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Moorhead City Council tackles licensing fees for edible THC products

Moorhead City Council approved the first reading of the proposed ordinance, which outlines the city's regulation of the sale of edible THC products, before a lengthy debate around the price of licensing fees.

102522.N.FF.EDIBLES
A seltzer and jars of gummies containing THC are displayed for sale on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, at Your CBD Store in Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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MOORHEAD — The licensing fee in Moorhead to sell edible cannabinoids, specifically hemp-derived delta 9 THC products, was raised in the draft of the new city ordinance that gives regulation to establishments selling edibles.

Moorhead City Council on Monday, Oct. 24, approved a first reading of the proposed ordinance, which outlines the city's regulation of the sale of edible THC products, before a lengthy debate around such fees.

Under the ordinance, businesses will have to obtain a permit from the city of Moorhead, similar to liquor and tobacco retailers. The permit will be good for one year.

After a postponement of the first reading back on Oct. 11 , the city looked into how much other municipalities are charging for their cannabinoid licensing fees.

“We did some research with some other cities in Minnesota… the fees range anywhere from $180 to $10,700 dollars,” said Mike Rietz, assistant city manager.

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The original draft listed a $125 license fee, similar to a tobacco license. Moorhead's liquor license on the other hand costs $6,000.

An A-frame chalkboard sign reads "New Minnesota compliant Delta-9 THC edibles. Ask us for more details"
A sign displaying the new Delta-9 THC edibles available at Northland Vapor is on display in the store’s entryway on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Moorhead.
Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

Council member Matthew Gilbertson motioned to have the fee changed to $2,000, but was overturned following a majority council vote of 4-3 to amend the motion to a $750 fee.

Deb White, the council member who led the amendment, said the value was the median fee from all the cities that Moorhead consulted.

Matt Yde, owner of Your CBD Store, said he doesn't mind a permit, it just comes down to how much the licensing fee will cost. He didn't want the fee to be excessive, noting that at the end of the day he runs a CBD store and doesn't want his THC-limited products treated like marijuana.

Yde also hoped that fees from the permit would be used for work the city does within the industry.

Two members of the public called for a ban on all flavored edible products, mentioning the ban on flavored tobacco products in Moorhead as precedent.

Janine Hanson also called for the licensing fee to be upwards of $2,000 dollars.

The council expressed its desire for the fee to cover all costs associated with issuing a permit, including required background and compliance checks.

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“The fee needs to reflect potential and actual costs that the city is going to incur,” said Steve Lindaas, council member.

Council member Larry Seljevold wanted to know how much Moorhead could anticipate as far as the costs associated with the permit.

“Minnesota statute says we have to justify our fee," Seljevold said.

Moorhead Police Chief Shannon Monroe did not know how much the permit would cost to enforce, but would have a better idea after a year of utilizing the permits.

The city approved the reading behind a 5-2 vote, with council members Shelly Dahlquist and Chuck Hendrickson voting no.

The measure will go before Moorhead City Council for a second reading in November.

If passed, the ordinance could go into effect as early as Nov. 17.

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