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THC beverage makers worried about being left out of Minnesota's new cannabis bill

Brewers worried about bill to legalize marijuana
Brewers worried about bill to legalize marijuana 01:55

MINNEAPOLIS – East Lake Craft Brewery has been pouring beers inside of Midtown Global Market since 2014, but in the last year they've seen a surge in sales from their THC drink "High & Dry."

"It's been great because new people are coming in, people we've never seen before," said Ryan Pitman, owner of East Lake Craft Brewery, "It's been a good seller for us."

However, the current Cannabis Bill has language that could leave his business behind.

"Under current Minnesota law, brewers are allowed to create beverages that are based on hemp, that qualify for federal tax benefits and are not subject to the anti-marijuana laws at the federal level," said Ryan Winkler, the former House Majority Leader, and now the chair of "Minnesota is Ready," which is a coalition that's backing this bill.

Winkler says the current language doesn't distinguish between hemp-derived and marijuana-derived THC.  


"I think the biggest concern is making sure that we are not mixing up their hemp-based business model in with the federal restrictions related to marijuana," said Winkler.

Winkler is the original author of the cannabis bill. He says he'll fight to fix the language as it moves through the House and Senate.

"I think it's a very high likelihood that before this bill passes, most, if not all of those issues will be addressed," said Winkler.

These brewers are holding out hope that they can keep pouring their THC seltzers.

"They can sort of fix things up, shore up the policy and regulation, but I'm hoping they can find a way to let us all coexist," said Pitman.

This bill still has to move through several Senate and House committees before it even gets to the House floor for a possible vote. That process could take several months.

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