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Even Cheech & Chong Want THC Tips From Minnesota Brewers

Plus following the Feed Our Future trail, yoga studio owner dies, and good news for adoptees in today's Flyover news roundup.

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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

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"Minnesota, of all places, has become the hottest market for low-dose, hemp-derived THC beverages in the country—and likely anywhere else, including Canada and Europe." So begins this story from Chris Casacchia of the cannabis industry website MJBizDaily. Casacchia writes that our low-dose TCH bev market is "booming," likely topping $1 million in monthly sales while reducing the stigma around marijuana use and becoming a big money maker for local small businesses and breweries. Now, national brands are even looking for THC seltz insight from Minnesota makers—Cheech & Chong’s Cannabis Co. in California, for example, has partnered with Surly and Bent Paddle Brewing Co. on their growing line of low-dose drinks.

“It has exposed an entire state of consumers to the fact that they can purchase these products the same way they can purchase alcohol,” Leili Fatehi of Blunt Strategies, a Minneapolis-based government relations and communications firm, tells MJBizDaily. “And the sky hasn’t fallen. If anything, we’re seeing that consumers are much more prepared and comfortable engaging in conversations, learning about the products and approaching them safely.”

How Deep Does Feeding Our Future Scandal Go? 

That’s more or less the question broached Thursday by Minnesota Reformer’s inimitable Deena Winter. After sifting through state records and corporate filings, the Reformer determined that 30 businesses and 26 people with ties to the Feeding Our Future scandal—which involves at least 60 people at the nonprofit stealing $250 million federal dollars intended to feed kids during COVID-19—have received tens of millions in state funds for other services over the past dozen years. So, as the U.S. Department of Justice pursues the largest pandemic-era fraud case, prosecutors must now widen the scope of their investigation. “I know they’re looking at adult daycare issues,” Thomas Brever, a lawyer repping a FOF defendant, tells the Reformer. (U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger didn’t provide comment.) The Minnesota Department of Human Services, the agency with the most Feeding Our Future overlap, goes to great lengths to stress the “concerning and serious” nature of fraud, telling Winter that roughly half of the people indicted in the federal case “have no record of working in current DHS-funded services.” To which the reporter points out: What about the other half? For lots more smoke that seems to indicate additional fire, check out the whole story.

Modo Yoga Owner Facing Sexual Assault Charges Dies

In May, Phil Doucette, the former owner of Modo Yoga Minneapolis, was charged with the sexual assault of a child in Canada. Yesterday, an email went out to studio members saying that Doucette has died at the age of 48. No cause of death was shared. Ottawa police alleged that Doucette committed the assaults between 1998 and 2001 while he worked at a Youth Leadership Camp near London, Ontario. After the news of the charges broke, others shared their own alleged experiences with Doucette on social media. Former Yoga Mondo instructor Callie Knoblauch, who shared the email on Facebook, also posted a message that included the following: “Phil has countless victims, most who once considered him a friend, confidant, mentor, and teacher-some considered him family.” 

Coming Soon: Big Changes for Adoptees Seeking Info

In July of 2024, Minnesota will make a massive change to how birth records for adopted kids are handled: Once they turn 18, they’ll be able to look up their original birth certificate—whether or not the parent consents. This means adoptees can start to fill in the blanks of their origins, from their birthdate to their birth mother’s name. There are limits to this data—in some cases, especially older ones, the father’s name might be missing. But still, it’s a massive win for adults looking to connect with their birth families or simply have a name. “I think people are finally recognizing the human right to know who you are, and where you came from,” Gregory Luce, a Minneapolis attorney who was also adopted, tells Tim Nelson at MPR. “And making adoption secret in this way, making birth secret in this way, is just an anachronism. It’s a human rights issue. It’s found its day, it’s found its advocates, and it is currently now a real movement.”

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