Skip to main content

As shoppers pack stores Friday to purchase THC edibles and drinks, the Republican Party of Minnesota is keeping quiet about an apparent political blunder, brought to light when a Republican state senator told Minnesota’s largest newspaper he thought the new law would regulate, rather than legalize, the cannabis-derived products.

Edibles and beverages containing THC — the cannabis ingredient that causes a high —can now be purchased by Minnesotans who are 21 or older. 

On the eve of the new law taking effect, the Star Tribune quoted Sen. Jim Abeler, a Republican from Anoka who chairs the Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee, already talking about wanting to reverse the new law. 

Note: Abeler supported the provision — “exempting cannabinoids derived from hemp from Schedule 1 of the controlled substances schedule" — when it appeared as an amendment to a health and human services bill in May

However, Abeler told the Star Tribune, he didn't realize the new law would legalize edibles containing delta-9 THC. Rather, he thought the law would only regulate delta-8 THC products. 

Sen. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka). Courtesy of Minnesota State Senate. 

Sen. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka). Courtesy of Minnesota State Senate. 

"Republicans have no excuse—this was heard, discussed and approved by committees on which they served," Democratic House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler wrote on Twitter. 

Neither Abeler, nor the Republican Party of Minnesota, responded to Bring Me The News' requests for comment on Friday, but video of the May 19 conference committee's negotiations of the health and human services omnibus bill offers some insight. 

"That doesn't legalize marijuana — we didn't just do that, did we?" Abeler asks, seconds after adopting the amendment to legalize the products. 

"Oh, are you kidding? Of course you have," committee co-chair Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) responds. "No, just kidding, just kidding — next, we'll do that next, okay?" 

J. Patrick Coolican, editor-in-chief of the Minnesota Reformer, resurrected the exchange in a column published Friday. You can watch it here beginning at the 45-minute mark. 

"If that exchange in the waning days of the session doesn’t sound like the most thoughtful legislating, you might be onto something," Coolican writes.

And while Republicans might've unknowingly taken part in efforts to legalize weed, it's unlikely Gov. Tim Walz — a supporter of broader legalization efforts — will roll the new law back. 

"You're welcome, Minnesota!" the bill's author, Rep. Heather Edelson, DFL-Edina, celebrated on Twitter. 

Related: Overwhelming demand at CBD stories in MN on first day of new law

Next Up

Omar Samuels

Rep. Ilhan Omar defeats Don Samuels in contentious primary

Unofficial results for one of Minnesota's most-watched primary races are in.

Ambulance Hennepin Healthcare

Boy, 14, critical after accidental shooting at Minneapolis apartment

Police say the shooting happened during a gathering at an apartment.

Screen Shot 2022-08-09 at 3.25.49 PM

Charges: Man caused Burnsville building fire because girlfriend was late

The alleged arson fire displaced around 50 residents.

Famous dave granite city

Famous Dave's, Granite City owner sold for $200 million

The owner of Famous Dave's, BBQ Holdings, is based in Minnetonka.

Alanna McLean

Appeal to find missing northern Minnesota woman

Alanna McLean was last seen this past weekend.


Minnesota reaches 55 confirmed cases of monkeypox

Nearly 9,000 cases have been confirmed nationwide.

derek chauvin

$1.45M payout for correctional officers prevented from guarding Derek Chauvin

The officers were reportedly ordered to avoid Derek Chauvin while he was in jail.


Palm Springs residents: Divert the Mississippi to solve our drought problems

Should the southwest have some of the Mississippi River?

Image from iOS (10)

Minneapolis tries to spruce up street barriers with motivational messages

Police said the barriers will be in place through the beginning of the fall.


MnDOT debuts driverless shuttle in White Bear Lake

This is one of several self-driving pilot programs MnDOT is working on.



Overwhelming demand for THC products on first day of new law in MN

One shop owner said his Chaska store broke the online sales record before they opened Friday morning.

Marijuana, cannabis

Minnesota Senate shoots down latest marijuana legalization attempt

The bill didn't receive the required votes for further consideration on Wednesday.

Indeed Brewing's THC seltzer

Surprise legalization prompts MN breweries to launch THC seltzers

It comes after Minnesota laws surrounding THC products loosened.

Walz, Flanagan

Walz proposes legalizing marijuana in massive supplemental budget

It's among the provisions in his "Budget to Move Minnesota Forward."

Marijuana, cannabis

Minnesota DFL'ers use 4/20 to call for marijuana legalization

Democrats use unofficial holiday to say: #LegalizeMN.

pixabay - marijuana cannabis

Marijuana legalization: Minnesota House to vote Thursday

The "historic" vote on the House floor is set for Thursday afternoon.

Doug Wardlow

Doug Wardlow reneges on promise, will challenge GOP's AG candidate in primary

Wardlow's announcement sparked swift criticism from the MN GOP and the party-endorsed candidate, Jim Schultz.

michelle benson for governor

Michelle Benson withdraws from MN governor's race

Benson also announced she won't seek re-election to the Minnesota Senate.