St. Cloud City Council considers approving THC edibles sales at Coborn’s liquor store, Mini-Mart

St. Cloud City Council considers approving THC edibles sales at Coborn’s liquor store, Mini-Mart

St. Cloud City Council considers approving THC edibles sales at Coborn's liquor store, Mini-Mart

St. Cloud City Council on Monday evening is expected to vote on whether major grocery chain Coborn’s can start selling THC edibles at its Cooper Avenue liquor store, and they’re not the only liquor store on the agenda.

The visibility of these products, primarily including hemp-derived THC-infused beverages and gummies, has grown in Minnesota in the last few years following legalization — but not at liquor stores. That is until the 2023 Minnesota Legislature altered state statute to allow it.

There are two Cannabinoid License applications on Monday’s City Council agenda. The other came from the Mini Mart on 32nd Avenue North.

A local manager at Coborn’s Liquor Store in St. Cloud deferred comment to corporate but said he knows of at least three other Minnesota Coborn’s stores already selling THC beverages: Melrose, Little Falls and St. Joseph’s.

The opportunity for liquor stores could be a tough break for edible exclusive stores, according to University of St. Thomas Department of Finance professor Dave Vang. Particularly, he said, when a company with the size and reach of Coborn’s comes on the scene.

“I think this really might be a game changer, kind of on the order of going back to when we would have mom and pop VHS rental places, and then all sudden you had major chains like Blockbuster, and things like that, come along that kind of wiped them out,” Vang said.

“So if grocery stores, or other places like this, start selling it, it’s going to be cutting into the immediate market share that already exists. It’s not creating a new market.”

To be clear, THC products would not be allowed in the grocery store, only in the liquor store, separated by its own entrance.

That was an important distinction for local Grant Ludwig, buying groceries ahead of the Twins game on Sunday.

“I guess I really don’t care as long as they’re doing it the right way, and they’re not selling to minors or anything like that,” Ludwig said.

“So what is the difference, right? If they sell it or somebody else sells it,” shared another indifferent grocery shopper, Roger Durant.

“This is more of a test case,” Vang concluded. “To see, you know, will a city approve it? And if they do, then that’s going to start full ball rolling as to what kind of regulations maybe the city is going to have. And that could very well be a model for the entire industry going forward.”

The vote for both applications is set for Monday at 6 p.m. at City Hall.