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MN to Weed Companies: TH C-You-in-Court

Plus flaming slumlords, ye olde Ren Fest parking woes, and locally angled viral moments in today's Flyover.

Weeeeeed.
Elsa Olofsson via Unsplash

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

MN Sues Companies Over Alleged Kid-Friendly Killer Weed Gummies

It was bound to happen eventually: Minnesota is suing two THC retailers and one manufacturer over weed gummies, accusing them of selling edibles that exceed the outlined potency limits and appeal to children because they’re gummy bear shaped. Regulators say a 23 year-old man died and five high schoolers got sick (two of them were hospitalized) after consuming the unfortunately named Death by Gummy Bears, a product of Wonky Confections LLC distributed by Northland Vapor. The suit, filed by Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office on behalf of the Board of Pharmacy, alleges that the company had more than 140,000 packages of edibles with as much as 100 milligrams of THC per serving at its Moorhead-based warehouse—the legal limit, you may recall, is 5 mg per serving.

Noooow importantly, as Fox 9’s Theo Keith outlines in this thread, no cause of death has yet been determined in the 23 year old’s passing. If he did die of a THC overdose somehow, that would make his death the first-ever THC death reported. Every few years, a new “death by weed” story pops up, as Popular Science reported when it dove into the subject a few years ago. Weed-related hospitalizations can and do happen, due to panic/anxiety attacks, passing out, or rapid heart rate, but no marijuana death has literally ever been confirmed. Though uh, speaking from experience… yes, 100 mg of THC would be more than enough to send a panicked high schooler to the ER.

Slumlord’s Dangerous Empire Being Reduced to Ashes, Presumably Jumbo Insurance Payouts

Miraculously, nobody was injured early Saturday when flames engulfed the vacant building at 2313 Lyndale Ave. S., the Star Tribune reports, even as a squatter had to leap to safety from the second story. Readers of Southwest Voices were already familiar with the property’s owner, C. David George, owner of another vacant building that burned down this past September in Loring Park. (George declined to speak with the Strib then or now.) Writing for SWV, writer H. Jiahong Pan surfaced the 128 code violations the slumlord had racked up over the years, including dozens for the recently scorched apartment complex. “I do not feel safe where I live,” a renter, who lives next door at yet another George-owned property, told Pan. “I do not feel safe sleeping not 15 feet away from a major fire hazard. And when winter comes and they start trying to keep warm? And who is making sure the gas is off? Explosion or fire is my biggest fear.” It would seem that a core responsibility of any city is keeping the infrastructure from exploding into infernos. But, when landlords and developers de facto run city hall, that sort of base-level accountability doesn’t always materialize.

Huzzah! Ren Fest’s Traffic Sucked Even Harder Last Year

Have you ever been to the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee? Then you know that sitting in gridlocked traffic for 2-ish hours before getting there is part of the ye olde experience. (True story: One year my friend and I opted to get out and walk several miles to the event, because the couple we were hitching a ride from got in a fight. We got there long before them.) This past summer/fall, traffic in the area was so epic that Scott County is considering revoking the festival’s event permit. What made it so bad this year? Apparently Mid-America Festivals, which puts on the fair, lost about 10% of its parking and failed to warn the county.

The Ren Fest attracts over 300,000 people each year, making it one of the most popular event of its kind in the nation. While the money is great for the area–and the state–residents and business owners explained at a recent hearing that the traffic is disruptive. According to the Strib, business owner Bob Pieper estimates that “80% of businesses in Louisville Township shut down during the 2022 festival weekends because no one could get to them.” The event, which has been at its current site since 1973, will meet with Scott County to discuss solutions in January. In the meantime, let’s all take a moment to laugh about how bad the traffic would have been if Shakopee had gotten the Vikings Stadium deal.

Dun-dun! Local Save-the-Date Notice Goes Viral

Kelly Heenan and John Damask are getting married next summer in St. Paul, and the bride wants Law & Order star Chris Meloni to know all about it. Why? Because Heenan styled the save-the-date notice in the unmistakable logo font of Law & Order, the endlessly watchable NBC drama/copaganda series. She even invited Meloni to the celebration Saturday via Twitter, to which he blurted: “And do what?” (Former Racket sex columnist Dan Savage seized the moment and responded to the Hollywood hunk with: “Both of them, obvs.”)

Amid the viral hoopla, Heenan felt compelled to address folks who reacted in horror to the notion of a bloody, sticky L&A-themed wedding. “Can’t believe I have to say this, but the actual wedding theme is NOT Law & Order. That’s just the save the dates,” she wrote. “The theme is ‘Palace of Versailles meets Rainforest Café,’ which I’m told is equally absurd but trust me there’s a *vision*.” We reached out to Heenan for a quote, and, honestly, an invite, but didn’t hear immediately back.