With the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill into law, there’s been a shift in the hemp markets across the United States. What the new law essentially did is it allowed states to come up with their own hemp farming programs. Once submitted and subsequently approved, the state that sent in the application can start legally growing hemp within its borders. Of course, they’d first have to issue licenses to the farmers interested in joining the industry, but after that, it should be smooth sailing.
While many of us celebrate the success that the 2018 Farm Bill has brought, there’s still a lot of gray area. As an emerging industry, the rules and regulations that oversee the purchase and sale of hemp still remain murky at best. What’s legal, what’s illegal, and what do you need to know? Here’s everything about Minnesota hemp law and where it puts you.
Of course, before it could legalize hemp, the 2018 Farm Bill had to define it first. By outlining the parameters that differentiate hemp from marijuana, local governments could properly regulate the crops their farmers produced. The big debate on hemp stemmed from its close relationship with marijuana. Both harvested from the Cannabis sativa L. plant, you might say that hemp and marijuana are the same based on their roots.
However, differences in the growth processes between these plants changed their chemistry. For that reason, marijuana produces a psychoactive high that absent in the hemp experience. The chemical compound responsible for that – delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol – is essentially the controlled substance that law makers are trying to police.
So, to differentiate hemp from marijuana, law makers had to draw the line where THC would be harmless and where it would start to produce those unwanted effects. With that, the 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as any part of the Cannabis sativa L. plant with THC not exceeding 0.3%. As long a sample meets these criteria, it’s considered legal and safe, including any of its derivatives.
The retail hemp market in Minnesota – much like in any other state – is pretty much like the wild, wild, west. That’s because the laws that regulate hemp are often employed on the wholesale level, with very little restriction going into the retail aspect of the market. For that reason, you’ll find hemp products almost everywhere – from gas stations, to hair salons, and even retail outlets.
Of course, there are lots of hemp and CBD specialty shops out there that go through rigorous selection processes to help guarantee the quality of their hemp products. And for the most part, you’d be much better off buying your products from there than from some shady gas station. But if you’re really looking for quality, you might want to try online retailers.
With an extensive selection of hemp flower and CBD products, there’s really nothing else you’d look for once you find your way to a reputable web-based hemp shop. Just make sure you ask the right questions. Learning more about the specific brand on the product you’re buying and asking for third-party lab test results should help you choose a product that’s really worth the money.
To be perfectly clear – edible CBD products are not legal anywhere in the United States. It’s just that some states don’t have the fangs to enact the stipulations expressed by the FDA, and Minnesota is one of them. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, CBD is not approved as a food additive or food item, which means it’s illegal to incorporate it into food and beverage products. In fact, it’s even stated that the movement of these products across state lines isn’t a legal practice.
But even then, law enforcement seems to be turning a blind eye to the shipment, sale, and purchase of CBD infused edible products. In fact, walk into any Minnesota based CBD specialty store and you’re likely to find a wealth of CBD-infused edibles lining their shelves. Presently, these unregulated products remain on store displays despite being technically illegal. But just the fact that they’re being allowed in the market anyway foreshadows that the FDA will soon lift the prohibition given that manufacturers look into their health claims.
Aside from edibles however, the rest of the available CBD and hemp products remain available and legal state-wide. That includes hemp flower, topical creams and lotions, healing salves, personal care products, soaps, bath bombs, and even pet care products.
It would seem that you should be able to legally smoke hemp in public areas, given that it isn’t a controlled substance. But cannabis confusion once again rears its ugly head to put yet another restriction on hemp users. Because marijuana is still illegal as a recreational substance, and because there’s no way to tell hemp apart from marijuana simply by looking at them, then there might be some confusion on the field.
For instance, if a law enforcement officer were to catch you smoking hemp, you wouldn’t exactly be breaching the law. But because that officer wouldn’t have an immediate way to test whether you were actually using hemp and not marijuana, they would have to confiscate your hemp and send it in for testing. During that time, they might even be able to charge you with a misdemeanor.
To avoid the inconvenience, try to keep your hemp smoking practice to the confines of your personal and private space. If you need CBD while you’re not at home, then consider alternative forms like vape oil or topicals to enjoy the benefits of hemp products without having to get scrambled up with law enforcement.
Not presently. Only licensed growers are allowed to farm hemp in the state of Minnesota. To get a license, applicants need to submit a duly accomplished form, along with several other requirements. These may include a background check, GPS coordinates for the proposed growing site, and a map of the facilities including any structures on the lot that will be used for handling, growing, and processing hemp. The license itself costs just $150, but each growing site requires a fee of $250 to be approved for hemp farming. Other fees and charges apply, but most won’t exceed $250, making hemp farming in Minnesota one of the most affordable.
The hemp market in Minnesota is one of the most successful, mainly because of the affordable cost of farming, allowing humble start-ups to join in on the bandwagon. When it comes to the retail aspect of the industry, there really isn’t a lot of red tape despite the restrictions stated by the FDA.
For now, edibles remain on store shelves, and buyers can purchase directly from Minnesota locals, or have them shipped in from other states through online retailers. If anything, we don’t expect these regulations to tighten any time soon, since the FDA might just lift the ban on edibles within the foreseeable future.
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