While there are laws and penalties in place in Minnesota regarding the sale, possession and use of marijuana, the state has changed its stance regarding hemp. According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the new Farm Bill changes the Controlled Substances Act by removing hemp from the list and distinguishing it as separate from marijuana.
Farmers may now legally grow industrial hemp Cannabis sativa L. for fiber, grain and medical uses according to state and federal regulations. Any part of this plant, growing or not, qualifies, including:
- Isomers, acids and salts
- Salts of isomers
Perhaps the most important regulation is the amount of THC concentration. This refers to delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, and it must be no more than 0.3% (dry weight).
The THC content measurement will be taken from a sample gathered by an inspector from the MDA. An accredited laboratory in St. Paul will perform a cannabinoid profile analysis using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography. If the results show a THC level that is too high, the grower may request a second test, which he or she will pay for. Failure to meet the standard results in a destroyed crop.
According to the Star Tribune, the MDA has received hundreds of applications from potential growers and has provided approval for outdoor growth on thousands of acres. Various companies have raised millions of dollars and formed partnerships with growers, buyers, retailers and others as they prepare to do business in the state. For those involved in the industry, the goal is to create standards and regulations so that consumers are able to purchase consistently high-quality products.