New lawsuit could open the door to recreational pot, legal expert says

A lawsuit filed last week in Minnesota state court could open the door to full legalization of recreational marijuana, according to one legal expert.

Carol Moss specializes in Minnesota cannabis law and says if a judge rules in the plaintiff’s favor, the court would have to issue an order allowing the sale of THC products derived from marijuana – which she says in essence would allow recreational marijuana to be sold.

"They’re asking the court to give them permission to sell products that would be illegal under state and federal law," she says. "They are asking for a court to approve recreational marijuana."

The lawsuit, filed by one of two holders of Minnesota medical licenses in Minnesota, claims it is being discriminated against because it cannot sell its cannabis-derived edibles to customers outside of the medical program. The current law only allows for edibles that use THC-derived from hemp.

While the law does not prevent Vireo Health of Minnesota from manufacturing hemp derived THC, the company says it would have to drastically change its business model to incorporate hemp.

The founder of Local hemp-based business Minny Grown says while he agrees with arguments made in the lawsuit about lack of licensing, he questions the plaintiff’s motives.

"A company with their resources should be able to hop into this market pretty seamlessly," said Zach Rohr. "This is being received as a little bit of an attack on the new law and the success we’ve enjoyed as local farmers and businesses these last couple of months."

In a statement, Vireo Health of Minnesota said: "With the late-night stroke of a pen, the bill’s authors created thousands of unregulated, unproven distributors of THC-infused products while simultaneously, and irrationally, denying the State’s established, highly regulated cannabis providers any opportunity to offer consumers a safer, superior product… We hope that the Court will look favorably on our request and will act to protect consumers, patients and Minnesota’s medical cannabis industry."