Yesterday in the Senate Agriculture, Broadband and Rural Development Committee SF0073 received its fourth hearing and passed on a 5-4 party line vote. The bulk of the opposition, which we believe will be a consistent posture for the Republican Minority is to be a bone of contention and constant critic of anything moving forward. Sen Torey Westrom (R-12, Elbow Lake) the Ranking Minority Member on the committee played his role well as the chief critic and sought to separate the idea of cannabis as a run of the mill cash crop. He sought to differentiate this agriculture product from apples, eggs or raw milk. He referred many times to Minnesota Constitution, Article 13, Section 7 – No license required to peddle. Any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license therefor.
To view the hearing in its entirety click here.
If this Constitutional language were to be fully applied, then Westrom is right, cannabis or hemp is just another agricultural product and should be treated as such, but because of the psychotropic components in its flowers and seeds calls for special treatment are underway. The concept of Refer Madness is still a strong cultural component. The fact marijuana is federally listed as a Schedule 1 Narcotic is a existing impediment in states seeking legalization.
As we listened to the testimony, it was clear growers sought differentiation in another fashion, between Cannabis plants, those which produce high dosages of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) versus Hemp plants which produce CBD (Cannabidiol). It was clearly stated the two plants are related and can through crossbreeding blur the lines, but through strict segregation and isolation the two can maintain their unique integrity.
The oppositional debate raged in many ways from indoors growing systems to vast amounts of water usage. The growing cycle of an indoor growing operation can products as many as five harvestings and consume large amount of water. The shift from an open are seasonal growth system which benefits from a naturally occurring cycle of wind and rain the high use of pesticides and herbicides to an enclosed semi-sterilized environment is a dramatic shift in the concept of farming, and hard for some to get their heads around.
One of the fundamentals is a concept of hot and cold. Hot is a product with a high dosage of THC versus Cold which contains low dosage of THC and is mainly CBD. The merging technologies when applied are viewed by some as counter to the general farming concept and potentially are “unnatural” and a violation of Natural Law. In spite of its biblical ramifications, Minnesota has grown “Hot House” flowers, tomatoes, asparagus and other various fruits and vegetables for decades. This has prevented a complete and total dependence on consumption of canned or frozen foods or states like California or Florida for all of our fresh produce.
The concept of an open field farm is beginning to go by-the-buy and the erection of multilevel enclosures doting the rural landscape are emerging. The ability to grown year-round and production of a variety of crops is already underway, but when it comes to a mood-altering plant the handbrake is applied vociferously.
The adult use of cannabis, though contrary to some people’s thinking is not, a means to create a drug addled mind of zombies, or in this case Democrats, but rather it allows the adult to consume whatever they choose, and it’s clear prohibition has not worked in regards to alcohol, hence the repeal of the Volstead Act in 1933, or in this instance and the vast waste of financial resources spent on the fictitious Drug War.
We are surprised in reading the House Companion HF0100, and the strong reliance on a three-tier system seeking to separate growers, and retailers and wrongly seek to create intermediaries, distributors, to erect artificial walls. The distributors should be the growers, and so should the retailers, if they so choose. This is reminiscent of the Surly Law in 2011, which allowed for Brew Pubs to exist rather than just tasting rooms. This created a new industry in our state and is the better model to follow.