalize marijuana in the future.

“We absolutely did this on purpose. It was an intentional step forward,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, who authored another bill that fully legalized marijuana but failed to gain ground in the U.S.-controlled Senate. Republicans.

The provision was included in a large health and human services bill and legalizes the production and sale of edible products with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The food and beverages can only be sold to people over the age of 21 and with no more than 5 milligrams of THC per serving, about half the dose allowed in other states with legal marijuana, or 50 milligrams per package.

The governor signed it into law in early June, but it went unnoticed by the public until the day before it went into effect on July 1.

“Sometimes legislation benefits from a lot of publicity. Legislation sometimes benefits from being able to get the job done more quietly, but it was all done in the public eye,” Winkler said when asked why Democrats didn’t enact a bill that everyone now celebrates. .

Republicans have responded with surprise and moderate approval.

Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said it has a “broader effect” than he expected. Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said in a statement that he supported “bipartisan legislation” regulating the sale of THC products.

See also  Senate Leader Atkins' Bill to Expand Abortion Services and Reproductive Care Passes Legislature

The law has few restrictions on sale (virtually any store can sell edibles with THC), but it prohibits edibles that look like cartoon characters, animals or fruit so they won’t appeal to children. The products must also come in child-resistant packages.

But there are already problems with THC products that look too much like candy (sold as gummies and chocolates), according to the bill’s author, Rep. Heather Edelson, DFL-Edina.

“I will have more information later this week on how we plan to handle that as a state,” Edelson said during Tuesday’s news conference. “There are going to be some issues in terms of how we enforce this.”

Edelson said she and her fellow lawmakers are working with the League of Minnesota Cities, indicating they will ask local governments to play an active role in regulating THC edibles. The state Legislature is not in session and the governor would have to call a special session to pass any updates to the law.

The Board of Pharmacy, which primarily oversees pharmacists and licensing pharmacies, is tasked with regulating the strength, packaging, and age requirements of new products. That’s a big task for an agency that has fewer than two dozen employees.

The Democrats’ response to any problems with the current law is to vote more of them into office this November, promising to pass full legalization if they control the House, Senate and the governorship.

“The right thing to do is elect Democrats, send us back to St. Paul so we can continue to work on this important issue,” said Rep. Jess Hanson, DFL-Burnsville.

See also  How the lead industry misled the public about its toxic problem for decades

House Democrats, along with activists and a hemp grower, held the press conference outside Indeed Brewing in northeast Minneapolis, which Winkler suggested could profit from selling THC-laced beverages.

The Board of Pharmacy guidance, however, says restaurants and bars cannot add THC to food or beverages for consumption on the spot or to take away. THC also cannot be added to beer or other alcoholic beverages.

Democrats emphasized that the foot-in-the-door legalization bill promotes racial justice, as Black and Indigenous people have been disproportionately arrested and incarcerated for marijuana-related crimes.

The law, however, does nothing to explicitly promote racial equity, such as prioritizing licenses or grants to people from areas targeted by the War on Drugs, though those efforts have largely failed in another part of the country. That means people with capital and relationships with financial lenders and existing THC businesses will likely dominate Minnesota’s legal marijuana market.

Angela Dawson, a black Pine County hemp farmer, said the law isn’t perfect, but it will create more opportunities for people of color.

“We’re working with the scraps they give us, frankly,” Dawson said. “We are going to continue promoting (an) equity agenda. We are going to ask Minnesota to also be an advocate for fairness within this system.”