(KNSI) — After nearly an hour of debate, the St. Cloud City Council Monday night hammered out an ordinance approving where hemp-derived THC products could and could not be sold.
The council voted unanimously to allow the sale of THC edibles in commercial areas regardless of the distance between other retail locations, schools and houses of worship. The only commercial district off-limits is C1 which is classified as a business office park.
The planning commission had recommended that stores selling the product be at least a quarter mile from each other and at least a block from schools or houses of worship.
During a public hearing, business owners asked for the distance restriction to be lifted. They felt the ordnance would make many areas off-limits to THC and CBD sales and put sellers at the mercy of their landlords.
Councilwoman Carol Lewis felt the distance restriction was too cumbersome for business owners and proposed dropping the distance restrictions saying, “I don’t want to overcomplicate this because this is a legal product. And if you are a business person who is trying to sell this, you don’t need to be out measuring all time as to whether or not you’re in compliance.”
Councilman Mike Conway also had some issues with the original recommendations. “I think this is a little too egregious. The whole downtown is excluded from anything and I didn’t realize it until the business owner brought it up. If they don’t own the property, we are screwing them because now their landlord can raise the rent knowing they can’t go anywhere else.”
Conway said the city would be putting businesses at a competitive advantage or disadvantage depending on where they are. He felt the regulations passed earlier this year were enough. “We’ve got the rules and regulations in for licensing now. They can’t sell to under age [kids]. So, whether it’s a liquor store right next to one of the high schools, or anything else, they still aren’t allowed to sell the students. So I think this is overkill.”
The new ordinance goes into effect in 30 days.
Hemp-derived THC products became legal in Minnesota in July. While gummies and other edibles containing THC became legal, regulation was left to individual cities.
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