Minnesota Legislature Approves Changes to State’s Hemp Industry
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Minnesota Legislature Approves Changes to State’s Hemp Industry

One bill would allow up to 5 mg of hemp-derived THC in food and beverages.

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May 25, 2022

The Minnesota Legislature approved a suite of changes to the state’s hemp industry May 22, including legislation that will allow up to 5 mg of hemp-derived THC in food and beverages, according to the Star Tribune.

The bill allows the sale of the THC-infused products to adults 21 and older, the news outlet reported. The legislation aims to clear up a gray area in state law that legalized hemp and hemp extracts containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC but left uncertainty regarding delta-8 THC, which has been widely sold in an unregulated market in Minnesota.

“Overall, I think it’s a way in which Minnesotans are going to be able to check out what it’s like to have legal products being sold on shelves in a non-gray market,” Kurtis Hanna, lobbyist for the Minnesota chapter of NORML, told the Star Tribune.

Additional law changes passed by the Legislature aim to crack down on delta-8 vapes by applying the 0.3% limit on THC to “any tetrahydrocannabinol,” according to the news outlet.

The Legislature also passed labeling and age requirements for CBD and THC products, the Star Tribune reported. The legislation requires edibles to be sold in child-proof, tamper-evident packages with a label that says, “Keep this product out of reach of children.”

The bill also requires serving sizes to be clearly defined on the packaging, according to the news outlet.

Other legislation approved by the Legislature Sunday prohibits THC products from being “modeled after a brand of products primarily consumed by or marketed to children,” as well as those that are “packaged in a way that resembles the trademarked, characteristic or product-specialized packaging of any commercially available food product,” the Star Tribune reported.

Another bill passed by lawmakers would codify changes the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy implemented to align the statutory definition of hemp with the federal definition outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill, according to the news outlet.

That change stems from a state appeals court ruling in Loveless v. State of Minnesota that questioned the legality of hemp products, the Star Tribune reported.

If Gov. Tim Walz signs the legislation into law, the measures will take effect Aug. 1, according to the news outlet.

The push for adult-use cannabis legalization stalled in Minnesota again this year after the Republican-led Senate blocked a vote on a legalization bill earlier this month.

Hanna told the Star Tribune that the hemp policy reform efforts that cleared the Legislature this year show that lawmakers are “pretty exclusively dipping that toe into beverages and edible food products as opposed to making any progress on smokeable or vaporizable products. But it’s a positive outcome.”

Minnesota legalized medical cannabis in 2014 and initially only allowed patients to access cannabis in pill, oil and topical form, but a new law took effect March 1 to allow patients to purchase flower.