Statement: Kiffmeyer: Adding clarity and safeguards to Minnesota’s hemp industry

Friends and neighbors,

Imagine if the federal government built a new highway in Minnesota that had no speed limit and posed a great safety threat to motorists. To keep our drivers safe, it became necessary for the Minnesota Legislature to pass a state law to reduce the speed limit to 60 mph. At first, it might seem like Minnesota was endorsing speeding because no speed limit was in place. However, it was the federal government that left this highway unregulated, and it then fell to the state to add important safety regulations. This example is similar to why it was necessary for the Minnesota Legislature to pass a law this legislative session to clarify how hemp is regulated in our state.

In 2018, the passage of the Federal Farm bill legalized hemp-based products nationwide. While well intentioned, this federal legislation failed to provide adequate protections for consumers and children, resulting in a largely unregulated nationwide hemp product market. To add clarity and safeguards to the hemp industry, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill this session to provide essential guidance to producers and protections for consumers.

THC is a chemical in both hemp and marijuana that can get you high. Whereas marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC, our new state law defines hemp as only containing 0.3% or less THC. Previously, the federal law only placed a limit on one kind of hemp-derived THC, Delta 9. However, there were unlimited amounts of other kinds of THC, like Delta 8 and 10, being sold in Minnesota. There was also a loophole in the federal legislation that allowed a product to have a high number of milligrams of THC – 10mg, 15mg, or even more depending on the size of the product – but still meet the legal 0.3% threshold.

The new Minnesota law, therefore, restricts all strains of hemp-derived THC to no more than 0.3% and no more than 5 mgs of THC per package. This captures Delta 8, 9 and 10 as well as any other strains. This law also limits the food products or “edibles” sold in Minnesota at gas stations, convenience stores and CBD shops. These products previously contained unrestricted amounts of Delta 8 and 10 strains of hemp-derived THC, and the quantities were often higher than advertised.

Further, the candies and edibles were clearly designed to look like popular candies marketed to children, and it was critical to protect consumers. To address this, the state law prohibits the marketing to children and sales to anyone under 21. It also requires hemp-derived THC products to have clearly marked packaging that is in child-resistant and tamper evident containers.

Finally, this law also contains new restrictions that regulate other cannabinoid products such as vape juice. These products have been sold recently due to the federal law, but they were not addressed in our Minnesota law. These products are now restricted to low levels of THC, which are measured both by weight and volume.

It is important to note that these changes do not legalize recreational marijuana and are exclusive to hemp-derived THC in small amounts. These new regulations also do not change statutes that govern Minnesota’s medical cannabis program.

I believe it is vital that we protect consumers, and especially children, from the dangers of THC. In light of the changing federal laws surrounding hemp-based products, this was a necessary step for Minnesota to take. The hemp industry in our state was vastly unregulated before this new law went into place. Now, there is clear guidance to producers regarding limits to potency as well as important new protections in place for all consumers.

Contact me

As always, if have questions or concerns on bills being heard in committee or any other legislative topic, feel free to contact me any time. You can call me at 651-296-5655 or send me an email at sen.mary.kiffmeyer@senate.mn. It is a privilege to serve as your state senator.

Sincerely,

Mary

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