Minnesota companies, CBD sellers are heading to a battle subsequent 12 months

A showdown on the future of Minnesota’s CBD industry is looming for lawmakers to find a solution early next year.

The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy says many CBD products sold in the state are illegal and wants lawmakers to change the state’s approach to the marketing and sale of the popular hemp products.

But the state’s fast-growing cannabis industry is facing a new threat that is mounting after facing heightened enforcement by the state Department of Agriculture.

“We received a cease-and-desist statement on November 15th for all CBD foods – about 38% of our business,” said Jeff Brinkman, president of Superior Cannabis based in Austin, Minnesota, which also has a location in Duluth. “We are in our second month of declining profits.”

Marketed as a cure for anxiety, sore muscles, and more, cannabidiol, or CBD, grew to a $ 1.3 billion business in North America last year, according to Fortune Business Insights.

In 2019, Minnesota lawmakers passed law stating that non-food products that “contain non-intoxicating cannabinoids,” like CBD, “may be sold for human or animal consumption.”

But the Pharmacy Council, in a December 8 report, wrote that “The sale of products containing cannabinoids or tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) are extracted or obtained indirectly from any type of cannabis plant, with some exceptions under federal and state law Minnesota remains illegal. “

The Department of Agriculture said in a statement Thursday that it is “actively working to inform retailers and respond to complaints”.

Cody Wiberg, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy, said a recent ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeal challenges the legality of all products containing CBD and requires lawmakers to act to keep some products legal.

“We actually tried to make some of these products legal at the state level even though they are illegal under federal law,” he said Thursday. “We just want to make sure that protective measures and standards are in place.”

The Federal Food and Drug Administration says that CBD products cannot be sold as dietary supplements or food, but has no unequivocal answer as to whether CBD sales are completely illegal. “That depends, among other things, on the intended use of the product and how it is labeled and marketed,” says the agency.

The FDA has so far approved a drug containing CBD. It is used to treat epilepsy.

The Pharmacy Committee works with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Health, and Public Safety to refine cannabis regulations. She has drawn up a draft law that the legislature should tackle next year.

The industry was shaken by what one lawyer called the “crackdown” by government agencies.

“I’ve had CBD retailers tearfully calling me for building their lives on it, and now they’re ripping the ground up,” said attorney Jason Tarasek, founder of Minnesota Cannabis Law. “We are also pushing for legislation to address this and are considering proactive litigation to address some of these interpretative issues.”

The Minnesota Cannabis Association said it was considering “options to save Minnesota farmers and Minnesota businesses selling CBD / hemp products.”

“Eighty-five percent of the products on the shelves need to be pulled out,” wrote board member Steven Brown, owner of Nothing But Hemp. “This affects so many companies. So many families. Our Minnesota store will likely have to close if we don’t change this. “

The Pharmacy Council also plans to ban Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC, intoxicating compounds made from hemp that have been blown off shelves in smoke shops and CBD stores in states that have not legalized recreational marijuana.

Federal and state laws expressly prohibit delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has long been the dominant psychoactive element in marijuana, so the new formulations made from legally grown hemp can act in a legal gray area.

“Delta-8-THC products are not approved for use in food or beverages and should not be sold in Minnesota,” the state Department of Agriculture said. But its website claims that Delta-8-THC “is not illegal for sale in Minnesota”.

The Pharmacy Council believes Delta-8 is illegal under state law because it is “indirectly” made from hemp, not “extracted” from it. A chemical process is required to produce enough Delta-8 THC necessary for users to achieve a high similar to traditional THC.

Several states have already banned Delta-8 and other hemp-derived THCs, including Iowa and North Dakota.

Pharmacies Committee officials recommended that the law be amended to “prevent the continued sale of intoxicating tetrahydrocannabinols indirectly derived from hemp – at least until a law is passed that provides a better, more comprehensive regulatory framework for dealing with sativa cannabis and all resulting products “. it.”