Minnesota Takes A New Approach, Legalizing THC Only In Food And DrinkJune 14, 2022
Minnesota lawmakers took an unusual step last week when they passed a bill to legalize THC in food and drink despite cannabis remaining generally illegal under state law. Set to go into effect July 1 after governor Tim Walz signed the bill on Thursday, the law allows cannabinoids including CBD, CBG, and THC to be added to food and drink in Minnesota. In the case of THC, the food products may contain up to 5mg per serving and up to 50mg per package.
These new rules will make Minnesota a unique case in the landscape of U.S. legalization. No other state has taken a form factor-first approach to legalization or designated certain ways of ingesting recreational cannabis legal before others. Minnesota decriminalized minor cannabis possession in 1976 and enacted its medical marijuana program in 2014.
The law is structured around weight ratios—along with the 5mg cap on THC per serving, products cannot contain more than 0.3% THC weight by volume. Figuring out the limits and workarounds of this language will probably involve some trial and error, but it essentially legalizes cannabis food and drink—in which cannabis makes up a tiny fraction of the product’s overall weight—while prohibiting cannabis flower and vape cartridges, in which cannabinoids appear in much higher proportions. This means that Delta-8 THC vapes, for example, will stay illegal under Minnesota law, making that aspect of the legislation more restrictive than federal law (given the recent court ruling that Delta-8 is legal under the federal definition of hemp).
The overall impact of the law will be interesting to watch unfold. Edibles are a popular cannabis category but generally rank third behind flower and vaping, while beverages—while growing rapidly in popularity—still make up a small percentage of the market. Minnesota will provide an environment to test the demand for these categories when they’re the only options. “Overall I think it’s a way in which Minnesotans are going to be able to check out what it’s like to have legal products being sold on shelves in a non-gray market,” Kurtis Hanna, lobbyist for the Minnesota chapter of NORML, told the Star Tribune.—Danny SullivanSubscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning. You will also receive the Cannabis edition as part of your subscription.