Minnesota is now “Minne-stona” thanks to a new state law legalizing THC edibles and drinks.
The new law, which took effect Friday, allows adults 21 and older to buy cannabis consumables containing a limited amount of THC, the ingredient that makes the “wacky weed,” well, wacky.
Under the law, pot edibles and bud-enhanced beverages can contain up to to 5 milligrams of THC per serving ― about half the standard dose found in recreational marijuana products in other states, according to The Associated Press. Each package is limited to a total of 50 milligrams.
Although the law requires that the new THC products be derived from legally certified hemp and not marijuana, attorney Jason Tarasek, founder of the Minnesota Cannabis Law firm and a board member of the Minnesota Cannabis Association, told the Star-Tribune that 5 milligrams produces the same effect whether it’s derived from hemp or marijuana.
“This stuff will get you high, no doubt about it,” Tarasek said. “Everybody’s calling it hemp-derived THC, which makes it sound like something other than marijuana. But I went on social media and I called it adult-use marijuana, because that’s what most people are going to consider this to be.”
Many of Minnesota’s marijuana advocates were frankly surprised the bill was passed in the state’s Republican-controlled Senate.
It’s unclear if state Senate leaders fully realized the law would legalize Delta 9 THC edibles before they agreed to pass it.
Sen. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) admitted to the Star-Tribune that he thought the new law would regulate only Delta 8 THC products and didn’t realize the new law would legalize edibles with any type of THC.
Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC are both cannabinoids found in cannabis, but Delta 9 is more common and easier to extract, according to DiscoverMagazine.com. While Delta 9 is more potent, it also has more side effects, including mental fog. Delta 8 reportedly tends to just relax people.
“I thought we were doing a technical fix, and it winded up having a broader impact than I expected,” Abeler said.
He seemed surprised after the amendment passed on a unanimous voice vote, saying, “That doesn’t legalize marijuana — we didn’t just do that,” according to the Minnesota Reformer, which noted he laughed after saying that.
“Oh, are you kidding?” responded Rep. Tina Liebling (D-Rochester), according to the Reformer. “Of course you have. No, just kidding. We’ll do that next, OK?”
But they didn’t need to ― the bill did legalize pot.
Now Abeler hopes the new law can be rolled back, but that’s highly unlikely considering Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and the Democratic-controlled House support the legalization of recreational marijuana.
In fact, Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) laughed off Abeler’s suggestion as “ridiculous.”
Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) said the new law would regulate the state’s budding cannabis industry and enact safeguards but didn’t say whether the Senate intended for the law to allow new THC products into the market.
Star-Tribune reporter Ryan Faircloth said on Twitter that the two politicians’ statements suggested that the law’s passage was unintentional.
Some of Minnesota’s Democratic politicians laughed at their Republican colleagues’ probable mistake.