The Prior Lake City Council has unanimously approved a year-long moratorium within the city on the sale of products with THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), a cannabis found in hemp.
City leaders said the temporary ban, approved Aug. 1, will give them time to figure out how to regulate marijuana products that became legal under a bill passed by the Legislature.
The new law that went into affect July 1 legalized the sale of certain edibles and beverages infused with THC.
The new provision allows people 21 years of age and older to buy edible products and beverages that contain up to 5 milligrams of THC per serving — about half the dose found in recreational cannabis products sold in other states. The law requires the THC products to be derived from hemp and limited to 50 milligrams per packages.
“We reviewed this item with the city council in a work session on July 18 to discuss a potential moratorium to allow some time for staff to study this,” City Administrator Jason Wedel said.
He said that because there are currently no guidelines on regulating THC, city staff need time to figure out how to monitor it.
“CBD products were already on the market for the past several years and there was no monitoring how much THC was in those CBD products,” Wedel said. “Currently, there are no guidelines or regulations that dictate how this product is sold, who can sell it, what stores can sell it, where can they be located etc.”
He added: “If we’re going to treat it like alcohol and tobacco, we would require the establishment to get a license from the city. They then would be subject to background checks and subject to random inspections to make sure they’re not selling to minors. None of those protections today are in place.”
Councilors Annette Thompson and Kevin Burkart said they had some concerns with the new provision, saying they have seen several problems in other states that have legalized THC and said they would like to see it overturned when legislature convenes again.
Wedel said the maximum amount of time a city can declare a moratorium is 12 months. However, he said the council does not need to take the full 12 months to work through the process.
Mayor Kirt Briggs said he supports a moratorium to allow city staff time to compile regulations until the Legislature fills in some holes he said are missing.
“As the city undertakes questions of how would we license, what compliance checks would look like, where would we allow for sale, we can undergo those questions ourselves,” said Briggs. “At the same time, when the Legislature returns, I would suggest that we’re going to see some additional direction at the state level.”
According to city officials, Prior Lake is not the only community that has passed a moratorium on the new law. Marshall, Robbinsdale and St. Joseph have done so, as well, and other cities are considering doing the same.