Cannabis in the Land of “Minnesota Nice”

The Unique Features and Challenges of Minnesota’s THC Landscape

 

Minnesota is the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Its pristine landscape and hospitality make it an inviting destination for tourists and prospective residents. I love calling it home in spite of (and maybe because of) our challenging winters. They are part and parcel of all this beautiful state has to offer.

Minnesota is also known for “Minnesota Nice,” which is not always actually nice, but we all know how to operate in it. In the cannabis arena, Minnesota enacted some Minnesota nice statutory amendments that protect consumer safety and provide the framework for economic benefits to Minnesota businesses.

For a quick refresher, as detailed in a previous blog, hemp and hemp products became legal to cultivate and sell with the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp and marijuana are both L. cannabis sativa and produce THC. However, the critical differentiator between the two is a legal distinction: if the product contains less than 0.3% of the psychoactive THC variant Delta-9, it is hemp; if it contains more than the legally allowed 0.3%, it is marijuana and a federally illegal controlled substance.

Last session, the Minnesota State Legislature passed amendments to the state hemp statute that went into effect July 1, 2022. These amendments provided for more robust safety protocols, especially regarding product testing and protections against access by children. They also permitted the sale of edibles and drinks containing limited amounts of any hemp-derived THC (Delta-9 THC, that is a serving size of no more than 5 mg and no more than 50 mg in a package.

This caused an immediate and massive spike in interest and consumption of THC edible and beverage offerings. It also created attractive economic opportunities for businesses, which created interest by businesses operating in adult-use legal states.

While adult use is illegal in Minnesota, the hemp-derived cannabinoid market creates an economically viable and attractive business model that provides mechanisms for delivery of safe products for consumers and a much lower bar to market entry than adult-use markets.

That, however, does not mean that there are no bars. Before you jump into the market in there are testing, labeling, packaging, and distribution issues that are uniquely Minnesota nice requirements. There are also ordinances that vary city-by-city. Likewise, there are specific contractual provisions that should be in place to manage liability risk.

Knowing precisely what those statutes, regulations, and ordinances mean for you and your prospective business is critical to whether or not you achieve the level of success you are hoping for in a cannabinoid-motivated move to “The Star of the North.”

If you or someone you adore are considering a foray into the cannabis industry and a move to Minnesota to take on that endeavor, grab a spot on my calendar. Let’s discuss whether or not the Minnesota market is a good fit for your business. And, if it is, whether our team of cannabis-educated lawyers and on-call business partners is a good fit with your team.

At S Burns Legal LLC, our goal is to provide our clients with personalized support as they expand their unique businesses. We’ve also been known to provide some sage, strategic business advice along the way.

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