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Minnesota employers concerned over THC-‘high’ workers under proposed legal marijuana

Plus: Minneapolis Public Schools confirms cyberattack; catalytic converter theft targeted at the Capitol; “Blizzo” hits the streets; and more.

A worker organizing cannabis flowers before the opening of the first legal recreational marijuana dispensary in Manhattan on December 29, 2022.
A worker organizing cannabis flowers before the opening of the first legal recreational marijuana dispensary in Manhattan on December 29, 2022.
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

A Strib story by Dee DePass says, “Minnesota employers are worried about the consequences of on-site safety — and general job competence — should a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state become law. As lawmakers consider whether Minnesota should join 18 states in legalizing pot, scores of concerned business owners gathered Wednesday to hear from attorneys, doctors, workers’ compensation and human resource professionals at a forum in Maple Grove sponsored by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. … Karen Wentworth, controller at ChemQuest Inc. in Lakeville, worried how to keep workers at her chemical manufacturing plant safe should a forklift driver be allowed to legally get high during a lunch break and then return to the driving job with slower motor skills.”

At MPR News, Tom Scheck says, “THC-infused drinks and gummies became legal on July 1. Demand is high for the products, yet basic questions around what’s illegal and what happens when complaints are made to authorities have largely gone unanswered. [70 year-old Antoine Irani] complained to local police, two state agencies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with little to show. Observers say Minnesota’s lack of licensing requirements and penalties has left regulators and police unsure over how to respond to complaints and violations.”

At KSTP-TV Emily Baude says, “The Minneapolis Public Works and Infrastructure Committee is expected to discuss infrastructure improvements at the Upper Harbor Terminal development project in north Minneapolis during its meeting Thursday. The Upper Harbor Terminal project aims to improve the quality of living for north Minneapolis residents by introducing a 20-acre riverfront park, a community arts center, 300 jobs and affordable housing. The committee also hopes to reconstruct three streets that access the Upper Harbor site: Dowling Avenue North, 33rd Avenue North and West River Parkway.”

Says Tommy Wiita for BringMeTheNews,Minneapolis Public Schools has confirmed it was the victim of a cyber-attack last month, and has urged staff, students and parents to change their passwords and monitor their financial accounts for possible fraud. … MPS said in an update Wednesday, the system was restored using internal backups, though the district is still experiencing problems with some of its software systems including email.”

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For DakotaNewsNow Joshua Haier says, “An energy company is looking into the possibility of building a small nuclear plant in South Dakota. The company, NorthWestern Energy, is targeting a potential construction date in 2030. The plant would produce between 80 and 320 megawatts. Conventional, large nuclear reactors can produce over 700 megawatts. … The estimated cost is $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion for a 320-megawatt plant. The company said it has two potential sites, but those locations are confidential.”

An AP story by Steve Karnowski says, “The Minnesota Senate voted Thursday to make it harder for thieves to sell stolen catalytic converters, a crime that has skyrocketed across the country in recent years. Thefts of the pollution control devices from cars and trucks more than quadrupled from 3,389 in 2019 to 14,433 in 2020, and jumped dramatically again in 2021 to over 52,000, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. A major reason is the sharp rise in prices for the precious metals that go into the converters, such as rhodium, platinum and palladium. And experts say many thefts aren’t covered by insurance, so they go unreported.”

For the Strib, Mike Hughlett reports, “Bills in the state Legislature would provide $25 million in taxpayer money to Minnesota Power for a roughly $700 million power line renovation project. The Duluth-based utility also is asking North Dakota for $25 million, aiming to use the money from the states to snare an additional $50 million in federal funding. Minnesota Power wants to upgrade two terminals for a 465-mile power line from Hermantown to central North Dakota. The refurbishment would increase the 46-year-old power line’s capacity by about 60%.”

At MPR News we have this from Sam Stroozas: “The moment many Minnesotans have been waiting for has finally come: ‘Blizzo’ is officially on the streets. The snowplow was revealed on Thursday at the Camden neighborhood truck station in north Minneapolis. Blizzo, a mashup of the name of the singer-songwriter Lizzo and the word ‘blizzard’, was one of the winners of the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s annual ‘Name a Snowplow’ contest last month. The plow is assigned to the Twin Cities. While the name was submitted by many, it was a sixth-grade class at Osseo Middle School that rallied for it to win.”

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