Confiscated pot plants in Faribault reveal hazy cannabis laws

A local cannabis business owner is blazin’ mad after his pot plants were confiscated in Faribault.

Matt Little, a partner at Midwest Extraction Services in Waseca, says local law enforcement on Tuesday raided Total Tobacco, where 22 plants were being held at a smoke shop for customer pickup.

The Faribault Police Department says officers responded to “several citizen complaints” regarding a local business selling marijuana plants during a parking lot tent sale just on August 1.

Police say the plants they seized were labeled by strain or by THC concentration that exceeds the limit allowed for legally grown industrial hemp. “Officers investigated the incident as a violation of Minnesota’s newly enacted marijuana statutes, and seized the plants based on probable cause,” says a press release.  No arrests were made.

Little says the plants were grown under the Minnesota hemp license.  Home growing became legal on August 1, but the laws on how the public could obtain the plants are ambiguous.

Little said counsel advised the business that they were within their rights to sell a plant as long as it didn’t have the .3% THC.   So the 22 plants were held at the Total Tobacco for distribution.

Little said he was on the phone with the shop owners as officers showed up to confiscate the plants.  He says police refused to speak with him on the phone when he requested to talk to an officer.  When he contacted dispatch and asked for a commanding officer, he said he was told they were attending the Night to Unite block party and were unavailable.

After contacting the city council and attorney and showing up in person at the Faribault police station, Little said he was finally able to meet with Chief of Police John Sherwin.

“John and I had a great conversation; I get where he’s coming from,” said Little. “It really does come from an educational standpoint.  It’s very unclear which laws are out there and what you can and cannot legally do.”

“The Faribault Police Department is committed to supporting businesses engaged in the legal sale of cannabis and cannabis-related products once the Minnesota Office of Cannabis Management is established,” said Sherwin in a written statement.  “Until that time, unauthorized sales of cannabis will be investigated in accordance with state law.”

Little says he’s hoping to see more clear rules and regulations, but also to have more conversations to educate law enforcement and municipalities.

Little has requested the return of his plants, which are valued at about $2,000.

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