Hemp flower offers one of the most versatile ways to get the benefits of CBD. You can smoke it, vape it, cook with it, or even create homemade CBD tinctures and topical products. These days, some hemp flower even features other helpful cannabinoids like CBG and delta-8 THC.
But if you live in The North Star State, you may be wondering if hemp flower is legal in your area. Let’s take a closer look.
Minnesota’s Hemp Regulations
Prompted by the 2014 federal Farm Bill, Minnesota implemented a hemp pilot program in 2016. The program, regulated by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), allowed government agencies and universities to cultivate hemp for research.
After the United States Congress removed hemp from Schedule I of the list of federally controlled substances, hemp farming saw a dramatic increase nationwide. Minnesota went from a mere six legal hemp farms in 2016 to 350 by 2019.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture adheres to the same definition of legal industrial hemp as the federal government does. Minnesota statute 18K.02 defines hemp in the following manner:
“Industrial hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, including the plant’s seeds, and all the plant’s derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
As you can see, Minnesota’s definition of legal hemp includes all parts of the plants, including the flowers, as long as they contain no more than .3% delta-9 THC.
Requirements for Growing Hemp Flower in Minnesota
Residents who would like to grow hemp will need to obtain a license from the state’s Hemp Program, run by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Applying for a hemp growing license involves submitting an online application, paying associated fees, and passing a criminal background check. All Minnesota hemp licenses need to be renewed before December 31 of each year.
Unfortunately, Minnesota bars anyone who has had a drug-related felony in the past 10 years from holding a license, alienating many of the people most harmed by the failed War on Drugs. Hopefully, Minnesota lawmakers will correct this policy error with future amendments to the hemp licensing regulations.
Minnesota hemp farmers are prohibited from growing, processing, or storing hemp in a residential dwelling. Indoor growing spaces, including greenhouses, must be registered with the Department of Agriculture to facilitate government inspections. All hemp farms, whether indoor or outdoor, must undergo an official field test within 30 days of harvest. Any crop that exceeds the limit of .3% THC must be destroyed.
Legal Hemp Products in Minnesota
Minnesota Statute 151.72 outlines the state’s regulations regarding hemp products. To remain in compliance, manufacturers of legal hemp products must follow state guidelines regarding cannabinoid content, color additives, product labeling, lab testing, packaging, and freshness.
To remain compliant with state law, manufacturers of hemp and hemp-derived products must:
- Ensure that their products contain less than .3% delta-9 THC.
- Accurately label their products to reflect the cannabinoid content, including CBD and THC levels.
- Include a standard FDA medical disclaimer on the label, which is visible and easy to read.
- Have a third-party laboratory test the products for cannabinoid content, pesticides, fertilizers, and heavy metals.
- Manufacturers must print the name and address of the company and testing lab on the label.
- Use only additives that carry approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Adhere to sanitary conditions when manufacturing and packaging the product.
- Only use containers that are free of any substance that may be harmful to human health.
At the time of this writing, edibles are effectively prohibited in Minnesota. The state only allows for FDA-approved edibles, and the administration has yet to publish its guidelines regarding hemp-infused foods and drinks.
Minnesota’s Hemp Flower Laws
While some states have attempted to pass laws against smokable hemp, Minnesota permits its residents to purchase, possess, and transport hemp flowers. However, since traditional cannabis is still illegal in the state, you’ll need to store the product’s official Certificate of Analysis (COA) with your buds. High-THC cannabis and legal hemp flower look identical, and a COA will prove to law enforcement that you are acting within the limits of federal and state laws.
Another factor to keep in mind is where you can safely consume your smokable hemp in Minnesota. State law prohibits smoking or vaping hemp flower in all public spaces, including sidewalks and parking lots. You’ll need to keep your consumption within the confines of your home or other suitable private space.
Where to Buy Hemp Flower Online in Minnesota
If you live in one of Minnesota’s larger cities, you should be able to find hemp flower in a local CBD shop. But keep in mind that the strain selection may be limited, and you may have to drive a while if you reside in a smaller town.
Online shopping offers the best way to buy hemp flower in Minnesota. You’ll have access to a wide assortment of strains, and you can have your hemp flower delivered directly to your doorstep.
Tips for Choosing High-Quality CBD Hemp Flower
Whether you choose to buy locally or online, you’ll need to understand a few key points to select the best hemp flower.
Growing and Curing Methods
Where and how the hemp is grown and cured makes a considerable difference in overall flower quality. Look for companies that use organic farming methods and slow cure their buds. Organic farming, slow-curing, and proper storage preserve the terpenes and cannabinoids that determine the flavor and potency of the buds you buy.
Lab testing is critical when it comes to smokable hemp flower and CBD products in general. Third-party lab results ensure that the hemp flower you purchase is free of dangerous contaminants like pesticides, mold, and heavy metals. Official COAs will also tell you the cannabinoid content of the strain, so you will know how much CBD the flower contains and be certain the product is compliant with the .3% THC limit.
Most reputable hemp companies publish lab reports right on their website. If you’re buying locally, you may need to request a COA from the vendor. Consumers would be wise to avoid vendors who refuse to provide lab reports for CBD products as they may be contaminated or illegal.