Metro Cities News 9/9/22


In This Issue:


THC Survey Summary

Metro Cities recently conducted a short qualitative and informal survey in the wake of the recent change in Minnesota law allowing the sale and use of edibles and beverages infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Most cities responding are either enacting a 12-month moratorium or pursuing a local licensing framework. The results show a wide array of challenges faced by cities as they look to react to the law change and identifies areas where more information is needed on the law, products, how they are sold, and more.

Many articulated the need for legislative action on this issue. Some cities are asking for technical fixes and others would like the state to retract the law. Most survey respondents agreed that without legislative action confusion and ambiguity would persist. The desire to stay connected as a region (among cities and other agencies like school districts) came through strongly in the survey responses. Some suggested that Metro Cities should play a role in facilitating the continued sharing of information among cities in the region and with other parts of the state. See below for more specific findings and themes from the survey.

Actions Considered by Cities: Most cities that responded have opted to pursue either a 12-month moratorium or some sort of licensing scheme. Cities choosing to enact a moratorium make up a slight majority and almost all are using the 12 months to study the issue further to ensure that whatever local regulation is developed is effective. Many in this group expect to eventually regulate through licensure. Some said local zoning would also be considered as options are studied. Several cities mentioned the possibility of lifting their moratorium early depending on the outcome of their study and whether reasonable regulation can be achieved sooner than 12 months.

Cities that have moved to license the sale of THC products or are on a path toward licensure are nearly unanimously following the example of current tobacco licensing.

A smaller third group of cities are not taking any action currently. These cities are weighing options without a moratorium in place, and many are waiting to see what neighboring jurisdictions decide to do.

Challenges: The most cited challenge or concern was the lack of clarity on the new law and what might be changed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2023. Respondents spoke about the potential for unintended consequences, the fact that the law change caught most stakeholders by surprise and that depending on what regulatory framework emerges, the region could become inconsistent in its approach to regulate these products and their sale.

Another major theme relates to the challenge of enforcement. Cities are concerned about their own ability to enforce a moratorium and their police department’s ability to test drivers who are suspected to be under the influence of THC. Some mentioned the potential difficulty in verifying that only legal products are being sold at authorized retailers.

Other challenges identified in the survey include:

  • Access to products by those under the age of 21
  • City employee use
  • Local taxation authority

These challenges, confusion about products and this change to law, and the uncertainty over the future led many to name their city’s decision whether or how to regulate (i.e. licensure, a moratorium, etc.) as a major challenge. Other cities responded that they had no challenges or concerns at the time of their response.

Information: More than any specific piece of information, cities indicated a desire to stay engaged as new information, guidance, and lessons learned emerge and are interested in knowing how neighboring jurisdictions are addressing the issue. More specifically, respondents want access to model ordinances and examples of local licensure/zoning efforts in other parts of the region, fact sheets and other pieces of high-level information as they address this evolving issue.

Another requested category of information relates to technical guidance for both the education and regulation of retailers selling THC products. Cities asked for clarification on who can sell THC products, where products should be placed in the store, and labeling and testing requirements.

Other information requests identified in the survey include:

  • Lessons learned from other states where recreational THC has been fully legalized
  • Information on relevant supply chains/distribution channels
  • Guidance on employee usage
  • Legal guidance on the potential for outright bans in cities (beyond a moratorium)

2023 Transportation Unified Planning Work Program

The public comment period for the draft 2023 Transportation Unified Planning Work Program is open until 5:00 PM on Friday, September 23. The program documents planning activities in the metropolitan region for the upcoming year.

Specifically, the Unified Planning Work Program

  • Takes a unified approach to regional transportation planning to achieve goals.
  • Documents transportation planning spending in the upcoming year, including the approximately $5.1 million in federal transportation planning funds.
  • Describes work that will be undertaken to prepare for the Council’s 2050 Regional Development Guide and the 2050 Transportation Policy Plan.
  • Serves as the Metropolitan Council’s application for US Department of Transportation planning funds.

The unified planning work program will be before the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) on September 21 and the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Committee on October 10 with final adoption by the full Metropolitan Council scheduled for October 26. Click HERE to view the draft 2023 Transportation Unified Planning Work Program. Email comments to [email protected] or call the public comment line at 651-602-1500.

Contact Mike Lund at [email protected] or 651-215-4003 with any questions.


Learn about Micromobility Parking

The Twin Cities Shared Mobility Collaborative is holding its quarterly convening on Tuesday, September 27. The event will be held virtually via Zoom from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. Shabazz Stuart, founder and CEO of Ooonee will discuss the company’s bike parking pods in New York City. Stuart will discuss how Oonee has collaborated with policymakers, cycling advocates, and security experts to design their Micromobility product. This presentation will be followed by a panel hosted by East Metro Strong’s executive director, Will Schroeer. Panelist will include Shared Mobility Collaborative Steering Committee members Gavin Bukovich (Arrowhead Regional Development Commission), Bill Dossett (Nice Ride Minnesota), and Danielle Elkins (City of Minneapolis). Click HERE to register for this event.

Contact Mike Lund at [email protected] or 651-215-4003 with any questions.


Share this post: