A top Republican in the Minnesota legislature was apparently surprised this week to discover that they supported legislation that legalized cannabis edibles, the Star Tribune reported.
For years now, residents of Minnesota have been consuming products containing delta-8 THC, a less potent, hemp-derived form of the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana. But that was only by exploiting a gray area in the law, with the popular CBD products found in other states expressly prohibited.
Seeking to better regulate the industry, lawmakers passed a bipartisan reform — signed into law back in May by Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat — legalizing CBD products and regulating delta-8 edibles and beverages. Now, hemp-derived products in the state can contain no more than 5 mg of THC a dose and 50 mg a package.
The law does not specify what form of THC, however. That means products containing the more potent form, delta-9, are now legal.
Some are purporting to be surprised.
“I thought we were doing a technical fix, and it winded up having a broader impact than I expected,” state Sen. Jim Abeler, a Republican who chairs the Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee, said this week, per the Star Tribune. He suggested the legislature could revise the law.
It should not have been a surprise
But Carol M. Moss, an attorney who represents cannabis businesses in the state, told Insider she thinks most lawmakers knew exactly what they were doing.
“This was not an 11th hour, behind closed doors things,” she said, noting that at a House committee hearing in March, lawmakers included the THC caps. “This was all done in the light of day.”
Indeed, another Republican lawmaker, state Sen. Michelle Benson, told the Star-Tribune she knew the law would legalize delta-9 THC — but added that she “did not discuss that specifically” with the Republican leader of the upper chamber, Sen. Jeremy Miller.
Miller did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Moss said it is possible at least some lawmakers were confused, which is why she believes regulation of the cannabis industry would be better handled by a state commission of technocrats more familiar with the science.
“You do have lawmakers who do not necessarily understand what they are trying to regulate, and when they do regulate they’re doing it piecemeal, which always causes problems,” she said.
As for Democrats who support legalizing recreational cannabis altogether, they say there is no going back.
“This is a step forward towards a policy we strongly support,” Rep. Ryan Rinkler, the top Democrat in the Minnesota statehouse, told the Star Tribune.
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