Lawmakers have hearing over Marijuana Bill: What this means for local businesses

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Lawmakers met today Thursday, March 2nd, to discuss the Marijuana Bill. The bill would legalize and limit the possession and use of cannabis by adults, as well as providing for the licensing, inspection and regulation of cannabis businesses amongst other things. However, what is unbeknownst to many is the bill could potentially get rid of locally-made THC-infused drinks and gummies. While many lawmakers say the bill is good for the entire state, it could harm existing small businesses like local breweries, hemp stores, and hemp manufacturers.

“If it were to be passed tomorrow, it would really push the hemp industry out because hemp is considered cannabis. Therefore, the cannabis bill would consider hemp as marijuana. Therefore, what does that mean? All the shops in Minnesota that sell hemp would become a dispensary or just shut their doors. There’s a lot of repercussions with hemp becoming classified as marijuana,” says Craig Sutherland, owner of Sutherland CBD and a Minnesota Cannabis Association member.

The Minnesota Cannabis Association, which includes businesses selling these products like Sutherland CBD, is working to protect these Minnesota products by asking lawmakers to adjust the bill language to treat hemp and recreational cannabis individually.

“What needs to be addressed right away is the definition of cannabis. Let’s call it marijuana. Once you call it cannabis, hemp is tied into that. And there’s thousands of retail stores throughout Minnesota that will be directly affected by this overnight the second that bill passes, unless that language is changed,” continues Sutherland.

The problem is absolutely crucial on many fronts, what is the severity you may ask?

“It’s life or death. All the growers, there’s a ton of jobs that were created and a ton of revenue that was had and so if the language isn’t changed, there’s going to be a lot of businesses going out of business,” says John Hanselman, President and Founder of Edwin’s Edibles.

Legislation had a hearing today, March 2nd, we’ll keep you updated as this bill comes to fruition in the upcoming months.