Richfield City Council on Tuesday voted to place a one-year moratorium on the sale of edible marijuana products known as Delta-8 and Delta-9 in the city.
The vote was passed 4-1, with the council approving of city officials' recommendations to pause the sale of food and drinks containing the cannabinoid THC while staff can prepare an ordinance to "regulate and license them."
Products containing hemp-derived THC-8 were legalized in Minnesota in 2018, and products containing the stronger THC-9 followed this year after they were passed in a bill at the Minnesota Legislature, seemingly unbeknownst to some Republicans who may have otherwise opposed it.
The bill passed at the state level did not stipulate any regulation or licensing requirements, which has prompted some cities to play catch up on local ordinances while companies began releasing a series of THC food and drink products for sale in Minnesota.
In the agenda packet, Richfield councilors were recommended to approve the moratorium, noting there are "significant gaps in state oversight and accountability of the manufacturing and production, testing, and distribution of the products."
A year's moratorium would give the city time to "study the impacts of cannabis products and prepare an ordinance and licensing structure for Council consideration."
The one council member who voted against it was Sean Hayford Oleary, who says the ordinance will take effect on Dec. 1, and in a Twitter thread said he regrets the council's decision – not least because of the impact it will have on Richfield businesses.
"Richfield will be a regulatory island," he tweeted. "These products are legally sold without restriction in Minneapolis and Bloomington. They are available in Edina, subject to a licensing ordinance. In fact, the closest city with a complete moratorium is Savage — nearly 10 miles away."
He continues to note that safety concerns relate to consumption, not purchasing.
"People interested in THC products can easily buy them online, or in any neighboring community. To the extent there are safety risks, Richfielders aren't safer because a Minneapolis business got their dollars instead."
The potential for Richfield businesses to lose out on revenue because of the decision is exemplified by Wes Burdine, the owner of St. Paul bar the Black Hart, who says THC seltzers have been hugely popular addition to the menu since they were legalized.