THC alcohol now legal in North Mankato

July 5, 2023 · The Free Press

Bars and off-sale liquor stores in North Mankato will now be able to sell alcohol infused with THC or CBD after the City Council Monday night revised its ordinance that had banned it.

CBD and THC are the ingredients in marijuana that make people feel high. The ingredients were made legal for sale to adults during the 2022 legislative session.

Cities and counties across the state have been struggling with new cannabis-related laws. Last year the Legislature made it legal for adults to purchase products that contain THC derived from hemp. Some cities, including North Mankato, barred things like THC infused alcoholic drinks from being sold in liquor stores or bars in the city. But Mankato allowed the THC alcohol drinks.

At a previous meeting Councilman Billy Steiner suggested the city change its ordinance to allow THC in alcohol to match Mankato’s rules.

The change was approved by three council members — Steiner, Jim Whitlock and Matt Peterson. Mayor Scott Carlson voted no and Sandra Oachs, who is co-owner of a bar in North Mankato, abstained from voting.

Now, with the state this year legalizing recreational marijuana sales and use, cities and counties are scrambling to develop regulations that are allowed by the state.

This year’s legal pot law put most all regulation and enforcement power in the hands of a new Office of Cannabis Management, leaving cities and counties unable to ban cannabis sales locally and limiting most other actions to regulate sales.

Beginning Aug. 1, people will be able to grow a limited number of pot plants legally and allow people who grow at home to use what they grow and give some away but they can’t sell it.

People who want to sell marijuana legally will have to get a license from the state.

But the state agency that is to regulate marijuana, THC and CBD products is just beginning to be created and it’s expected to take up to 18 months before the agency is staffed and has created rules and regulations.

That means cities and counties are in a bit of a limbo while they wait until the end of next year for the state to have an operating Office of Cannabis Management.

Many local governments have or are adopting interim ordinances that place a temporary moratorium on most commercial cannabis activities. The moratoriums aim to give local governments more time to understand what ordinances they can and may want to adopt.

Mankato and North Mankato have such temporary moratoriums and Blue Earth County staff is asking the county board to establish a temporary moratorium to allow staff an opportunity to review the recent legislation and craft language for a permanent ordinance.

Those temporary moratoriums are in place through the end of 2024.

Local governments are slated to get some of the tax revenue placed on the sale of cannabis products. The state placed a 10% sales tax on sales, with local governments getting 10% of that. (Full Story)

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