Minnesota Marijuana Regulators Launch Yet Another Public Survey With Focus On Retail Operations And Sanitary Standards

As Minnesota marijuana regulators continue to gather input about how the forthcoming commercial market should function, the state Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has opened a public third survey, asking for opinions around retail cannabis operations and sanitary standards within the industry.

OCM was initially planning to circulate a total of five surveys on marijuana consumer and industry topics through next month, with the aim of informing rulemaking under the state’s legalization law enacted earlier this year. Already the agency has solicited input on issues such as cultivation, processing and manufacturing as well as pesticides, fertilizers and environmental controls.

Forthcoming surveys span topics including packaging and labeling, business licensing and social equity. Regulators also recently announced a sixth survey, which will run from the end of January into early February, focused on laboratory standards and edible products.

The deadline for the current third survey, which opened earlier this month and “covers retail business operations; retail sanitary standards (facilities and handling); and expedited complaint process for local governments,” closes December 28, according to an OCM email.

Questions in the survey are mostly open-ended, such as “What opportunities exist for your selected area of interest?” and “What is most important for the rulemaking body to know and understand about this area?” It allows additional space for general feedback. Providing contact information is voluntary.

The survey also has a section for respondents to insert links to reference information or email additional supporting documents.

OCM has previously said it’s encouraging public feedback “to ensure the rulemaking process is accessible to the widest possible range of community members, advocates, and partners who want to help shape how the rules are drafted.”

After OCM formally proposes new rules for the marijuana market, members of the public will have a chance to weigh in. That’s expected to take place sometime in the fall of next year. Lawmakers have approved OCM’s use of an expedited rulemaking process, but regulators note that “the rules may not be approved and in force until 2025.”

In the interim, adults 21 and older can already legally use, possess and grow marijuana for personal use. In August, Gov. Tim Walz (D) clarified that homegrown cannabis cannot be sold commercially.

In a reminder email about the survey, OCM included a few “emerging themes” in responses to the office’s second survey.

Among them were the need for consistent lab testing protocols and standardization in naming, the importance of a state lab to conduct oversight and verify testing accuracy, an emphasis on microbusiness and medium-sized “mezzobusiness” requirements “being achievable for small scale while maintaining profits,” encouraging the creation of programs that incentivize sustainable energy and water use as well as a recommendation to rely on existing pesticides and fertilizer regulations from the state Department of Agriculture.

Minnesota’s cannabis law also allows tribes within the state to open marijuana businesses before the state begins licensing traditional retailers, and some tribal governments have already entered the legal market. The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, for example, opened its medical dispensaries to adult consumers in August and announced plans to launch a mobile retail vehicle to sell marijuana at locations across the state.

The White Earth Nation tribe also launched an adult-use cannabis shop, with its governing council voting to authorize marijuana sales in July. The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has also moved to legalize.

In September OCM hit a noteworthy snag after Erin DuPree, a cannabis industry consultant whom the governor picked to lead the state agency, stepped down after one day of work following a Star Tribune report that her hemp shop allegedly sold illegal products. Lab results reportedly showed elevated THC levels and the presence of banned synthetic ingredients.

That same month, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the odor of marijuana, on its own, does not establish probable cause for police officers to search a vehicle.

Aside from OCM, another body created by Minnesota’s marijuana law is the Cannabis Expungement Board, which will facilitate record sealing for people with eligible marijuana convictions on their records. The review process for eligible cases began in August.

Even before the governor signed the reform bill, the state launched a website that serves as a hub for information about the new law. Officials have also already started soliciting vendors to help build a licensing system for recreational marijuana businesses.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.—

Walz has also sharply criticized Republicans who’ve asked for a special session to address what they describe as “loopholes” in the law concerning youth possession and public consumption. And he’s welcomed adults in neighboring Iowa to visit and participate in the market.

Separately, another Minnesota law recently took effect that legalized drug paraphernalia possession, syringe services, controlled substances residue and testing.

Under another bill that the governor signed into law this session, a Minnesota government psychedelics task force is actively being built out to prepare the state for the possible legalization of substances like psilocybin and ibogaine.

That psychedelics task force held its first meeting last month, and members convened for their second discussion on Monday.

A member of Congress representing the state, Rep. Dean Phillips (D), recently announced his bid for president, challenging incumbent President Joe Biden (D). Phillips’s record on drug policy, according to a review by Marijuana Moment, reflects a consistent commitment to reform at both the state and federal levels.

Phillips has supported federal marijuana legalization, pushed the Biden administration to provide relief to those who’ve been criminalized over cannabis and advocated for research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. His voting record shows ongoing support for reform across the board—including incremental measures on marijuana banking, as well as more comprehensive proposals to end federal cannabis prohibition while promoting social equity.

Meanwhile former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, whose party affiliation has shifted over the years, has said that he wants to get in on the action and become the “first major politician in America” to have his face on a marijuana brand.

Biden Signs Defense Bill Requiring Psychedelics Studies Involving Active Duty Military Service Members

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

 Read More Feedzy 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *