Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
The Backlash Begins?
Well, we kinda guessed this would happen. Earlier this month the state of Minnesota passed legislation OKing the sale of THC products, but leaving the industry fairly unregulated. Now several cities are stepping in to temporarily halt sales while they prepare regs of their own. Stillwater was ahead of the game, as Racket reported in November, responding to some earlier legal gray areas about edible sales by passing its moratorium. (At the time, Jason Tarasek, an attorney with the Minnesota Cannabis Association, correctly theorized Stillwater City Council believed the legalization of adult-use marijuana is imminent in Minnesota, “and because of that, they’re putting a moratorium on CBD shops, because they feel that those will soon become pot dispensaries.”)
“We’re not saying, ‘We hate weed,'” Ted Kozlowski, Stillwater’s mayor, told the Strib’s Jenny Berg, sounding like he’s afraid the stoners are going to pants him after school. (At least he didn’t call recreational marijuana use “evil,” like Waite Park mayor Rick Miller did.) Other cities that have adopted moratoria include Marshall and St. Joseph. Not to be all Gummy Madness about this, but some basic consumer protection laws do seem in order here. After all, remember what happened to poor Jay!
“What am I gonna do — break into City Hall with a flashlight?” That, Hennepin County public defender Abigail Cerra tells the Minnesota Reformer, is the only way she could have acquired the disciplinary records for a cop who’d clashed with her client in 2013. The city sure wasn’t about to turn them over. Cerra didn’t learn that the officer in question had extensive complaints against him until the Reformer investigated the MPD’s disciplinary process earlier this year—long after her client’s conviction. The Reformer’s indefatigable Deena Winter did some additional digging into the Minnesota Department of Human Rights report on the MPD and realized this was hardly an isolated incident. In fact, local prosecutors are habitually failing to fulfill their legal obligation to share evidence favorable to the defense. And that’s no small oversight—it’s a real good way to get a conviction overturned. “Law and order” at its finest.
MN United FC Is Allegedly Union-Busting
Two weeks ago, we brought you news of the 35-person gameday crew at Allianz Field unionizing with IATSE 745. At the time, the big question was, as it typically is with this sort of thing, whether Minnesota United FC brass would voluntarily recognize the union, thus removing the need for an election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Ownership was apparently not impressed with their workers flexing muscle. On Wednesday, the fledgling union alleged that the team’s CEO, ex-Best Buy chief Shari Ballard, has hired union-busting law firm Littler Mendelson P.C., the Bay Area-based legal creeps tasked with squashing labor efforts at Amazon and Starbucks. “[The team] will undoubtedly be spending significant sums of money to fight us when it would be cheaper to start negotiating a contract,” the union wrote in a statement. “As fans and employees of the team we are saddened and disappointed by this behavior.” While unfortunate, MN United’s reaction is predictable. For all its rainbow-washing, the purportedly progressive franchise is owned by the former leader of a ghoulish healthcare profiteer, Bill McGuire, the former CEO of UnitedHealth Group. As we’re constantly reminded, brands have one value, no matter what their PR departments claim: the bottom line. Racket, of course, being the lone exception.
There’s a Cougar Making Its Way Through Shakopee
No, we’re not talking about a sexy lady of a certain age and sophistication. We’re talking about a wild cat, a carnivorous beast native to the Americas. Although sightings are very rare in Minnesota, Andrew Pastrana managed to snap a pic of a giant kitty cat on his way home at the 1900 block of Boiling Springs Circle shortly before 9:30 p.m. “A lot of people told me it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a picture like that,” Pastrana told Bring Me the News. According to the DNR, the cougar was probably making its way, as many college-aged kids do, to Minnesota via the Dakotas. Thankfully, cougar attacks are rare. “Even in California, which has a population of more than 5,000 of the big cats, a person is 1,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a cougar,” notes the DNR. If you do encounter one, they suggest that you “face the cougar directly, raise your arms to make yourself appear larger, and speak loudly and firmly.”