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Minnesota hemp stores saw long lines and a buying frenzy over the holiday weekend. Why? Minnesota lawmakers surprised some by quietly passing a new law regarding edible THC products last week. Are CBD Gummies Legal In Mn THC products are displayed on the shelves at Nothing But Hemp on Grand Avenue in St. Paul on July 8, 2022. A law that went into effect July 1, 2022 legalizes foods and Discover whether or not you’re allowed to purchase delta-8 THC products in the North Star State of Minnesota.

Clearing up confusion about Minnesota’s newest legalized THC edible

A customer shows the products she bought from Nothing But Hemp in St. Paul. Some of the products contain THC, which became legal under 5 milligrams per serving in Minnesota on Friday, July 1, 2022.

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Minnesota hemp stores saw long lines and a buying frenzy over the holiday weekend. Why? Minnesota lawmakers surprised some by quietly passing a new law regarding edible THC products last week.

Under the law, Minnesotans can buy edibles of five milligrams per serving, with a limit of 50 milligrams per package. This is the biggest step Minnesota has taken towards recreational marijuana legalization. Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler helped pass the law and spoke with guest host Chris Farrell about the details.

The following interview highlights have been edited for length and clarity.

What kinds of products are allowed under this new law?

The only products allowed are food and beverages in containers that are childproof, are not marketed to children and are sold to people over the age of 21.

We are not talking about marijuana vapes. We are not talking about marijuana flower for smoking. We are simply talking about edibles and beverages and have some basic regulatory rules around them.

We’re using this term THC. Why not marijuana? What is THC?

THC is basically a chemical compound. The delta 9 variation of THC is the active ingredient, if you want to say it that way, in marijuana that produces the high effect.

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THC delta 9 can also be derived from hemp, which is a different plant than the marijuana plant, but come from the cannabinoid family. So essentially, you get the same chemical through a different process not using marijuana, in a much lower concentrated form that can be processed and sold as THC.

Earlier in the week, you said that the push to legalize some THC edibles and beverages was purposely quiet. What was the reasoning behind that?

I want to be clear that it was done in multiple public hearings, in bills that traveled the regular route through the Legislature. So I don’t think it was necessarily quiet, it was simply not something we put out a press release on every day, because sometimes at the Legislature, working quietly can get you farther than drawing a lot of public scrutiny.

And I think maybe the Republicans working on this bill, because we needed Republicans in the Senate to vote for it, did not want to get scrutiny from their base for working on this issue with us.

Who’s going to enforce this new law?

It’s a strange situation, but it’s the Board of Pharmacy initially responsible for providing the regulatory oversight. When I passed House File 600 out of the Minnesota House of Representatives, it was a full legalization bill that included the creation of a cannabis management board with full regulatory enforcement powers, to approve products, to enforce restrictions and we don’t have that robust structure in place.

So it’s the Board of Pharmacy that’s initially responsible, but I expect the Legislature next session to come back and look at these issues again and figure out exactly what kind of regulatory structure we need. And I hope that will open the door for further legalization.

Are you in partnership with law enforcement about how to address this new norm?

We engaged for years with stakeholders of all kinds, including law enforcement when we put together our Cannabis Management Board and the legalization effort we’ve passed in the state House, largely with DFL votes. Law enforcement was part of that. What we’re talking about here is not marijuana. It is not the traditional illicit marketplace for selling marijuana, it’s not something that you smoke. These are products sold through regular retail operations. And there is a significantly lower public safety concern with these edible type products, especially in the limited doses that we have in this law.

Is this law creating a path or is it part of the path that’s being created to decriminalize marijuana use?

I think it’s a first step. And I think that there is a lot we need to do to really accomplish the end of prohibition and to write some of those past wrongs.

First of all, we should not be wasting law enforcement resources on the cannabis prohibition laws we have, we have many more pressing public safety issues to be addressing with the limited resources we have. We also should recognize that past records related to cannabis should be expunged if they were just for cannabis possession and sale. And we have a long ways to go in reinvesting in the communities hardest hit by the war on drugs, especially communities of color.

So there’s much much more to be done to properly do legalization. This is just opening the door. And I think we need to continue pushing that door open and really putting together the robust legalization plan that we laid out in House File 600.

Do you think we are now on a path from decriminalizing to legalizing?

I think we have to be and I think that’s where the public is. I think that decriminalizing just means you’re not going to enforce marijuana laws that are still on the books. I think we need to take those laws off the books. I think we need to create a robust regulatory system around cannabis, whether it’s hemp or marijuana, in order to make sure that consumers are safe, that we are taxing and putting that money back into address substance abuse and public safety issues.

To do this right, we have a whole robust set of proposals. The key thing about this law this year, is I think it provides consumers access to a safe product that is now legal. I think once consumers have access to a safe, legal product, we are not going to go backwards.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. Subscribe to the Minnesota Now podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Audio transcript

CHRIS FARRELL: Minnesota Hemp Stars saw long lines in a buying frenzy over the holiday weekend. Now, why? Well, Minnesota lawmakers surprised some by quietly passing a new law regarding edible THC products last week. Under the law, Minnesotans can buy edibles of 5 milligrams per serving with a limit of 50 milligrams per package. This is the biggest step Minnesota has taken toward recreational marijuana legalization. Minnesota House of Representatives Majority Leader Ryan Winkler helped pass the law, and he joins me now. Welcome to the show.

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RYAN WINKLER: Well, thank you for having me.

CHRIS FARRELL: All right, so I think there’s some confusion out here. So let’s get the facts straight here. So what kinds of products are allowed under this new law?

RYAN WINKLER: The only products allowed are food and beverages in containers that are child-proof, are not marketed to children, and are sold to people over the age of 21. We are not talking about marijuana vapes. We are not talking about marijuana flower for smoking. We are simply talking about edibles and beverages protected for children and have some basic regulatory rules around them.

CHRIS FARRELL: OK, now, I have to ask you– it’s a naive question. It’s an ignorant question. We’re using this term, THC, so why not marijuana? What is THC?

RYAN WINKLER: So THC is basically a chemical compound. The Delta 9 variation of THC is the active ingredient, if you want to say it that way, in marijuana that produces the high effect. THC Delta 9 can also be derived from hemp, which is a different plant than the marijuana plant but come from the cannabinoid family. So essentially, you get the same chemical through a different process not using marijuana in a much lower concentrated form that can be processed and sold as THC.

CHRIS FARRELL: OK, so earlier in the week, you said that the push to legalize some THC edibles and beverages was purposely quiet. So what was the reasoning behind that?

RYAN WINKLER: I want to be clear that it was done in multiple public hearings in bills that traveled the regular route through the legislature. So I don’t think it was necessarily quiet. It was simply not something we put out a press release on everyday, because sometimes, the legislature working quietly can get you farther than drawing a lot of public scrutiny. And I think maybe the Republicans that are working on this bill, because we needed Republicans in the Senate to vote for it, did not want to get scrutiny from their base for working on this issue with us.

CHRIS FARRELL: OK, so who’s going to enforce this new law?

RYAN WINKLER: So it’s a strange situation, but it’s the Board of Pharmacy initially responsible for providing the regulatory oversight. When I passed House File 600 out of the Minnesota House of Representatives, it was a full legalization bill that included the creation of a Cannabis Management Board with full regulatory and enforcement powers to approve products, to enforce restrictions.

And we don’t have that robust structure in place. So it’s the Board of Pharmacy that’s initially responsible, but I expect the next legislature next session to come back and look at these issues again and figure out exactly what kind of regulatory structure we need. And I hope that will open the door for further legalization.

CHRIS FARRELL: So sticking to this law enforcement theme, are you in partnership with law enforcement about how to address this new norm, how to deal with this new norm?

RYAN WINKLER: We engaged for years with stakeholders of all kinds, including law enforcement when we put together our Cannabis Management Board and the legalization effort we passed in the state house, largely with DFL votes. Law enforcement was part of that.

What we’re talking about here is not marijuana. It is not the traditional illicit marketplace for selling marijuana. It’s not something that you smoke. These are products sold through regular retail operations, and there is a significantly lower public safety concern with these edible-type products, especially in the limited doses that we have in this law.

CHRIS FARRELL: So I want to break down my next question in two parts. So the first part, is this law creating a path, or is it part of a path that’s being created to decriminalize marijuana use?

RYAN WINKLER: I think it’s a first step. And I think that there is a lot we need to do to really accomplish the end of Prohibition and to right some of those past wrongs. First of all, we should not be wasting law enforcement resources on the cannabis prohibition laws we have. We have many more pressing public safety issues to be addressing with the limited resources we have.

We also should recognize that past records related to cannabis should be expunged if they were just for cannabis possession and sale. And we have a long ways to go in reinvesting in the communities hardest hit by the war on drugs, especially communities of color.

So there’s much, much more to be done to properly do legalization. This is just opening the door, and I think we need to continue pushing that door open and really putting together the robust legalization plan that we laid out in House File 600.

CHRIS FARRELL: Yes, that leads to the follow-up question, which is you’ve mentioned legalization. Because there’s a difference between decriminalizing and then fully legalizing. Do you feel that that’s the path that we’re now on?

RYAN WINKLER: I think we have to be, and I think that’s where the public is. I think that decriminalizing just means you’re not going to enforce marijuana laws that are still on the books. I think we need to take those laws off the books. I think we need to create a robust regulatory system around cannabis, whether it’s hemp or marijuana, in order to make sure that consumers are safe, that we are taxing and putting that money back into address substance abuse and public safety issues.

To do this right, we have a whole robust set of proposals, and I think that is the path we are on. The key thing about this law this year, this new law, is I think it provides consumers access to a safe product that is now legal. And once people start having the ability to purchase this safely and legally, I think we’re going to be moving–

CHRIS FARRELL: And representative Winkler, well?

RYAN WINKLER: Yes.

CHRIS FARRELL: Yeah, there, you’re back now. OK, we just lost you there for a second. Yeah, why don’t you finish your thought?

RYAN WINKLER: Oh, I think once consumers have access to a safe legal product, we are not going to go backwards.

CHRIS FARRELL: Well, thank you very much for taking your time.

RYAN WINKLER: Well, I’m happy to discuss it, and I hope that this is just part of a longer conversation in Minnesota about cannabis legalization. We need to do it.

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CHRIS FARRELL: Oh, I think that’s for sure. That’s a safe forecast or a safe bet. That was Minnesota DFL Representative Ryan Winkler.

Are CBD Gummies Legal In Mn

THC products are displayed on the shelves at Nothing But Hemp on Grand Avenue in St. Paul on July 8, 2022. A law that went into effect July 1, 2022 legalizes foods and beverages containing THC in Minnesota. Consumables containing less than 5 mg of THC per serving and 50 mg per package can now be sold in stores as long as the THC is derived from hemp. (Bryson Rosell / Pioneer Press)

Food and beverages containing THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that gets users high, are now legal in Minnesota under a new law regulating hemp.

The law that went into effect July 1 took many Minnesotans by surprise, including some of the legislators who voted in its favor. But what exactly does it mean?

While anyone 21 or older can buy products that will get them “high” in Minnesota, it’s far from the legalization of recreational marijuana, which remains a long shot from gaining ground in the Minnesota Legislature. Technically, the bill Gov. Tim Walz signed into law provides new regulations for hemp products, including those containing psychoactive THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol.

Consumable products containing less than 5 milligrams of THC per serving and 50 milligrams per package can now be sold in Minnesota, providing they are derived from hemp, which must contain less than 0.3% THC under federal law. Any cannabis containing more than that level is considered marijuana, which is still illegal nationally.

It’s worth noting that an unregulated form of hemp-derived THC called delta-8 had already been legal in Minnesota under a loophole in federal legislation passed in 2018. A key point of Minnesota’s new law, which regulates hemp products, also made the more potent delta-9 THC legal in the state so long as it is derived from hemp. The law also took steps to regulate delta-8 THC products.

Some have called the quasi-legalization a distinctly Minnesota version of recreational pot, dubbing it “3.2 cannabis” — historically Minnesota has had strict liquor laws and is the only remaining state requiring grocery stores and gas stations to sell only 3.2% alcohol beer.

Steven Brown, CEO of Twin Cities cannabis business Nothing but Hemp, laughed when asked about the 3.2 comparison, but said the newly legal option in Minnesota does provide a milder base option for people using THC.

“I think it’s really funny, but I don’t think it’s 3.2 cannabis,” he said. “I kind of like to compare 5 milligrams to that first glass of wine that you have, you’re not drunk, you’re feeling good.”

In states where recreational marijuana is legal, health departments recommend first-time users of THC edibles take 5 milligrams or less as a way to gauge their reaction and tolerance. Brown said 5 milligrams is a good place for many people to start and added he and many others will even take a “micro-dose” of 2.5 milligrams for milder effects. Though, of course, there are the more experienced users who are happy to take 50 milligrams at a time, he said.

Alec Schuller, left, helps a customer select hemp products at Nothing But Hemp on Grand Ave. in St. Paul on July 8, 2022. (Bryson Rosell / Pioneer Press)

WHAT’S LEGAL?

The THC in legally available products at Minnesota stores is chemically the same as THC available in illegal cannabis, a potentially confusing legal situation with roots in federal cannabis regulation.

There’s a distinction in federal law between legal hemp, which has a THC content of no more than 0.3%, and marijuana, which has a higher level. Hemp is grown for many purposes, including its fibers, but it also contains cannabinoids like THC, and CBD, or cannabidiol, a legal compound that does not cause a high that is already widely sold for its potential health benefits.

Cannabinoids like delta-8 and delta-9 THC and CBD can be extracted from hemp and made into consumable products. CBD is often made into oils or salves that can be rubbed on the skin and are touted for their ability to relieve pain and inflammation. When variants of THC are extracted from hemp, they can be concentrated in products at levels that can get users high.

As far as the variants of THC go, delta-8 and delta-9 are almost chemically identical save for a difference in one bond in their molecular structure. But for humans that translates to a generally milder high from delta-8, and often fewer of the undesirable effects such as paranoia and anxiety that come from its more potent delta-9 cousin, Brown said. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration dispute that, saying unregulated delta-8 is a potentially dangerous drug that’s resulted in thousands of accidental poisonings.

NEXT STEPS?

Some holes remain following Minnesota’s legalization of edible and drinkable THC products, namely enforcement and regulation.

Edible THC products might be legal under the new law, but the question of enforcement is not addressed. While the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy is tasked with regulating cannabis-containing products, enforcement will be up to cities and counties. Bill author Rep. Heather Edelson said one route is for cities to issue licenses as they currently do for tobacco sales.

Brown said he discussed exactly that at his business Thursday with Edelson and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, and he hopes business and local government can soon reach some type of regulatory framework.

“Right now it’s 21-plus, but what does that really mean? And then you know, where can it really be sold … this is the big question,” Brown said. ”I don’t want to say it’s a free for all, but anybody who can get a hold of delta-9 products right now could sell it.”

Those are the immediate steps for the hemp business and others seeking to loosen cannabis regulations in the state, but there’s more work ahead, said Brown, who hopes Minnesota continues to refine its legal language on the various cannabinoids to help create a safer, streamlined product.

But that might only be one of the small steps in future years. Edelson said she looks forward to pushing for full legalization in future legislative sessions, something Walz has also said he supports. The question could ultimately come down to whether Democrats control the governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature, as Republicans haven’t signaled support for full legalization.

Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Minnesota?

Minnesota is one of 32 US states that hasn’t restricted or banned delta-8 under state law.

Delta-8 THC derived from hemp plants carrying no more than 0.3% THC is legal in Minnesota under state law, aligning with federal law. It’s currently legal to use, possess, sell, distribute, and produce delta-8 products within the state without fear of penalty or prosecution.

Likewise, hemp-derived delta-10, THC-O, and other delta-9 THC isomers are also legal, as is CBD. The only hemp-derived compound listed under Minnesota’s Controlled Substances Act is delta-9 THC.

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Is delta-8 legal in Minnesota?

  • Hemp-derived delta-8 is legal in Minnesota.
  • You can use, possess, sell, distribute, and produce delta-8 products without trouble from law enforcement.
  • Delta-10, THC-O, and other delta-9 isomers are also legal, provided they’re sourced from legal hemp plants.
  • Hemp-derived CBD is legal in Minnesota, and no restrictions apply to its use.
  • Medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota. Recreational marijuana isn’t legal and carries strict punishments if caught using, possessing, selling, distributing, or producing marijuana products.
  • There’s currently no future legislation that could change delta-8’s legality in Minnesota.

Is delta-8 THC legal to buy in Minnesota?

Yes, hemp-derived Delta-8 is legal in Minnesota under state law, meaning the use, possession, sale, purchase distribution, production, and manufacture of delta-8 products is permitted without risk of penalty or prosecution.

Legislative history of delta-8 in Minnesota

In 2018, the federal government passed the amended Agriculture Improvement Act (Farm Bill) legalizing hemp, hemp-derived compounds, and hemp-derived delta-8, removing them from the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In the eyes of the federal government, legal hemp and hemp products must carry no more than 0.3% THC. Many US states aligned their hemp laws to coincide with the Farm Bill shortly after its passage.

Minnesota already had an established hemp pilot program following the passage of the Industrial Hemp Development Act in 2015, meaning natural delta-8 in hemp plants was also legal. It was amended in 2019 to coincide with the Farm Bill. Therefore, delta-8 derived from hemp containing no more than 0.3% THC is legal under state law.

Is medical marijuana legal in Minnesota?

Yes, medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota. It was legalized in 2014 following the passage of Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research Act. The law created a long-awaited patient registry program supplied by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Initially, only a select number of qualifying conditions granted patients access to small quantities of medical marijuana. Liquid, oils, and pills were the only types of medical cannabis products legally available. The first dispensary opened a year later in 2015.

Since 2014, the Minnesota Department of Health has expanded qualifying conditions to include intractable pain, chronic pain, cancer, PTSD, autism, and sickle cell disease.

In 2021, Minnesota lawmakers approved legalizing smokeable forms of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Is recreational marijuana legal in Minnesota?

No, recreational marijuana is not legal in Minnesota. However, possession of 42.5 grams or less is decriminalized. Penalties for recreational cannabis possession above 42.5 grams range is punishable by up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Buying delta-8 in Minnesota

Purchasing delta-8 in Minnesota is simple and easy. It’s readily available online and in physical retail stores such as vape shops, CBD dispensaries, and head shops located all across the state.

You can also buy delta-8 in some gas stations, but this isn’t recommended. The quality, safety, and transparency of most gas station delta-8 products are questionable. Some might even be very harmful to your health.

As a general rule, we advise you to purchase delta-8 online from legitimate delta-8 vendors with a history of producing safe, transparent, and quality products.

For a full rundown of the best delta-8 products available online, you can follow the link here.

Recommended delta-8 companies

Binoid

Binoid is a credible delta-8 vendor based in Los Angeles, California. The company boasts a wide range of delta-8 products, including delta-8 gummies, capsules, vape carts, lollipops, brownies, and chocolate. Each product is third-party tested by legitimate laboratories specializing in cannabis analysis. You can find all Certificates of Analysis (COAs) on the company’s website, ensuring safety and transparency.

Harbor City Hemp

Harbor City Hemp is a legitimate delta-8 vendor located in Melbourne, Florida, and has a huge variety of delta-8 oils and tinctures. The strengths range from as low as 250 mg to as high as 12,000 mg, meaning beginners and seasoned delta-8 users are catered to. What’s more, Harbor City Hemp third-party tests its products to ensure, safety, transparency, and quality across the board. You can find COAs on the company’s website.

Can you travel to Minnesota with delta-8?

Yes, it’s perfectly legal to travel into Minnesota with delta-8 THC products, as long as it’s made and extracted from hemp plants containing no more than 0.3% THC (by dry weight).

If you’re flying into Minnesota with delta-8 THC in your possession, we always recommend you check with the airline first. Some airlines have policies against having cannabis products on board, regardless of whether it’s hemp or marijuana-derived.

Is delta-10 THC legal in Minnesota?

Yes, like delta-8, delta-10 is perfectly legal in Minnesota, provided it’s sourced from federally compliant hemp plants carrying no more than the legal 0.3% THC limit. This means the use, possession, sale, distribution, and production of delta-10 THC products are permitted under state law.

Other hemp-derived THC isomers such as HHC and THCP are also legal in Minnesota under state law.

Where can you purchase delta-10 THC products in Minnesota?

You can purchase delta-10 THC products online and in physical retail stores such as vape stores, head shops, and CBD dispensaries. Remember, delta-10 is less popular than delta-8, and the selection is far more limited. Not every physical store stocks delta-10.

Is CBD legal in Minnesota?

Yes, CBD is legal in Minnesota under state and federal law, provided it’s derived from hemp plants carrying no more than the legal 0.3% THC limit (by dry weight). There are no restrictions on CBD’s use, possession, sale, distribution, or production in the state.

However, CBD derived from marijuana is strictly illegal. Only patients with qualifying health conditions have access to marijuana-derived CBD for medicinal purposes.

Upcoming legislation in Minnesota that could change delta-8’s legality?

There is currently no upcoming legislation that could change the legal status of delta-8 THC in Minnesota. The use, possession, sale, purchase, distribution, production, and manufacture of delta-8 products are permitted without fear of penalty or prosecution.

Closing thoughts: The future for delta-8 in Minnesota

To all Minnesota residents, you’re in a fortunate position where state lawmakers are currently delta-8 friendly and aren’t looking to ban or restrict delta-8 products. You can enjoy delta-8’s subtle but noticeable therapeutic high with no risk of penalty or prosecution from law enforcement.

However, outside of Minnesota, delta-8’s safety and legality are under question from the federal government, resulting in 18 states restricting or banning delta-8 products. Will Minnesota join them? We hope not. But, for now, you can consume delta-8 products risk-free and with full enjoyment.

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