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THC foods and beverages now made legal in Minnesota…by accident?

Thanks to the Farm Bill signed into law in 2018, the manufacturing, sale and consumption of hemp-derived products are legal on a federal level nationwide — so long as they contain no more than the mandated amount of 0.3% THC. But, as the public awareness and acceptance of THC continues to grow, so too has its legalization. 

Minnesota, home of the 10,000 lakes, has been at the forefront of cannabis research. So it’s been confusing trying to understand how the state has remained light years behind on legalization. That said, Minnesotans have been consuming hemp-derived products for years, and with the legal loophole created by the Farm Bill, this has also included the relatively new delta-8 THC. But, things just got a little more interesting. 

Last Friday, Minnesota lawmakers passed a bill legalizing the consumption of foods and drinks containing no more than 5 mg per serving and 50 mg of delta-9 THC per package for people 21 and older — on accident. Products must be derived from legal hemp, with no more than 0.3% THC, instead of higher-THC cannabis. The bill went into full effect last week. 

Apparently, in the process of regulating less potent delta-8 edibles, these THC-infused products were accidentally included in the mix. We know! How could this happen? The bill was intended to allow states the power to market certain cannabis products, including CBD-infused foods and beverages. However, this political blunder of legalizing THC products has given the bill a whole new meaning.

This decision was deemed an “intentional step forward” by Minnesota House of Representatives majority leader Ryan Winkler — yet for many, a total surprise, considering Minnesota has no recreational THC law in place. 

Maren Schroeder, policy director of Sensible Minnesota — a drug policy reform non-profit — shares that this new law would not only clear up the haze surrounding the legality of CBD, but also grant the state the power to control requirements of testing and labeling products containing psychoactive THC. 

This apparent mistake was brought to the forefront when Minnesota Republican senator Jim Abler told the Star Tribune that he didn’t know what he was voting for and was under the impression that the new law would regulate products infused with delta-8 THC only — not legalize delta-9 THC. Since the bill’s passing, Minnesota lawmakers have seemed to keep the mistake under wraps. 

Many press outlets have made requests for commentary on this political blunder, but Senator Abeler and members of the Republican Party of Minnesota have yet to respond. But a video capturing the committee’s negotiations of the health and human services omnibus bill held on May 19th seems to shed some light. 

“That doesn’t legalize marijuana…we didn’t just do that, did we?” Abeler asks just seconds after passing the bill to legalize products containing THC. Minnesota House of Representatives and committee co-chair Tina Liebling responded to Senator Abler, “Oh are you kidding? Of course you have.”

While this bill has been great news for cannabis consumers and cannabis retailers alike, it certainly makes us question the careful thought put into its legislation. As a Minnesotan myself, no matter the amount, I can’t help but be amused at the fact that a bunch of Minnesota lawmakers just took part in essentially legalizing weed, unintentionally. What’s more? Despite the talk of pushback by the GOP, Governor Walz is a huge proponent of broader legalization. This makes us believe that the likelihood of their meddling affecting the progression of this bill is pretty low.

Again, we can’t understand how this was missed. But as Minnesotans head out to purchase these newly legal THC-infused products today, they should be reminded that cannabis and its constituents have come a long way, yet there is still more work to be done. And that starts with the people.


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