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Hubbard County's social host ordinance to include marijuana, controlled substances

Hubbard County wishes to amend its social host ordinance to include marijuana and controlled substances, in addition to the traditional alcohol restriction.

A public hearing is slated for 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, March 3 at the Hubbard County Government Center.

County Attorney Jonathan Frieden told county commissioners, “Given the way that marijuana may or may not go in the future, it should still be included under that ordinance that if you’re having a party where underage are using marijuana that you are criminally responsible, and that’s what this does, just like if it were a party where alcohol was being served.” He asked the county board to set the public hearing.

The revised ordinance states “alcohol, marijuana and other controlled substances are addictive drugs, which, if used irresponsibly, could have drastic effects on those who use them as well as those who are affected by the actions of the irresponsible user.”

A controlled substance is defined as “a drug, substance or immediate precursor in Schedules I through V of Minnesota Statute 152.02.”

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The ordinance defines marijuana/cannabis as “all parts, as a whole or in part, of the cannabis plant, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin, and concentrated marijuana. The prohibition herein includes marijuana in any form including, but not limited to, cigarettes, vapor, food products or any other product of marijuana that can be smoked or ingested.”

Board chair Char Christenson noted that the proposed definition of marijuana is “pretty specific.”

“It should be more easily enforceable because of that,” Frieden said.

County commissioner Ted Van Kempen asked, if marijuana does become legal in Minnesota, if the ordinance would need to be changed.

“Depending on what the state does and what ultimately happens federally, that may need to be changed, but I doubt it,” Frieden replied. “I do believe marijuana is always going to be a controlled substance, it’s just going to be controlled differently.”

Even if marijuana was made legal statewide, “you, as county commissioners, can still regulate it, especially when we’re talking about our youth and that’s what this ordinance is aimed at,” Frieden continued.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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