April 7, 2023 at 11:51 a.m.
Chisago City Council ends moratorium; votes 4-1 on THC conditions
Before passing a new municipal code to regulate the manufacture and sale of those products, the council voted 4-1 to remove a requirement for a 500-foot setback from schools, playgrounds, daycare centers and churches for a THC facility.
The setback question had been reviewed by the city planning commission in January and February. City Administrator John Pechman had received public comment expressing concern that a proposed 500-foot setback from schools, playgrounds, daycare centers and churches would eliminate a large portion of the city’s commercially zoned properties from obtaining registration to sell THC products.
Several alternatives were considered, such as reducing the setback from 500 to 200 feet, eliminating it entirely or having separate standards for sale versus manufacture of THC products.
Mayor Gustafson opened discussion saying, “I’ve made it clear to this council my position against having drugs of any kind in town. And regarding concerns about the 500-foot setback, I say, so what? I say no to all the options.”
During the public hearing that followed, Brad Klatt, owner of Uncommon Loon Brewing Company in Chisago City, addressed the council. Klatt emphasized that the Uncommon Loon is not interested in producing THC products at this time. He went on to explain that under state law brew-pubs are able to produce THC seltzers, but the products they make cannot be consumed on their premises. Also, those products cannot contain beer or alcohol of any kind, and each batch of a THC product must be tested by independent laboratories.
“The Uncommon Loon at this point is not interested in producing or selling THC products,” Klatt repeated, but added that as a businessman he wanted a voice in regulations that impact his industry.
Council Member Nikki Battles asked if there was a similar setback required for businesses that sell tobacco products and learned there is none. She also asked for and received assurance that a background check is required for those selling THC products as it is for those selling tobacco and alcohol.
Council Member Marie Rivers said she wouldn’t have a problem reducing the proposed setback from 500 to 200 feet, and added, “Alcohol is a drug, too, and it’s been out there for a long time. We can’t stop it.”
Councilman Jeremy Dresel said, “It isn’t our choice if it’s legal or not. (The decision to legalize THC products was the result of a change to Minnesota state law.) I’d be in favor of removing the setbacks completely and allowing the businesses to operate.”
Dresel then moved to delete the 500-foot setback requirement from the new municipal code regulating manufacture and sale of products containing THC. The motion passed 4 to 1, as did motions to approve the amended code, and directing staff to publish a summary of Municipal Code 176 THC Products in the legal newspaper, after which it goes into effect.