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Minnesota gives green light to small doses of legal hemp-derived THC

The Minnesota Legislature on Sunday night passed a series of sweeping hemp industry reforms that will, among other things, make it possible to legally sell small amounts of hemp-derived THC in edibles and beverages to people 21 and older. .

“It’s really good for retailers because it provides (legal) security, and also for consumers because you have security mechanisms in place,” said cannabis lawyer Susan Burns.

Hemp and extracts like CBD are legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary intoxicant in marijuana.

But the intoxicating hemp-derived cousin of delta-9 THC – delta-8 – is already widely sold in Minnesota and has so far operated in an unregulated legal gray area.

Now, hemp-derived THC — including delta-9 THC — at concentrations up to 5 milligrams per serving and 50 mg per package will be permitted in properly labeled edibles and beverages in Minnesota. That’s about half the standard dose found in recreational marijuana products in other states.

“Overall, I think it’s a way for Minnesotans to know what it’s like to have legal products being sold on shelves in a non-gray market,” said Kurtis Hanna, lobbyist for the section. of Minnesota from the National Organization. for marijuana law reform.

A federal appeals court recently found that delta-8 is legal under the 2018 federal farm bill, which legalized hemp cultivation and opened up the market for cannabidiol (CBD) and other hemp extracts. .

“If…Congress has inadvertently created a loophole legalizing vaping products containing delta-8 THC, then it is up to Congress to correct its error,” Judge D. Michael Fisher wrote.

However, Minnesota rules are cracking down on vaping delta-8 THC, as the 0.3% limit on THC content now includes “any tetrahydrocannabinol.” This will lead to a major inventory disruption at smoke shops used to selling highly concentrated delta-8 products – a profitable and rapidly growing market.

While the steps taken by the Minnesota legislature are a subtle move toward legalizing recreational marijuana, “it’s more about dipping that toe into edible beverages and food products instead of making headway on smokable or vaporizable,” said Hanna, the pro-marijuana lobbyist. “But it’s a positive result.”

The hemp measures come into effect on August 1, provided Governor Tim Walz signs them.

Among the other changes made on Sunday evening:

Labeling, age requirements

Products containing CBD and THC must be clearly labeled and may only be sold to persons 21 years of age or older. Edible products must be in child-resistant and tamper-proof packaging and bear the label “Keep this product out of the reach of children”. Portion sizes should also be clearly defined. The rules are similar to those adopted by states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

“This is a big win for the industry, and I think we’re doing it responsibly,” said Steven Brown, founder of the Minnesota Cannabis Association.

Hemp in food and beverages

The bill explicitly allows CBD in food and beverages, which hasn’t been the case in Minnesota despite the proliferation of CBD-infused products at retailers and online.

Repression of copiers

In response to some THC-infused products posing as major household brands, the hemp reforms will ban products “modeled after a brand of products primarily consumed or marketed to children” and those “packaged in a way that looks like the trademark, hallmark, or specialized packaging of any commercially available food product.” Commercial snacks and candies also cannot be infused with THC and resold.

Correction “without love”

The Legislature codified amendments made by the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy to align the statutory definition of hemp with the federal definition. This decision was necessitated by a state court of appeals decision in Loveless v. State of Minnesota which questioned the legality of hemp products.

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