THC-infused beverages are expected to be sold at EP Liquor stores by the end of the month.
An informal discussion with Eden Prairie City Council members Tuesday, July 11, cleared the way for city staff to begin making plans to sell the new beverages alongside beer, wine, and spirits in the city’s three liquor stores.
Jaime Urbina, liquor operations manager, said the products would probably be available in stores on Friday, July 21. Until then, he said, staff will be finalizing internal procedures, checking with other municipal stores to learn what’s selling best, and arranging delivery of the product.
No council members objected to the plans after hearing city staff report that a number of municipal liquor operations have begun selling beverages with lower-potency hemp products. This follows clarification by the state that Minnesota’s arcane booze laws do, indeed, now list the hemp products as among specific items permitted to be sold by liquor stores.
The lower-potency hemp beverages are limited to containers holding no more than two servings and no more than 5 milligrams of delta-9 THC per serving, or 10 milligrams of total THC.
The product must not be packaged in a container that includes a statement, artwork, or design that could reasonably mislead any person to believe that the package contains anything other than an edible cannabinoid product, according to the state.
The packaging and signage was one concern raised by council members Tuesday, saying they don’t want EP Liquor customers confused about the THC products being sold.
Mayor Ron Case urged the city to follow a moral path and help educate consumers about the new products.
“I would say, ‘Yes, go ahead.’ But work through all these (issues). Question. Call around. Figure out the best way to do it,” he told city staff.
“I just feel there’s an ethical component here of responsibility that I think we would want our liquor stores to be leaders in.”
For that reason, Urbina anticipates that at the start, the beverages will be displayed at the end of a store aisle where additional signage and identification of the products can be posted.
City Manager Rick Getschow said Tuesday that an informal survey had indicated Savage, Farmington, Lakeville, Northfield, Elk River, and St. Anthony liquor stores are already selling the THC beverages, and the Edina and Richfield liquor stores are getting ready to sell the products. A number of private liquor stores in Chanhassen, Minnetonka, Bloomington, and Glen Lake are also doing so, said Getschow.
“So, not everybody’s doing it, but several around us are,” he said.
Urbina said municipal liquor operations have been sharing information on the start of THC-beverage sales, and learning from each other.
Among the local breweries whose products will be considered, said Urbina, are Indeed Brewing, which created a 5-milligram, hemp-derived, sparkling THC drink last November, as well as Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Fulton Brewing, and Surly Brewing.
“There’s been a lot of interest shown,” with customers asking about the products nearly every day, Urbina said.
While it’s a significant change for EP Liquor stores, it’s not at the level of the 2017 addition of Sunday liquor sales, which required a number of changes to the municipal stores’ overall operation, he said.
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