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THC ordinance get preliminary approval in Alexandria

THC, a psychoactive component of cannabis that gets users high, was legalized statewide on July 1 in a surprise move by the state Legislature.

edibles.jpg
A customer shows the products she bought from Nothing But Hemp in St. Paul. Some of the products contain THC, which became legal under 5 milligrams per serving in Minnesota on Friday, July 1, 2022.
Grace Birnstengel | MPR News
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ALEXANDRIA – At its meeting Monday, the Alexandria City Council gave preliminary approval to a new ordinance that would license and regulate the sale of THC products.

THC, a psychoactive component of cannabis that gets users high, was legalized statewide on July 1 in a surprise move by the state Legislature. This left city leaders throughout the state scrambling to find answers on how to regulate THC sales through zoning and licensing.

The council held a public hearing on a proposed 16-page ordinance on Sept. 12. Based on the comments from the public and businesses that already sell THC products, such as gummies, the council agreed to make several changes as recommended by City Attorney Tom Jacobson:

Subdivision 2.7. Under the first draft, the ordinance said that licenses were required for “any product that contains THC and is intended for human or animal consumption or use.” The revised wording says the license is needed for “any product that contains more than trace amounts of THC and meets the requirements to be sold for human or animal consumption under Minnesota statutes, section 151.72, as the same may be amended from time to time.” Also, the revision says that the licensing provisions do not apply to medical cannabis.

Subdivision 3.4.B. Background criminal checks at a cost of $500 in investigation fees are required to sell THC products but applicants can reduce the fee to $100 by submitting the results of a comparable investigation by the state within 12 months before applying for a THC license. The council will determine if additional investigation is necessary.

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Subdivisions 7.3A and 8.1. The new revisions would lower the age of a person selling controlled substances from 21 to 18. It's a violation for anyone under 21 to possess THC products.

Subdivision 4.2. The fee for getting the required THC license would be tied to the city's fee schedule that is established for all city fees annually. It will likely be reduced from the initial proposal of $3,600.

Tom Jacobson
Tom Jacobson

Other sections of the ordinance would remain the same – the process for revoking or suspending licenses, restrictions on where THC products can be consumed, compliance checks and inspections of THC retailers, penalties for violating the ordinance and other provisions.

The ordinance will take effect upon its final passage and publication in the newspaper or on Jan. 1, 2023, whichever is later. Any business that is currently selling THC products must apply for a city license after the ordinance takes effect.

Under the new state law, people 21 and older can buy products containing servings of up to 5 milligrams of THC. A single package of edibles – or drinkables – may not contain more than 50 milligrams.

Products must be derived from legally certified hemp, which contains no more than 0.3% THC

A final reading of the ordinance will take place at the next meeting on Oct. 10.

Former veterinarian building to get upgrade

A major remodeling project is planned for the building at 1710 Fillmore Street, the former location of Runestone Animal Clinic.

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The developer, Son Jay Properties, LLC, of Alexandria received a $200,000 loan from the city’s Revolving Loan Fund.

The work includes renovation and restoration of the building and a 2,500-square-foot addition. American National Bank originated the loan and the city is matching the bank’s 6.5% interest rate.

The loan will be paid back over 15 years.

The Revolving Loan Fund has a balance of about $771,000. The monthly paybacks to the loan averaged about $15,000 over the last 14 months.

The developer will pay all closing costs, including legal and recording fees and mortgage tax.

Jay Paulson is listed on the loan application as the contact person for Son Jay Properties. He estimated the total cost of the project at $530,000.

In another item related to the Revolving Loan Fund, the council agreed to subordinate the city’s existing Revolving Loan Fund loan to B Way Holdings. This will provide a new infusion of bank funds for its project.

Three special events approved

Special event permits were issued to:

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  • Megan Chisholm, representing the Friends of Christmas, for the "Lights On Broadway" holiday light parade on Friday, Nov. 25 from 4:45 to 7 p.m. The parade will start at 6 p.m., beginning at Fourth Avenue. Staging will take place at ALP Utilities on Fourth Avenue continuing on Elm Street and past Knute Nelson Memorial Park. This is a new event created to enhance the annual Christmas in the Fort. A downtown lighting ceremony will take place at 5:15 p.m. outside of the Runestone Museum. Everyone is invited to enter the parade. Prizes will be given for “Most Christmas Spirit” and “Brightest Lights.” 
  • The Alexandria Fire Deparment’s Fire Prevention Open House on Monday, Oct. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. Fillmore Street will be closed in front of the fire station for the LifeLink helicopter to land.
  • Kalon Prep Academy’s second annual Spooky Sprint 5K on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m with the event starting at 9 a.m. The event is a costume fun run for families.

Fire truck is headed for Walker

The council approved Alexandria Fire Chief Jeff Karrow’s request to set a 2008 “Utility Quick Attack” truck to the City of Walker for $85,000.

The unit’s main purpose was to be a mini-pumper for grass fires. Karrow said it’s the oldest truck the department uses for grass fires. It’s also limited by the fact that it can’t go off the road, he added.

Proceeds will go into the Fire Equipment Fund.

Karrow was also authorized to begin the process of replacing the attack truck.

Karrow
Karrow

In other fire department matters, the council accepted a $200 donation from the Alexandria Elks Lodge on behalf of the fire department.

The Elks donated the money in appreciation of the department’s involvement in Flag Day activities.

More power lines going underground

The council agreed to call for bids for the materials that will allow more powerlines to be placed underground.

According to ALP Utilities, the areas included in the 2023 undergrounding project are:

  • Aga circuit. Starting at ALP’s southwest substation, going north on Nevada Street to 34th Ave. W. Then going east on 34th Ave. to Highway 29 and going north on Aga Drive to Fillmore Park.
  • 44th/McKay Ave.circuit tie. Starting at Voyager Drive and County Road 42, going northeast on East Golf Course Rd to S. LeHomme Dieu Drive, ending on the north end of McKay.

The estimated bid for the materials is more than $1.18 million.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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