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Crookston City Council passes emergency ordinance regulating sale of hemp-derived THC products

The emergency ordinance went into effect on Tuesday, Sept. 27, and requires the Crookston city clerk to be notified before a shop that sells hemp-derived THC products can be opened.

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In this Herald photo from August, John Reitmeier, one of the owners of the recently opened Canna Corners in Crookston, holds one of the hemp-derived THC edibles that are now legal to sell in Minnesota as of July 1.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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CROOKSTON – Sellers of edible products containing hemp-derived THC – the chemical in cannabis that can cause a high – will have to notify the city before opening a shop here after the Crookston City Council on Monday enacted an emergency ordinance to regulate the sale of edible cannabinoid products.

The ordinance comes after a store selling hemp-derived THC, called Canna Corners, quietly opened in Crookston under a new Minnesota law in August, leaving city leaders scrambling to decide whether to allow the sale of hemp-derived THC products in Crookston and how to regulate the new industry.

The emergency ordinance, passed unanimously by the council during Monday's meeting went into effect on Tuesday, Sept. 27, and requires the Crookston city clerk to be notified of the identity of the seller and the location of business before a shop that sells hemp-derived THC products can be opened. It bans the sale of edible cannabinoid products from a movable place of business.

“Our thought behind this was, certainly consistent with our state Legislature, these kinds of products are allowable, but we want to know where they are,” said Charles “Corky” Reynolds, city administrator. “We don’t want a pop-up, we don’t want a kiosk.”

The ordinance also requires all edible cannabinoid products to be stored behind a counter or in an area not accessible by a customer. In all transactions where an edible cannabinoid product is sold, customers have to request the product from the seller.

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The Crookston Police Department will be in charge of conducting spot checks for compliance. Anybody found in violation of the regulations will be guilty of a misdemeanor.

The Minnesota law went into effect on July 1 and allows the sale and consumption of food and beverage products containing small amounts of hemp-derived THC. People aged 21 and older can purchase packages of products containing up to 50 milligrams of hemp-derived THC in 5-milligram servings. Hemp is considered cannabis that contains 0.3% or less THC by dry weight.

While the state law includes regulations for the sale of hemp-derived THC products, it does not provide a provision on how compliance to these regulations would be monitored or enforced, leaving the task to individual city and county governments.

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Epitome Energy had planned to build the plant in Crookston since January 2019. The company was undergoing the permitting process through the state of Minnesota.

At its Aug. 12 meeting, the Crookston City Council discussed the possibility of enacting a moratorium on the sale of hemp-derived cannabis products, which would ban the sale of hemp-derived cannabis products in Crookston for a year while the city created a permanent ordinance governing sale. Council members instead voted 7-1 to allow for the sale of hemp-derived cannabis to continue while Reynolds researched an ordinance.

The emergency ordinance does not include a fee for businesses selling edible cannabinoid products, which is required of businesses in Crookston that sell alcoholic beverages or tobacco products.

Reynolds urged the council to wait to attach a fee until more guidance from the Legislature is available so the council can have a “rational basis” for a fee amount. Council member Dylane Klatt argued that because the Crookston Police Department is responsible for conducting checks, businesses selling edible cannabinoid products should pay a fee.

“There’s not a rational basis for what they’re doing, so why are they expecting rationale back?” said Klatt. He suggested Crookston set a fee and set the basis for how much cities charge businesses selling hemp-derived THC products.

Council members ultimately agreed to pass the ordinance without a fee, and to have further discussion at future meetings.

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The emergency ordinance expires once a permanent ordinance regulating the sale of edible cannabinoid products is passed or the 181 days after the adoption of the ordinance, whichever comes first.

Related Topics: MARIJUANACROOKSTON
Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or iharbo@gfherald.com. Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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