SAINT PAUL, Minn. — A new law taking effect Friday in Minnesota will authorize the sale of hemp-based THC edibles and drinks across the state.
The law, which passed through the omnibus health bill in the final hours of the legislative session in May, allows consumers 21 and older to buy products with up to 5 milligrams of THC per serving or 50 milligrams per package.
"Minnesota is the first state to take a step in this direction to regulate the sale of THC products derived from hemp," said Zach Rohr, founder of "Minny Grown" in Cannon Falls. "It's a huge boost for local farmers, local retailers, and everyone involved in the industry."
Rohr, who has been growing hemp since 2019 to sell food and CBD products, said the new law allows him to now offer "Boundary Waters Bluebeary" gummies infused with THC. On Thursday, ahead of a busy production weekend, he gave KARE 11 a tour of his Cannon Falls headquarters. He explained that the THC gummies will look just like the CBD gummies he currently sells.
"The last three weeks have been crazy, trying to ramp up for this," Rohr said. "You're going to see a whole litany of products available."
Rohr and others expressed surprise that the Minnesota legislature legalized THC products derived from hemp, since the Republican-led Senate has long opposed legalizing recreational marijuana.
DFL Representative Heather Edelson said she brought the bill through three different committees before it finally passed at the very end of the legislative session, when a conference committee resolved differences in the omnibus health bill between the DFL-led House and Republican-led Senate. Edelson said that the unregulated sale of potent levels of "Delta 8," a specific type of THC, required the legislature to act across the board to regulate THC products.
"Some of the gummies that were being sold were 25 milligrams for maybe one or two. Super high dosage. A lot of the products were targeting kids," Edelson said. "It was just going to create this legal nightmare if we didn't address this issue."
Republican Sen. Mark Koran, meanwhile, told KARE 11 in a statement that due to "federal changes in 2018, the Board of Pharmacy and Department of Agriculture recognized the need for regulations on certain products and worked with the legislature to restrict the market."
Kim Bemis, co-chair of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Medical Marijuana, expressed concerns about the bill in an interview with KARE 11.
"I don't think elected leaders grasped that this was happening," Bemis said. "I think we need to talk to the Board of Pharmacy -- they're the ruling body on this. Who is regulating this? Who is doing any kind of investigating? Who is controlling it? Who is inspecting it? None of that was taken care of in the legislation."
At Minny Grown in Cannon Falls, however, Zach Rohr believes momentum is building toward the legalization of recreational marijuana.
"It's the most logical progression," Rohr said. "I do think this is a great step in the right direction, having edibles available, THC derived from hemp. It's very safe."
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