Following the passage of HF100 and the legalization of recreational cannabis in Minnesota, there has been significant confusion as to what can be sold in the state now without a license.
Can I sell hemp products?
YES. Both raw hemp and hemp-derived products are currently legal to produce and sell in Minnesota, so long as all permit and registration requirements have been met.
Raw hemp is federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill and can be grown in Minnesota with a permit from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Hemp-derived products, such as THC seltzers and gummies, can also be sold to customers at retail so long as the seller has registered with the Minnesota Commissioner of Health by October 1, 2023. If a retailer (including a manufacturer that sells directly to end-users) has failed to register by that date, they must wait to obtain a Lower-Potency Hemp Retailer license, which is not expected to be available until 2025. Additionally, to process raw hemp into a derivative product at this time, a manufacturer must have a permit from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
More information about Minnesota’s hemp program can be found here: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/hemp
Does THCA flower qualify as hemp?
NO. Despite its prevalence on shelves in the state, selling THCA flower is, at best, false advertising in Minnesota, and at worst, selling cannabis without a license. Because the 2018 Farm Bill defined “hemp” as a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC by dry weight (including all derivatives that meet the same criteria), many have come to the mistaken belief that the presence of Delta-9 THCA does not factor into the analysis.
In reality, pursuant to a final rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Total THC under the Farm Bill is calculated by the following formula: Total THC = THC + (0.877 x THCA). This formula is used because THC is merely decarboxylated (“de-carbed”) THCA, a conversion process that is ordinarily achieved by adding heat, either through igniting the cannabis, baking it, or through some other means. The THCA in the formula above is multiplied by 0.877 to account for the lost molecular weight resulting from that decarboxylation. Indeed, very little THC is present in any cannabis, while THCA is usually abundant in smokable cannabis flower.
Consequently, what is marketed as “THCA flower” is run-of-the-mill cannabis, which is not legal for sale in Minnesota without a license, and cannabis flower with significant amounts of THCA will not qualify as hemp.
Can I sell cannabis seeds?
YES. Cannabis seeds are legal for sale in Minnesota without the need for a license because, pursuant to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency guidance, cannabis seeds qualify as hemp given that they contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight. With this said, any business that packages or labels cannabis seeds for sale (even by putting a company or brand logo on the package) must obtain a permit from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Additionally, while cannabis seed sales are legal, a business cannot cultivate cannabis plants without a license, even for the purpose of harvesting seeds only. So were all seeds offered in the state created by immaculate conception? No. Seeds can be imported from other states and sold here, so long as the packaging they are sold in substantially conforms to Minnesota’s requirements.
More information on cannabis seed sales in Minnesota can be found here:
How about cannabis seedlings?
NO. Cannabis seedlings likely qualify as cannabis plants or products under Minnesota law, even if they may be considered hemp under the Farm Bill until such time that they exceed the 0.3% Delta-9 THC threshold. Consequently, a business must have a license to cultivate or sell seedlings. Also, as stated above, a permit is required to even cultivate hemp in Minnesota, and hemp cultivators must show regulatory authorities that the parents of their plants did not produce more than the threshold amount of THC at maturity.