Music

THC sales are already a thing at Minnesota music festivals, likely soon at venues, too

That didn’t take long.

Just a few weeks since sales of THC-infused edibles and drinks rather surprisingly became legal in Minnesotastands are popping up at music festivals around the state.

Following the July 1 change in state law, the newly available products — laced with a limited amount of the ingredient that sparks a high from marijuana — will also likely soon be commonplace at indoor music venues.

Country music fans lined up for $10 THC gummies and THC cocktails at the Twin Cities Summer Jam in Shakopee two weekends ago. They will have the option to do so again at the sprawling WE Fest music camp-out in Detroit Lakes this weekend (Aug. 4-6).

“[A festival] is a great way to introduce Minnesotans to this stuff and educate them on it,” said Matt Little, co-founder of Waseca-based CBD Centers.

Little’s stand at the Blake Shelton-headlined Summer Jam was rather tellingly set up next to Busch Light and Southern Comfort booths. Fans in cowboy hats and pro-Trump T-shirts lined up to buy the goods, often with lots of questions and a few giggles.

THC is not just for hippies anymore.

“The old stereotypes of who’s into it are going away fast,” Little noted.

First Avenue’s operators also said they are exploring options to begin selling THC edibles and drinks at some of their six Twin Cities venues.

“We are still working through proper procedures regarding service, but we are definitely interested in offering these products,” said general manager Nate Kranz.

Kranz sees the products as a safe and viable alternative to alcohol, which has always been music venues’ main revenue source but has proven less reliable in recent years.

“There is no doubt that the younger adults these days do not drink nearly as much as the generations before them,” he said.

The operators of the south Minneapolis nonprofit music hub Hook & Ladder are also eyeing THC sales as a way to generate alternative revenue and please their customers.

“Depending on final pricing and the product mix offered, we could see THC sales outpace traditional beverage sales at concert events within a very short period,” said Chris Mozena, executive director at the Hook & Ladder. But he admitted he was guessing, too, calling it “a new world.”

To test the waters — and to clear them — the Hook & Ladder is hosting the so-called Legalization Celebration on Aug. 19 with live music and a dozen different vendors.

At least one well known Minneapolis music venue was already selling edibles as of last week, and its owner reported brisk sales.

“We are all flying blindly here,” Palmer’s Bar owner Tony Zaccardi said, “but why not give it a whirl?”

These venue owners all believe there’s nothing in the newly changed state laws — at least for now — that requires extra licensing or oversight to sell THC products. Liquor stores have also been selling the stuff. The only known hangup so far is that some smaller cities in the state are starting to pass bans on THC sales.

Because the potency level of THC products sold in Minnesota must be kept under .3% by weight and/or 5 milligrams per edible — about half of what the limits are in most other marijuana-legalizing states — those in the THC business believe music festivals and concerts with several hours of entertainment are a good place for inexperienced customers to try out the goods.

Outside of Mike Drummer’s THC stand at Summer Jam, customers gave a universal thumbs-up to the products being sold.

“You can definitely feel it and taste it, but it’s not overwhelming,” said a customer named Cassidy, who had come back for her second THC-infused lemonade.

Cassidy laughed about not wanting to provide her full name, even though — as of a few weeks ago — she was not doing anything illegal.

“It’s still not something you want your mom to see your name in the local newspaper for.”

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