Customers flock to buy new cannabis products, but not all retailers high on new law

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The day a new cannabis law took effect in Minnesota, people lined up out the door of the ‘Nothing but Hemp’ store on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue looking for edibles and beverages containing enough THC to give them a high. THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, the ingredient that creates a high.

“We expected to be busy, but not like this,” said Steven Brown, CEO of Nothing but Hemp and a Minnesota Cannabis Association board member. “We have lines out the door. Online has been crazy. We actually had to shut down our online sales just because we have so many to fulfill. So it’s a good problem to have.”

The new Minnesota law taking effect Friday allows people 21 and older to buy edibles and beverages that contain 5 milligrams of THC, or about half the amount allowed in states that have legalized recreational cannabis and marijuana.

Edibles, like gummies and beverages, can contain up to 5 milligrams of THC per serving and 50 milligrams per package under the law. Under the law, new THC products must be derived from legally certified hemp. But, industry experts say 5 milligrams will produce the same effect whether it’s derived from hemp or marijuana.

The new law does not restrict who can sell the products, but the law does not allow any products for vaping or smoking, and the edible gummies and beverages cannot be marketed to kids.

Still, not all CBD retailers are high on the new law.

“You can come in here and still get the therapeutic benefits without the high,” says Patty Gilk, owner of Jes Naturals CBD Wellness stores along Highway 5 in Eden Prairie and in downtown Excelsior.

Her stores are not selling the new products with higher levels of THC for now while they wait to see what other products come out.

“You don’t need the THC,” Gilk says about products to help you sleep or topical creams for muscle soreness. “You don’t need the high. Our customers, a lot of them, they come in and say I don’t want to get high. It makes me nervous. I bought something somewhere, and I got high. I didn’t know I was gonna get high.”

Gilk says she hasn’t ruled out carrying products with higher legal amounts of THC, but only if they have more than just a recreational value.

“If it is more therapeutic and it could help more people, we would definitely carry it,” she told 5 Eyewitness News.

Meanwhile, some Republican lawmakers expressed some surprise the new levels of THC were authorized in the new legislation. But Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller says the new bill is part of a plan to further regulate the cannabis industry.

“We passed bipartisan legislation that would restrict many THC products after the 2018 Federal Farm Bill opened up a new market for these products,” he says in a written statement. “Our bill regulates the industry and keeps these products away from kids. Adding clear labeling, limiting the sale to 21 years or older, and banning certain marketing practices aimed at children were absolutely necessary. If we find manufacturers and sellers are not following the law, we will see to it that they are held responsible.”