Nine-year-old Krystal Mattis is unable to attend full days at school because she uses cannabis tincture to treat epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder.
Sabrina and Tim Mattis, her parents, told CBS News they want their daughter to receive a full-time education, which up until now she has been unable to do because of her symptoms. In order to attend a full day at school, Sabrina and Tim said Krystal needs a dose of her tincture at lunchtime. The tincture is a mixture of CBD and THC mixed in with some juice.
The school, however, told Sabrina and Tim that Krystal has to consume her medicine away from school property and come back to class afterwards if she wants to use cannabis during the day.
“I feel it’s unfair. It’s unjust,” Sabrina Mattis said to CBS. “She just deserves to be at school a full day and have her medicine like any other kid.”
On top of her regular doctor visits and the various therapies required to treat her disorders, Krystal is nonverbal and uses a device to communicate, according to the CBS article. Sabrina and Tim Mattis said that taking her in and out of school would only serve to further disrupt their daughter’s schedule and unnecessarily confuse her.
“To take her back, that just throws her out of her routine. The chances of her not understanding the whole situation and having discomfort more likely to not have a good rest of the day, as opposed to us just going there administering her dose and leaving and it’s barely an interruption,” Tim said to CBS.
Unable to sway the school and unwilling to take away what they described to CBS as a game changer medication for their daughter, Sabrina and Tim Mattis opted to keep Krystal in class for half-days. However, their fight would continue a bit higher up in the Minnesota state government. Sabrina reached out to Minnesota DFL Rep. Zack Stephenson, who authored the adult-use cannabis bill which was just recently passed in the state of Minnesota.
Rep. Stephenson told CBS he spoke with the family and told them an exemption exists to the adult-use cannabis statute in Minnesota state law for using medical cannabis on school grounds as long as it was not ingested through smoking or vaporization, the language of which CBS said they emailed to Krystal’s school district asking for comment but they only received a brief statement saying that the district “cannot comment on a student’s medical interactions with our schools.” The district cited data privacy laws which almost all American educators, doctors and social workers are universally bound by.
Rep. Stephenson also said that keeping the Minnesota medical cannabis program intact would remain a top priority for him while helping to write and draft laws about Minnesota’s blooming adult-use market, saying the following:
“There is a strong distinction between medical and adult-use cannabis,” Rep. Stephenson said to CBS.
According to the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Dashboard, the Minnesota medical cannabis program currently has a little over 18,000 participants which include 452 patients between the ages of five and 17. The vast majority of Minnesota medical patients use cannabis to treat chronic pain (59.3%) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (32.3%) but the next most reported use is for severe and persistent muscle spasm disorders like epilepsy with 2,217 patients statewide. Another 802 Minnesota patients use cannabis to treat autism spectrum disorder.
The Mattis’ fight will continue as the school district has yet to change their decision regarding Krystal. As cannabis legislation progresses state by state, individual cases like this will undoubtedly be making headlines a bit more often and the line between patient’s rights and illegal activity will undoubtedly continue to blur while legislation at both the state and federal level attempts to rewrite and undo decades of cannabis prohibition laws.
“We hope to bring justice for children on medical cannabis, so they can be allowed to take their medicine at school, just the same as any other child in the state of Minnesota. That’s what we’re hoping,” Sabrina said to CBS.
If Minnesota police search a vehicle solely based upon the smell of pot, they can’t justify searching a vehicle, even if there is evidence found of other alleged crimes. Even after appealing a lower court decision to suppress the evidence—twice—the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed, and the dismissal of his charges stands.
In a ruling filed regarding a case the State of Minnesota Court of Appeals on Sept. 13, the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed that cannabis odor does not constitute probable cause to search a vehicle under the state’s automobile exception to the warrant requirement.
The case has been ongoing for two years. On July 5, 2021, just before 10 p.m., a Litchfield police officer stopped a car for an obscure local law: the light bar mounted on the vehicle’s grill had more auxiliary driving lights than are permitted under Minnesota law. The officer asked the driver, Adam Lloyd Torgerson, for his license and registration. Torgerson, his wife, and his child were present in the vehicle. The officer stated that he smelled pot and asked Torgerson if there was any reason for the odor, which he initially denied. But cops found a lot more than just pot.
A backup officer was called in. The couple denied possessing any pot, but Torgerson admitted to smoking weed in the past. The second officer stated that the weed odor gave them probable cause to search the vehicle and ordered them to exit the vehicle. The first officer searched the vehicle and found a film canister, three pipes, and a small plastic bag in the center console. The plastic bag contained a white powder and the film canister contained meth, which was confirmed in a field test.
Torgenson was charged with possession of meth pipe in the presence of a minor and fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance after the unwarranted search of Torgerson’s vehicle.
Police Aren’t Allowed to Do That, Multiple Courts Rule
But the search had one major problem—cops weren’t searching for a meth pipe. They only searched his car because they could smell pot, and the meth and paraphernalia were a surprise for everyone. Still, they had no grounds to search the vehicle. The man’s charges were later dismissed after the district court determined the odor of cannabis alone was insufficient basis for probable cause to search the vehicle, regardless of whatever other drug paraphernalia they found.
The state appealed the case, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision. The case was appealed a second time, this time to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which agreed with the lower court’s ruling.
“This search was justified only by the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle,” the Minnesota Supreme Court decision reads. “Torgerson moved to suppress the evidence found during the search, arguing that the odor of marijuana, alone, is insufficient to create the requisite probable cause to search a vehicle under the automobile exception to the warrant requirement. The district court granted Torgerson’s motion, suppressed the evidence, and dismissed the complaint. The State appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the district court’s suppression order. Because we conclude that the odor of marijuana emanating from a vehicle, alone, is insufficient to create the requisite probable cause to search a vehicle under the automobile exception to the warrant requirement, we affirm.”
It amounts to basic human rights that apply—regardless of whether or not a person is addicted to drugs.
Other States do Precisely the Same Regarding Pot Odor as Probably Cause
An Illinois judge ruled in 2021 that the odor of cannabis is not sufficient grounds for police to search a vehicle without a warrant during a traffic stop.
Daniel J. Dalton, Associate Judge of the 14th Judicial Circuit, issued a ruling in response to a motion to suppress evidence in the case of Vincent Molina, a medical cannabis patient arrested for cannabis possession last year.
In that case, Molina was arrested despite the decriminalization of small amounts of cannabis in Illinois in 2019 with the passage of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
In some states, the issue of probable cause and cannabis was defined through bills.
Minnesota is gearing up to be the next state to legalize select psychedelics for medical use. Back in May, Governor Tim Waltz signed two large-scale drug-related bills – one that would create safe drug consumption sites throughout the state, and another that establishes a psychedelics task force that would prepare the state for a possible future legalization.
The task force is made up of 23 members including a handful of veterans, one named Stephan Egan who claims that psychedelics helped him deal with treatment-resistant PTSD and depression. After five combat tours, Egan stated that he felt a lot of anger, frustration, and faced many challenges reassimilating into society. After he began experimenting with magic mushrooms, he felt almost immediately noticeable changes.
“I’m not going to say that my life immediately got better after I took those, you know, that psilocybin,” Egan said. “But I will say I had the opportunity to make my life better because of that experience.” But he says he knows seven former veterans who died by suicide in recent months. “And had they had the ability or the opportunity to experience access to that medicine?” he wondered. “Things could have been different. It’s totally possible.”
Also on the board is Dr. Ranji Varghese, who has been treating a small group of patients with ketamine at his clinic in Eden Prairie. According to Varghese, “Classic antidepressants are lifesavers, but they don’t release the unconscious. Therapy can, but slowly. Psychedelics have a rapid anti-depressant effect and give patients the freedom to address root issues. “It’s going to be a catalyst to allow these fixed and rigid ways of thinking to dissolve temporarily so that unconscious material can sort of bubble up to the surface.”
Added that, “It has a powerful way of inducing something called neuroplasticity which is the brain’s ability for change, and if we can strike while the iron is hot we can perhaps motivate those patients while this plasticity is occurring to engage in behaviors that are pro-social, that are anti-depressant, to basically hardwire the brain into these new ways and patterns and behaviors.”
Other members of the task force include officials and experts, including the governor or a designee, the health commissioner, the state attorney general or a designee, two tribal representatives, people with expertise in substance misuse treatment, public health policy experts, and more.
It seems like Minnesota will be the third state to legalize psychedelics, check back for more updates as soon as they become available!
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A marriage and a lot of dope hash later, Alice and Flynn from Wooksauce Winery are on top of the hash game. Alice has emerged as one the biggest hash names on the planet. Flynn, while not quite as public-facing as Alice, is also widely respected by his peers, clawing his way to the top after first moving west from Minnesota a decade ago. When their skills come together under the Wooksauce, it’s pretty hard to top.
When they won the Emerald Cup’s personal use solventless category in 2022, it felt like more of a coronation than an awards ceremony. Well before that night in Hollywood, Wooksauce Winery was synonymous with six-star hash. Six star is the magic that happens when the best extractors in the world get access to the best material. The resulting hash is not only world class full melt, but also one of the best expressions of a given cannabis strain. That being said, not all strains wash well enough to be commercially viable to make hash. Even if it’s bomb, if the numbers don’t hit right it’s a waste of material.
In addition, that six-star signifier vindicates the process of everyone along each step of the hash being made. For the farmer it shows what’s possible with their fresh frozen material. Once a farm produces material capable of six-star hash it changes everything for them. While freezers sit idle around the state filled with frozen marijuana awaiting processing, the farms that actually produce the best material can’t grow enough of it. Many argue the current number of farms that can produce six-star material is less than a dozen, and some would argue that cutting that number in half is still generous.
For extractors like Wooksauce Winery, producing six-star hash proves they are worthy of having access to the best material. It can’t be overstated how critical that is because competition is brutal. There are new rec market hash companies popping up in California every quarter and there are new trap rosin brands coming up on nearly a daily basis. I wish I was exaggerating. Despite a solventless processing permit being a lot easier to score than a hydrocarbon one because water doesn’t explode, many extractors will never make it to that side of the market.
The Wooksauce duo’s paths began to converge in 2017 after Alice, who is originally from Brazil, came out to California to attend a Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies conference. Following the conference she would head north to Humboldt County where she had her first experience with hash made from fresh frozen material. She’d previously tried hash washed in Brazil, but those first rips of the heat in Humboldt were one of those “talk to god” moments that set her down the path that’s seen her rise to the highest echelons of the hash game in just over half a decade.
She’d head back to Brazil to graduate but wouldn’t stay long.
“I was like ‘I need to learn how to make that.’ So I graduated and I came up one month after I graduated,” Alice told High Times. “I came up here and I kind of, like, never looked back to my degree or anything.”
She worked on cannabis farms in Humboldt upon her return. Eventually Alice and Flynn would realize how close they were to each other and planned to meet up to make hash. Alice was also looking to learn about dry freezers and Flynn said he’d teach her. One of Alice’s pals gave her some pepper spray in the event Flynn was a creep. He wasn’t, but upon meeting Alice dropped the pepper spray out of her purse.
“In my head I was like, ‘Was that to make sure that I knew not to mess around?’” Flynn said of his initial reaction to Alice getting in the car. “This girl was ready.”
In the end Alice traded Flynn a temple ball for some hash. The hash she traded was from her first big wash in California before they met.
But their paths that led to that moment were very different. Alice started making hash in Brazil with friends a decade ago.
“I made some green juice in Brazil, which means I did a very shitty wash in Brazil. The reality in Brazil, it’s like you grow just a small amount of plants,” Alice explained. “So it takes like a few runs and a few cycles for you to gather enough material to do a wash, right?”
Alice emphasized that she came from a more traditional hash world. She smoked spliffs until she linked up with Flynn. We asked Alice if her time back in Brazil before returning to California was tough, since she now knew what was possible with great material.
“I mean, honestly, after I came here for the first time, I’ve never looked back to try to do anything in Brazil. I just kept very much focused on California. I would spend six months of the year here,” Alice said.
Eventually she returned to Humboldt to further her education, moved in with Flynn, and the pair were married in 2020.
Flynn’s journey started in Minnesota. He then would head to Seattle for his freshman year of college and was blown away by how advanced the medical cannabis system in Washington state was.
“When I moved to Seattle, it was 10 light years ahead as far as what was going on, there was a medical system,” Flynn explained. “So I immediately jumped in there and like found my way into buying trim off Craigslist and trying to make bubble hash, then I got a job at a grow store.”
His boss at the grow store would give him trim but unfortunately never froze any of it. Realizing that material was king, Flynn started cultivating in 2012. His first brand back in the day was Flintstone Farms. In 2014 he got the ball rolling on Wooksauce Winery and dabbled in both Washington and California.
“At the end of 2017, I moved from Washington to California and then tried to get a permit in Sonoma County. Sonoma County got all crazy. The property for that didn’t end up working out but luckily I found some partners that I still have and that’s how I got my shop in Humboldt started,” Flynn said.
The headaches in Sonoma also changed the whole format of Wooksauce Winery.
“Previous to that Wooksauce had only ever done single source,” Flynn said.
Single source means they both grew the flower and processed it into hash in-house.
“Now we do a lot more collaborations the last couple of years working with other farmers and stuff like that,” Flynn said. “But that move was basically because we had to stop cultivating under our own deal.”
Alice and Flynn still call Sonoma County home, but they don’t expect to be cultivating again there any time soon.
We asked the pair what some of the biggest surprises have been since the California market entered the legal era. One of the biggest surprises for Flynn was how readily available fresh frozen has become compared to the struggles of the medical cannabis era. He’s also thankful to see the solventless scene expand from his consulting days.
“In my opinion [solventless hash is] becoming much more like a respected SKU on all fronts that even MSOs are paying attention to,” Flynn said. “Like the bigger corporations are trying to put out rosin brands and now [they] all got a rosin pen and all these types of things, bringing it to the larger market.”
One thing the pair has witnessed is the massive consolidation of the industry. We asked if there is any concern about the waves of consolidation impacting the availability of material as farms close. Flynn pointed to his cultivation partnership in Humboldt helping to keep stress low in that regard.
“I mean, I’d say on the legal side that’s why I’m blessed and I thought was a really good thing that my partner has like, you know, 10,000 square feet of cultivation up in Humboldt,” Flynn said.
Alice weighed in on the changes as well.
“There’s a thing about farmers wanting to have a broad spectrum of products coming out of their material nowadays, which is something that I think it’s a little different to like before they were so focused on flower,” Alice said. “Now there are edibles, topicals, also different kinds of hash and I see this big trend from legal and not legal farmers of wanting to make a broad spectrum of products from what whatever it comes from their farms actually even positive for their financial standpoint also because they just have a big variety of products coming out.”
Keep an eye out for Wooksauce Winery to keep winning trophies in 2023.
This article was originally published in the July 2023 issue of High Times Magazine.
Officials in Duluth, Minnesota this week approved an ordinance that will ban smoking marijuana in all city parks.
The passage of the measure came about two weeks after a new state law allowing recreational cannabis use for adults aged 21 and older took effect on August 1.
Minnesota Public Radio reports that the newly passed ordinance “also bans vaping marijuana, and extends a ban on smoking tobacco to all city parks,” although consuming “cannabis in other forms, such as gummies, is still allowed.”
The ordinance was approved by the Duluth City Council on Monday by a vote of 8-1.
“I want to protect clean air for folks in our public spaces and our parks,” said Duluth City Council Vice President Roz Randorf, as quoted by Minnesota Public Radio. “When you’re smoking in public and in parks and in buildings, we really have to think of those folks that are around us that could have health conditions, pre-existing conditions, our youth.”
The lone councilmember to vote against the proposal was Azrin Awal.
“We’ve heard [from] constituents, that they’re worried about smoking taking place in sidewalks. But if they’re not able to go into a public facility, if they can’t smoke in their multifamily or public building, and they can’t go into a public park, what’s left is our sidewalks and streets … where there’s more traffic,” Awal said at Monday’s meeting, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
According to MPR, the city council “tabled an amendment to reduce the maximum $300 fine for violating the ban, but appeared close to agreeing to a new fee structure.”
Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize adult-use cannabis in May, when Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law.
“We’ve known for too long that prohibiting the use of cannabis hasn’t worked. By legalizing adult-use cannabis, we’re expanding our economy, creating jobs, and regulating the industry to keep Minnesotans safe,” Walz said after signing the legislation. “Legalizing adult-use cannabis and expunging or resentencing cannabis convictions will strengthen communities. This is the right move for Minnesota.”
Walz’s lieutenant governor, Peggy Flanagan, echoed those sentiments.
“Legalizing adult-use cannabis is about keeping our communities safe, advancing justice for Minnesotans, and investing in a strong economic future,” said Flanagan. “Prohibiting the use of cannabis hasn’t worked and has disproportionately harmed communities of color across the state. By expunging nonviolent cannabis convictions, we are removing the barriers that prevent thousands of Minnesotans from fully returning to work, to their communities, and to their lives. This is how we make safer communities.”
Although the law officially took effect on August 1, empowering adults to use and possess cannabis, sales are not expected to begin until sometime next year.
An analysis prepared by the nationally recognized cannabis firm Vicente LLP suggested that recreational cannabis sales in Minnesota could generate as much as $1.5 billion annually by 2029.
“Minnesota stands to attract a significant amount of tourist traffic from neighboring states like Iowa and North Dakota, as consumers venture to purchase Minnesota’s cannabis products,” said Brian Vicente, a founding partner at the firm.
New York, which legalized recreational cannabis for adults in 2022, also adopted a measure banning the smoking of pot in state-owned parks and beaches.
“Smoking is a dangerous habit that affects not only the smoker but everyone around them, including families and children enjoying our state’s great public places,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said after signing the legislation into law last summer. “I’m proud to sign this legislation that will protect New Yorkers’ health and help reduce litter in public parks and beaches across the state.”
Sales of regulated adult-use cannabis began in Minnesota on Tuesday with the launch of recreational marijuana sales at a dispensary located on the Red Lake Nation’s tribal lands.
The Red Lake Nation’s foray into the adult-use cannabis market on tribal lands in northwestern Minnesota coincided with the statewide legalization of recreational marijuana. Under legislation approved by state lawmakers and Governor Tim Walz in May, possession of cannabis by adults 21 and older was legalized on August 1, although sales of recreational marijuana at state-licensed dispensaries are not expected to begin until 2025. But as sovereign nations, Minnesota’s Native American communities have the option of regulating cannabis production and sales on tribal lands.
“It’s one of the few advantages that tribal nations have had, an edge on everybody else,” Jerry Loud, who manages operations at the Red Lakes Nation dispensary NativeCare, told WCCO News. “So we’re going to capitalize on this.”
NativeCare was established after the tribe legalized medical marijuana in 2020. The shop began welcoming adult-use cannabis customers on Tuesday, allowing tribal members and non-members aged 21 and up to purchase limited amounts of cannabis products. Tribal Secretary Sam Strong said he barely slept Monday night, anticipating Minnesota’s launch of regulated cannabis sales and the end of marijuana “prohibition.”
“It’s a big day,” Strong said. “It’s the end of this war on drugs that was really meant to repress minorities. So it’s only fitting that the Native American tribes are participating in this industry — we’ve been harmed most by the war on drugs. Now it’s time to flip that script and create an economic development venture that can help heal our community.”
Minnesota Legalized Weed In May
Walz signed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana on May 30, making the state the 23rd in the nation to legalize cannabis for adults. The bill, which was approved by the Minnesota legislature on May 20, allows adults 21 and older to use marijuana recreationally and to possess up to two ounces of cannabis in a public place, going into effect on August 1.
The legislation also legalizes the possession of up to two pounds of marijuana in a private residence and the limited home cultivation of cannabis by adults aged 21 and older. Under the legislation, adults are allowed to grow up to eight cannabis plants at home, including four mature, flowering plants and four immature plants.
Minnesota’s marijuana legalization bill also legalizes commercial cannabis activity, with regulated sales of recreational marijuana coming after rules are drafted and approved by the Office of Cannabis Management, a new state agency created by the legislation. The new agency will also regulate medical marijuana and cannabis products derived from hemp.
State agencies have set a target date of May 2024 to begin accepting applications for adult-use cannabis retailers, with dispensary sales of recreational marijuana anticipated to start in January 2025. Once regulated sales of recreational marijuana begin, adults will be permitted to purchase up to two ounces of cannabis, eight grams of cannabis concentrate and edible products containing up to 800 milligrams of THC, the cannabis compound largely responsible for the classic marijuana “high.”
Native American Dispensaries Taking First Shot At Market
The Red Lake Nation and at least one additional Native American community are taking the lead on regulated sales of adult-use cannabis with their own enterprises. Charles Goodwin, an enrolled member of the Red Lake Nation, made the first recreational purchase at the tribe’s dispensary. He told the Star Tribune that the day was a “long time coming” and that the dispensary is a “huge step forward” for the community.
At least one other Native American community also plans to regulate sales of adult-use cannabis on tribal lands. Last week, the Tribal Council for the White Earth Nation, also in northwestern Minnesota, voted to legalize recreational marijuana, with sales of cannabis beginning at a dispensary on its tribal lands expected to begin in the first half of August. White Earth Chairman Michael Fairbanks said that selling cannabis grown on the reservation represents a significant opportunity for the tribe. He expects the enterprise to be able to produce high-quality cannabis and sell for prices that are lower than the coming competition.
“It’s good not just for our constituents, but it’s good for all Minnesotans,” Fairbanks said in a statement to the Minnesota Reformer.
The citizens of White Earth Nation voted in 2020 to legalize medical marijuana and planned to open its dispensary in Mahnomen, about 35 miles north of Detroit Lakes, to patients on Monday. Sales of recreational marijuana to tribal members and non-members aged 21 and up are slated to begin shortly thereafter.
However, the tribal dispensaries selling recreational marijuana will not be convenient for most Minnesotans. The reservations for both Ojibwe tribes are not near the state’s largest population centers, requiring a drive of more than three hours from Duluth and four hours or more from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Minnesota legalized cannabis, and as a result, some dogs are out of a job. Canine officers such as Jango, a 9-year-old German shepherd, and Cobra, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois, are set to retire soon after the law goes into effect on August 1, Capt. Ryan Mangan said, according to USA Today.
These pups are the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office’s only K-9s left trained to detect cannabis. Police dogs across the country are losing work as departments like Mangan’s no longer teach them how to smell your weed. If cannabis legalization continues to spread, it’s likely that these departments will never offer this class again. Meanwhile, cats are curled up at home, unaware that some animals actually have to work for a living.
Jango and Cobra are good old dogs (even police dogs are good dogs) already at the end of their careers. Their early retirement, which they get to begin enjoying after switching departments into patrol work, starts in September. Congrats to Jango and Cobra. If the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office is reading this, please don’t forget to throw them a proper cop retirement party.
But while doggos like Jango and Cobra may be out of a job, police are still interested in the canine job market. There are still plenty of illegal drugs, from cocaine to opioids, for them to sniff out with their cute snouts. However, apparently, you can’t untrain a dog. So any canine officers who pick up the smell of weed are getting sacked. They could compromise searches and get human cops in trouble.
While police dogs’ ability to snitch based on smelling cannabis smoke has been well-utilized by police departments, the skill set came with risks even before cannabis legalization swept the country.
Cannabis is also now legal in Maryland. According to Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble, per USA Today, a 2005 Supreme Court decision means that if a dog detects drugs during a traffic stop, the officer has probable cause to search your car without a warrant. He adds that when a dog smelled weed in his jurisdiction, it could often lead to the discovery of illegal firearms or other drugs.
However, should these searches lead to court, the search could be challenged if the dog was trained in detecting cannabis. This is why Raven, a very good Labrador retriever, was sent into retirement on July 1st. Then, there’s poor Kato, who was shuffled into patrol work just like Jango and Cobra in Minnesota. Kato now faces either retirement or being sold to a police department in a state where cannabis is still illegal.
“We just don’t need the headache of defense attorneys,” Gamble said.
Apparently, police dogs try very hard to be good police dogs and please their human cops. Lawrence Myers, a retired Auburn University professor who has studied detection dogs, told USA Today that while the dogs are a “great tool,” they are also susceptible to bias. A 2019 investigation by the Louisville Courier Journal found that in nearly half of the 139 traffic stops since 2017 in which drug K-9s suggested the presence of narcotics inside a vehicle, none were found.
“I’ve been an expert witness on I have no idea how many cases involving all sorts of things including drugs,” Myers said. “And in some cases, I’m afraid certain officers have viewed the dog as a search warrant on a leash.”
If you’d like to help a former cop dog, check out Mission K9. While many police pups are adopted by their handlers, the organization can even help you adopt a retired dog, in addition to offering rehabilitation services. Aside from helping these pups transition back to dog-civilian life, they even help rehabilitate the very brave police dogs who survived trauma while on the job.
Minneapolis, Minnesota is set to become a haven for people who turn to psychedelics for depression, anxiety, and other conditions.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced that he had signed an executive order on July 21, supporting entheogenic plant practices and ordering law enforcement to deprioritize the practice of arresting people caught with psychedelic compounds. It’s the mayor’s first executive order in 2023 and his fifth under his administration.
Executive Order 2023-01 requires the investigation and arrest of people planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, and engaging in practices with, or possessing entheogenic plants or plant compounds to be the “lowest priority for law enforcement” in Minneapolis.
“Regardless of the stigma attached, when you look at the science behind the benefits of entheogens, it all points in one direction,” said Mayor Frey. “Experts are telling us that these plants help people, and that’s the business we should be in—helping people. With a rise in deaths of despair in our city, and in our society, the data is showing that these plants can help be a remedy. That’s the message I hope this executive order sends elsewhere.”
Executive Order 2023-21 does not legalize use of entheogenic plants, and exemptions that are still prosecutable include:
The commercial sales or manufacturing of these plants or fungi
Possessing or distributing these materials in schools
Possessing or distributing these materials while driving, operating, or being in physical control of a motor vehicle or possessing a weapon while under the influence of these materials
Last May, Mayor Frey signed legislation including provisions to legalize drug paraphernalia possession, syringe services, residue, and testing.
In May, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed a bill that included provisions to create a psychedelics task force meant to prepare the state for possible legalization.
“I recognize that many of our community members see benefits in using these natural substances for health or religious purposes, and with this Executive Order, Mayor Frey has directed the Minneapolis Police Department to join agencies nationwide in continuing to deemphasize law enforcement activities related to use of entheogenic plants,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara. “I stand with the mayor in support of this action and will ensure the MPD continues to maintain the safety of all residents and community members.”
The racial disparity of psychedelics arrests mirrors the patterns seen in cannabis arrests.
“This is an important first step to undo all the harms inflicted from the war on people who use drugs, which was created to target brown and black peoples,” said Jessica Nielson, PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota and founding member of the DecriMN Coalition. “These natural medicines and their use by Indigenous peoples predate any of these laws. Individual liberty over one’s own health and consciousness is essential to a well community, as is the community healing that can occur with these entheogens.”
Researchers are exploring the use of psilocybin to reorganize patterns in the brain to help treat depression, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, esketamine was approved and elevated to Schedule III by the FDA to help people with treatment-resistant depression.
“A generation ago these plants were carelessly condemned as part of the broader war on drugs. Science now knows better, and policymakers ought to respond by regulating these in a different way,” said Council Member Andrew Johnson, Ward 12. “Deprioritization is a great step, and it’s exciting to see Minneapolis among the leading cities [nationally] calling for a commonsense approach in light of all the data.”
Nearly a dozen Minnesota cities have passed laws to temporarily ban recreational marijuana dispensaries from opening in their jurisdictions as a new state law legalizing adult-use cannabis is poised to go into effect. Minnesota lawmakers passed the bill, which legalizes marijuana for adults aged 21 and older, in May, and the legislation is slated to go into effect on August 1.
Minnesota’s cannabis legalization bill allows adults 21 and older to use marijuana recreationally and to possess up to two ounces of cannabis in a public place, beginning on August 1. The bill also legalizes the possession of up to two pounds of marijuana in a private residence and the limited home cultivation of cannabis by adults aged 21 and older. Under the legislation, adults would be allowed to grow up to eight cannabis plants at home, including four mature, flowering plants.
The bill also legalizes commercial cannabis activity, with regulated sales of recreational marijuana coming after rules are drafted and approved by the Office of Cannabis Management, a new state agency created by the legislation. The new agency will also regulate medical marijuana and cannabis products derived from hemp.
The law also gives local governments some control over cannabis businesses that locate within their jurisdictions, including limiting the number of cannabis retailers that can set up shop within a town’s city limits to one retailer per every 12,500 residents, with a minimum of one dispensary. But outright bans on dispensaries are not allowed.
State lawmakers included provisions barring local governments from banning cannabis businesses after local control laws in other states led to so-called cannabis deserts, where consumers had little or no access to legal cannabis. Jason Tarasek, an attorney at the cannabis law practice Vicente LLP who manages the firm’s Minnesota office, said that he is “grateful that the Minnesota state legislators paid careful attention to the failed policies in those states that allowed local governments to prevent cannabis businesses from operating in their jurisdictions.”
“By precluding local governments from opting out, yet giving municipalities power to regulate the time, place and manner of the operations of cannabis businesses, Minnesota is much more likely to put the illicit market out of business in every corner of the state,” he added.
Cities Passing Temporary Bans on Retail Sales
State agencies have set a target date of May 2024 to begin accepting applications for adult-use cannabis retailers, according to a report from Minnesota Public Radio News, with dispensary sales of recreational marijuana anticipated to start in January 2025. But with the legalization of possession only days away, many cities are taking steps to temporarily ban retail sales of cannabis until state regulations take effect.
In Rochester, Minnesota, city leaders are considering a prohibition on retail cannabis sales until January 2025. If the ban is approved, the city would join at least 10 others that have passed similar temporary bans on retail cannabis sales. Rochester city clerk Kelly Geistler says the temporary ban will give the city council time to decide what kind of rules governing cannabis businesses are appropriate for the community.
“We’re really just trying to preserve the space to get our ordinance in order so that we can be in lockstep with the state when they kick off their function, which they don’t have a prescribed date,” Geistler said in a statement to Minnesota Public Radio News. “But they have indicated that that’s likely to be January 2025.”
City officials in Mankato, Minnesota have also recently approved a temporary ban on cannabis retailers, with city manager Susan Arntz noting that local officials will have less influence over cannabis rules compared with other regulated products.
“It’s a completely different process,” Arntz said. “In this case, the city is less involved in the licensing, whereas with alcohol and tobacco, we are more involved.”
But she added that cities will be responsible for enforcing licenses once they have been issued by state regulators.
“Until the rules are published, you know, there’s a lot of unknowns,” she said.
In Minnesota, the Red Lake Nation council recently voted on July 11 to legalize adult-use cannabis starting on August 1. After that date, cannabis will be legal to purchase both for tribe and non-tribe members.
Legal recreational cannabis will become purchasable across Minnesota starting on August 1, although retail dispensaries will not be allowed to open for 12 to 18 months. First, state officials must create a regulatory foundation for dispensary licensing.
According to the Minnesota Reformer, the Red Lake Nation already has an operating medical cannabis dispensary, called NativeCare. After August 1, NativeCare will begin selling recreational cannabis, which puts the tribe in a unique position to benefit to become the state’s first recreational dispensary.
The only caveat is that the Red Lake Nation is located in the state’s Northern region. It’s about 30 minutes from Bemidji (south of Red Lake Nation), approximately three hours from Moorhead (on the western border) and Duluth (located on the eastern border), and four hours from the Twin Cities—aka Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the state’s two largest cities.
According to Red Lake Nation tribal secretary Sam Strong, selling legal cannabis offers many benefits for its tribal members. “We see this as a resource not only to reduce harm, but to also bring in resources to help our people recover,” Strong said in regard to cannabis’ ability to curb opioid addiction. Currently, the Red Lake Nation prohibits alcohol use on the reservation.
Strong also added that the tribe’s medical cannabis already meets state quality standards, including tests that verify it is free of contaminants. More information will be shared for cannabis consumers before the end of July.
However, he cautioned that state officials will need some time to get things rolling. “We’ll be getting some people into the positions to be able to run this,” Walz continued. “But I assure Minnesotans that a lot of thought has gone into this. A lot of the things learned in other states are incorporated into how we do this, and the thoughtfulness around this legislation gives us a really good guiding principle.”
In June, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz had announced that state tribes could get ahead with the pending cannabis legalization sales date. “I have toured the facility up in White Earth. It is a world class operation,” Walz said about the White Earth Nation tribe. “They have thought deeply about this.” According to the state’s recreational cannabis law, the governor can negotiate compacts with state tribes if they seek to take advantage of cannabis sales, but also “acknowledges the sovereign right of Minnesota Tribal governments” to regulate their cannabis industries even without a compact.
Early projections of Minnesota’s cannabis industry show that it could collect more than $1.5 billion per year by 2029, with more than 700,000 adult-use and medical cannabis patients in the state. Part of the newly passed recreational cannabis law allows low-dose hemp-derived THC beverages to be sold in liquor stores.
A handful of other Native American tribes across the U.S. that have embraced medical and/or recreational cannabis. In December 2020, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in New York formed a partnership with MMJ BioPharma Cultivation with the intention of dedicating 20 acres of land to cannabis cultivation. In July 2021, the South Dakota-based Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe was the first in the U.S. to legalize cannabis after the Department of Justice published a cannabis memo back in 2014.