City of Albert Lea proposing local regulations on THC products

City to present law changes to school board, the public and other organizations for input

To protect people under age 21 from the risks of THC, the psychoactive compound in hemp, the City of Albert Lea is considering changing its tobacco law to include THC products legalized by the Minnesota Legislature earlier this year.

THC is an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, a natural compound in cannabis plants, including marijuana and hemp, that produces the high sensation.

“We want to prevent harm to children and young adults, yet still allow retailers to take advantage of this new market,” said City Manager Ian Rigg. “By requiring a city license to sell THC products, we can make sure certain safeguards are in place.”

As part of gathering input from community partners on regulating gummies and other edibles, Rigg will present the draft regulations to the District 241 School Board at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 6. The proposed changes would then go to the Albert Lea City Council for discussion at its Sept. 12 work session and potentially a vote at its Sept. 26 meeting.

With local regulations, the city is intending to:

  • Prevent people under age 21 from buying and possessing THC products in Albert Lea.
  • Separate THC products from other products so it’s clear to consumers what they’re purchasing.

In summary, the proposed regulations would:

  • Require a city license to sell THC products in Albert Lea.
  • Prohibit possession of THC products by anyone under age 21, which is stricter than state law.
  • Require stores that sell both THC and non-THC products, like convenience stores, to keep THC products behind the counter or in a locked case.
  • Require stores that sell only THC products to admit only people age 21 or older.
  • Prohibit liquor stores from selling THC products.

The proposed regulations are in line with guidance from the Minnesota League of Cities and those already adopted by many communities, including Austin.

As of July 1 this year, state law allows the sale of low-dose THC edibles with three limitations:

  • A maximum of 5 milligrams of any and all THCs per single serving.
  • A maximum of a total of 50 milligrams of any and all THCs per package.
  • A maximum of 0.3% of any and all THCs. This limitation applies to any and all units, whether servings, packages, or other.

Note that these limitations apply to all THC combined in a hemp-derived product regardless of whether the product contains more than one type of THC.

The law also mandates that THC products be in child-resistant packaging and not be targeted or appealing to children.

The new law took many cities and law enforcement agencies by surprise, with no licensing structure in place nor a dedicated funding source, such as an excise tax, for enforcement. The law authorizes the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy to regulate THC products, and this board is considering long-term rule-making. In the meantime, many cities are adopting their own regulations.

For more information about THC products in Minnesota, please visit these webpages: