During a meeting last week with the Minnesota Cannabis Association, members of the state Department of Agriculture and the Board of Pharmacy indicated that most hemp-derived products meant for human consumption whether CBD or Delta-8 THC run afoul of state law.

Minnesota Cannabis Association board member Steven Brown said that during the meeting, state officials stated that hemp-derived tinctures “are illegal” and an Agriculture Department representative on the call added that “some of the products” Brown brought up in the call “would not be legal food” under the state’s statute definition of hemp.

According to the Minnesota Cannabis Association in a press release, the Board of Pharmacy only considers hemp seed oil and CBD flower legal. The advocacy organization points to a 22-page document from the 901st meeting of the Pharmacy Board that outlines the agency position, basing it on the hemp reforms included in the 2018 update of the 2014 federal Farm Bill. In that document, the board makes its case that since the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any of the common cannabinoid products such as gummies then they cannot be legal. Further, the Pharmacy Board points to a Dec. 18, 2020 statement by former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb:

“Additionally, it’s unlawful under the [Food Drug &Cosmetic Act] to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived. This is because both CBD and THC are active ingredients in FDA-approved drugs and were the subject of substantial clinical investigations before they were marketed as foods or dietary supplements.”

The Pharmacy Board, during that meeting, ultimately determined that “the sale of products containing cannabinoids or [THC], extracted or indirectly derived from any type of cannabis plant, remains illegal under federal and Minnesota state law, with certain exceptions.” Those exceptions are FDA-approved drugs such as Epidiolex.

Brown, who owns a retail hemp shop in Minnesota, said that the association disagrees with the Board of Pharmacy interpretation and they also hinge their argument on federal guidelines.

“Eighty-five percent of products on the shelves will have to be pulled,” Brown said in a statement. “This affects so many businesses. So many families. Our business will probably have to shut down in Minnesota if we don’t turn this around.”

In October, the state Court of Appeals ruled that the statutory definition of hemp only applies to leafy plant material, and that “as a matter of law” the 0.3% threshold – which delineates legal hemp from outlawed cannabis “does not apply to a liquid mixture” containing THC. That decision came in the case of an individual arrested for possessing CBD-rich vape cartridges which contained less than 0.3% THC.

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