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Moorhead City Council passes ordinance related to edible THC products

The ordinance states that sellers of THC products must pay a licensing fee of $750 a year. In addition, on-sale liquor license holders and restaurants are allowed to purchase a license.

102522.N.FF.EDIBLES
A seltzer and jars of gummies containing THC are displayed for sale Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, at Your CBD Store-Moorhead, 3234 Highway 10 East.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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MOORHEAD — Moorhead City Council on Monday, Nov. 14, passed a city ordinance related to the sale of edible cannabinoid products that contain THC.

Council member Shelly Dahlqquist gave the lone dissenting vote on Monday.

Sellers of THC products must pay a licensing fee of $750 a year, according to the ordinance. On-sale liquor license holders and restaurants are also allowed to purchase a license.

Dahlquist wanted to know what penalties would be given to people who sell edible THC products out of their homes, suggesting the city simply confiscate the products in question and leave it at that.

She added that cannabis-related penalties have historically targeted lower-income people and minorities.

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City Manager Dan Mahli said the ordinance covers licensing and land use. "It does not get into the criminal provisions," he said.

City Attorney John Shockley said selling edible THC products out of a home is not permitted under the ordinance, noting such action would constitute a zoning violation.

In that case, a person would be given notice and 30 days to correct the violation. If no action is taken, a fine of up to $100 per day, along with confiscation of the product would occur, Shockley said.

Council Member Larry Seljevold pushed the council to lower the licensing fee to $200 dollars, and was opposed to restaurants being allowed to sell THC edibles.

“We’re going to be asking restaurant staff to be police,” Seljevold said. Under the ordinance customers can purchase edibles from restaurants but cannot consume them on the premises.

Seljevold said it was unfair to the establishment's staff who would have to control what customers consume.

Seljevold didn't think the city's expenses would justify the higher licensing fee figure as required by Minnesota statute . An off-sale liquor license, for example, costs $200, compared to the $750 figure for cannibinoids. The city is largely only responsible for ensuring that customers are over 21 years of age, Seljevold said.

Council member Steve Lindaas said the situation has a lot of unknowns and also thought the licensing fee should be lowered.

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The dollar figure behind the fee was already a compromise, according to Council member Deb White, who agreed with the $750 amount.

Originally set at $125, council members at their last meeting discussed raising the fee to $2,000 based on statewide averages for this type of cost. The group ultimately amended it to $750.

Council members and city staff said they'd like to revisit the ordinance in six months.

Shockley, calling this a step-by-step approach, suggested the city explore the criminal aspect of the subject next year.

Moorhead City Clerk Christina Rust is currently finalizing the application that businesses will use to obtain the new license, according to Mahli.

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