Pounds of pot destroyed after retailers inspected by state officials

Marijuana is legal in Minnesota, but it’s not completely legal, and some businesses are getting in trouble for what they’re selling during a kind of no-man’s land stretch.

Gummies and THC drinks are behind the counter at almost every cannabis shop in Minnesota these days – they’re completely legal, but marijuana is not.

Although it’s legal for people to use and to grow, it’s not legal for businesses to grow, distribute, or sell.

"Most people are respecting that, but the tough thing is you've legalized something and nobody knows where to get it now unless they want to drive 3.5 hours away," Jeff Taylor told a Minnesota House committee in March.

He lobbied the legislature to let sales start sooner, but the 2024 cannabis law update only sped up the timeline for cultivation. Even that won’t start until late this year.

But that hasn’t stopped some shops from selling it.

"Most of the products that I pulled from the shelves at various places, they weren't hemp -- less than 0.3%, Delta-9," said David Mendolia of St. Paul Cannabis. "They weren't."

Mendolia says he checked out the competition when customers came looking for something stronger and said they could get it down the street.

The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) started inspecting hemp shops in March after some confusion about which state agency had the power to enforce.

Officials tell FOX 9 they’ve destroyed 12,094 retail units — a total weight of 72.5 pounds — at 58 retail locations.

They estimate the total retail value at $278,000.

But they haven’t issued any citations or fines.

That’s good news for retailers because the 2024 cannabis bill says they can’t get a license if they violate the law after cannabis became legal in August of last year.

Taylor says some owners are willing to take a chance because they believe they’d otherwise go out of business before they get a license.

But Mendolia says the enforcement is keeping potential users safer.

"If you're waiting for an actual tested and, you know, compliant version of the product to be for sale, then this is a good step towards getting you stuff that's actually been scrutinized by the state and the producers, by people that care about what they're actually selling you," Mendolia said.