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Otter Tail County to consider moratorium on THC products

Public hearing set for Monday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.

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A graph reviewed at the Otter Tail County Board meeting shows the difference in regulations of THC products compared to other products sold in the state.
Screen capture of live meeting
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Otter Tail County – A moratorium on the sale of hemp-derived Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) food and beverages, including products with Delta-9 and Delta-8, is being considered by the Otter Tail County Board.

The purpose of a halt on sales would be to allow the board time to create a road map for licensing, enforcement and other logistics. There was also concern expressed in the draft ordinance regarding a potential threat to the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of the county, “particularly the youth.” The state required those purchasing the product be at least 21 years of age.

A public hearing was set for Monday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Government Services Center, 500 W Fir Ave., Fergus Falls, Minn. The public hearing is for county residents to share opinions and input regarding the issue. It was noted letters already received by the board in support or opposing THC product sales in the county will be submitted for the public hearing. The board emphasized that no decision would be made the night of the public hearing.

If the board passed the moratorium at a regular board meeting, it would be in effect for 12 months, unless terminated before the end date by the county board. The draft document stated, “In the absence of state licensing, cities that establish licensing and rules, sales management controls, checking identifications, enforcement, compliance checks, license fees and address other regulatory issues may, by resolution of the city council, be exempt from this moratorium.”

The board noted other communities had either passed, or are reviewing, a moratorium on THC-derived products, such as Pelican Rapids, Fergus Falls and Perham. Perham City Administrator Jon Smith was contacted via email after the meeting and asked what the city was doing in regard to THC products.

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Smith stated: “We are currently researching and considering an ordinance that would impose guidelines for the sale of products, not a straight-out ban on THC products. We are still doing research and putting together the criteria of what this would look like. We hope to have some discussion, a possible resolution, and draft ready for our committee of the whole on Oct. 26, but we will see how well things come together.”

Masterpiece Alternatives, which sells THC products in Perham was contacted, but no response from the owner was received by the time this article was published.

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The Otter Tail County Board set a public hearing to review a moratorium on the sale of THC-based products in the county.
Screen capture of live meeting

Minnesota’s history with THC derived from hemp

According to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library article, “ Minnesota Issues Resource Guides Cannabis ,” the cannabis plant can either be hemp or marijuana and both contain cannabinoids, such as THC, which is psychoactive, and cannabidiol (CBD), which is non-psychoactive. The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill allowed for industrial hemp to be produced in the U.S., as long as the plant contains less than 0.3 percent THC, the article stated.

The Legislature made changes to Minn. Stat. 151.72 in 2022, allowing the sale of products with THC derived from hemp with higher potency, as of July 1, 2022, as long as the manufacturer adheres to testing and labeling requirements.

“Products must contain no more than 5 milligrams of THC per serving, with a maximum of 50 mg of THC allowed per package,” the article stated.

The ordinance reviewed by Otter Tail County noted that THC is federally classified as a Schedule I drug. Other Schedule I drugs include LSD and heroin. According to the DEA, “Schedule I drugs are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

President Joe Biden recently released a statement on Oct. 6 stating that he directed a review on how cannabis is classified.

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