A new Minnesota law that took effect last week is intended to prohibit the sale of products containing high amounts of delta-8 THC but also has established a relatively high limit for total THC in hemp foods.
The measure, signed by Gov. Tim Walz in May, and which went into force Friday, July 1, allows adults 21 and over to possess and consume hemp-based edibles and beverages that contain up to five milligrams of total combined THC – such as delta-9, delta-8 and delta-10 – per serving, with individual packages limited to 50mg.
While the limit is high for food products, it will essentially force products containing high levels of delta-8 THC – popular in Minnesota in vapes and other forms – off the market.
Hemp and CBD products became legal in Minnesota in January 2020, provided they contained less than 0.3% delta-9 THC (abundant in marijuana plants but present only in trace amounts in hemp). But the threshold did not apply to delta-8 and other variations of THC, which the new law addresses by setting volume limits based on weight of total THC.
Delta-8 THC is made by putting hemp-derived CBD through a synthetic process. Producers in Minnesota and around the U.S. have taken advantage of hemp’s legalization in 2018 under the logic that CBD made from legal hemp flowers means delta-8 THC produced downstream is also legal.
The new law essentially clarifies that products with high levels of THC are strictly limited to medical marijuana, which has been legal in the state since 2014. Recreational marijuana has yet to be legalized in Minnesota.
Law is praised
Supporters hailed the clarification of allowable total THC in food and drinks.
Calling the law a “step forward,” House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said “Minnesota strongly favors this change” which he described as “an opportunity for Minnesota businesses and consumers to have access to a product that can be safe and is widely available and in use today, however, through an illicit marketplace.”
Studies have shown only children and infrequent or non-users of THC products begin to reach a mild “high” after having taken five milligrams – the per-serving limit set by the new law.
In other provisions now effective in Minnesota:
- The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy is the regulatory authority for new hemp-derived food and drink products.
- Licenses are not required to manufacture, distribute or sell hemp-based edibles and drinks containing THC.
- Manufacturers, distributors and sellers of hemp-based products are responsible for contracting accredited laboratories in order to certify their products comply with the standards of the state Board of Pharmacy.
- Producers are not required to submit lab test results to the pharmacy board but must maintain records and show the results if requested by the agency.
- Hemp-derived products containing THC cannot be shaped like people, animals or fruit, nor can they be modeled after products marketed to children.
- Producers of commercially available candy and snacks are barred from adding THC to existing products.
- Restaurants and bars or other businesses cannot add substances derived from hemp to food and beverages they serve.