CBD in Minnesota
2020 Complete Guide
Welcome to the complete guide to CBD in Minnesota, updated for 2020.
Is CBD Legal In Minnesota?
If you ask Google, you’ll get a variety of answers from a definitive “yes” to “absolutely not.” Why is this? What is the truth? Is CBD legal in Minnesota or not? Some articles will tell you that CBD oil is legal in all 50 states because hemp was made legal by the 2014 Farm Bill — which is not exactly true. Others, including state officials, will tell you that all CBD products are illegal outside of the state’s medical marijuana program — which is also arguably wrong.
Before we get into where to legally purchase CBD oil in Minnesota, some clarification is in order on what CBD actually is, where it comes from, what it’s good for, and how it is treated under Minnesota’s cannabis laws.
There Are Two Types of CBD Oil
As you are probably aware, cannabis contains a family of compounds known as cannabinoids. You may not be aware of the fact that there are two types of cannabinoids, those produced naturally by your body, called endocannabinoids, and those produced in plants such as cannabis, which are known as phytocannabinoids.
1. Cannabis Based CBD Oil
The most famous phytocannabinoid is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly referred to as THC. This is the compound produced in abundance in the plant’s flowers which causes a high (and is illegal according to the federal government). Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is the second most abundant phytocannabinoid. There are two distinct cannabis crops being cultivated in Minnesota and two distinct types of CBD oil which are produced from them which are identified by their cannabinoid content.
The first crop is marijuana which is grown to supply the state’s medical marijuana patients with medicine. Marijuana contains THC. The second type of cannabis crop is hemp. In order to qualify as hemp, a cannabis plant must produce less than 0.3% THC.
2. Hemp Derived CBD Oil
Although hemp is generally grown for the purpose of producing seeds and fibers, in recent years, cannabis cultivators have developed strains of marijuana that have had the THC bred out of them, qualifying them as hemp. These cannabinoid-rich strains look and smell much like marijuana and are cultivated using much the same methods. These cannabis strains, sometimes referred to as phytocannabinoid-rich hemp, or PCR hemp, although they do contain cannabinoids, are essentially devoid of THC and therefore do not cause a high.
While the main cannabinoid compound produced in marijuana is THC, PCR hemp is higher in another medicinally beneficial cannabinoid known as cannabidiol or CBD. There are also a number of other minor cannabinoids produced in both marijuana and hemp such as CBC, CBG, and CBN. Each comes with its own set of effects.
The maximum amount of cannabinoids the plant is capable of producing is somewhere in the neighborhood of 25% depending on the strain. For this reason, when levels of one cannabinoid go up, the levels of the others must come down. While some strains of marijuana produce mostly THC, others contain a balance of THC and CBD, and a few actually contain mostly CBD with low amounts of THC.
Both types of cannabis are cultivated for their medicinal properties, according to some authorities in the state of Minnesota, PCR hemp and its extracts, because they contain cannabinoids, fall under the state’s medical marijuana laws and not the state’s industrial hemp laws.
According to a letter penned in June of 2018 by Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan, “A person cannot sell a product intended for human consumption in Minnesota if it has any traces of cannabinoids in it, such as CBD (cannabidiol) or THC. Those found to be selling and/or in possession of such products in Crow Wing County will be prosecuted.”
Furthermore, says Ryan, “Our office has done extensive research regarding this and has found that any products being sold for human consumption are illegal that contain THC, CBD or hemp. THC, CBD and hemp are Schedule 1 controlled substances under both state and federal law and are illegal to possess and/or sell.”
Prior to 2020, businesses which were selling CBD oil in defiance of authorities did so under the claim that the product was made legal in the state under the Minnesota Industrial Hemp Development Act, passed in 2015. Actually, this is not the case. Although industrial hemp strains and the products derived from them such as hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, and hemp textiles are, indeed legal, PCR hemp, though it contains less than 0.3% THC, still falls under the state’s marijuana rules.
What this means is that CBD oil, although it can be legally purchased by Minnesota residents who are qualified for the state’s medical marijuana program, for everyone else, it falls under the state’s marijuana possession rules.
But the story doesn’t stop there. By the time you read this article, rules may have changed. That’s because since Ryan’s letter was penned, federal laws have changed. Lawmakers in Washington DC have included language within the recently signed farm bill which legalized the production of hemp nationwide and removed it from the DEA’s list of prohibited Schedule I substances.
Although it will still be regulated, the bulk of regulatory duties is being transferred over to the states. And at the federal level, hemp will no longer be the dominion of the Drug Enforcement Agency and will now fall under the care of the Department of Agriculture. This move is certain to have some effect on how hemp CBD oil is treated under Minnesota law.
As a result of the recent change, any article regarding the legality of CBD oil in the state of Minnesota which was written before the farm bill was signed at the end of 2018 is now, essentially, obsolete (though not necessarily wrong when it was written). This is not because state authorities have now agreed with the feds and deemed CBD oil legal (although it’s inevitable), but because it makes the likelihood of the successful prosecution of someone caught with the hemp-derived supplement very slim, thus making it not worth the state’s time and money.
All this being said, matters get a little bit murkier when it comes to CBD isolates. CBD isolate is produced by distilling CBD oil at a very particular temperature at which CBD evaporates. The vapor is then reconstituted producing 99.9% pure CBD — aka CBD isolate. This product is odorless and flavorless and is therefore ideal for adding to edibles and topical formulas.
But there’s a hitch. After numerous rounds of clinical studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a prescription drug called Epidiolex, which is essentially purified CBD, for the treatment of epileptic seizures. Although the compound has been moved from the DEA’s list of Schedule I substances down to Schedule V, the lowest tier, the FDA has still not granted CBD isolate a status known as GRAS, or “generally regarded as safe” for human consumption. Therefore, according to the FDA, it is prohibited to add CBD isolate to products intended for human consumption. Nonetheless, many shops in Minnesota still offer these products, and they can also easily be purchased online
Medical Benefits of CBD
Other than the fact that one gets you high and the other does not, in terms of their effects and benefits, what’s the difference between marijuana and hemp extracts? And what exactly are the medicinal benefits of CBD?
There is an longstanding debate as to whether or not THC is essential to the healing powers of cannabis. While some experts claim the medicinal effects of the plant are diminished without the THC, others point to the FDA’s recent approval of Epidiolex as evidence that CBD alone does, indeed, have substantial medicinal benefits.
Since cannabinoids were discovered nearly half a century ago, scientific research into the medicinal benefits of CBD has been ramping up steadily. Scores of lab and clinical studies attest to the fact that CBD oil may be effective for treating a wide variety of medical conditions. Whereas most drugs, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, work on a single principle, CBD’s effects are the result of its interaction with a vast and complex bodily system known as the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is intimately involved in wide a variety of bodily functions including immunoregulation, inflammatory response, nervous system activity, hormone production and much more. Furthermore, aside from its effects on the ECS, CBD has also been shown to provide antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, and antioxidant effects.
According to those who use it, common conditions which can be successfully treated with hemp CBD oil include depression, anxiety, stress, chronic pain, nausea, obesity, sleep disorders, and seizure disorders including muscle spasms that come with conditions such as epilepsy, MS, and Parkinson’s disease.
CBD may also play a role in preventing the development and spread of cancerous tumors. Lab studies done on cultured cancer cell lines have shown that CBD has the power to invoke a process in known as apoptosis in which unhealthy cells are instructed to stop replicating. Of course, a cell in a petri dish is far less complex than a human body, but results do look promising. Much more research needs to be done in this area.
Where to Buy Hemp CBD Products in MN
Some shops not only carry CBD oil and other CBD products meant for human consumption, but they also carry CBD products formulated especially for pets. These CBD oils, edibles, and other infused products for both humans and pets can easily be purchased online and delivered right to your door.
In 2020, there are numerous companies selling CBD oil online that will gladly ship their products to Minnesota residents. Here are a few of them. Many of these online hemp CBD retailers will give you a discount using the promo code “CBDBAY”. You go shopping, give it a try!
How To Legally Purchase CBD Oil In Minnesota
Minnesota’s medical marijuana program was instituted back in 2014. Under the law, patients with certain debilitating medical conditions might be qualified to obtain a physician’s recommendation for the use of medical cannabis products such as cannabis oil, vape oils, edibles, capsules, and pills. This includes CBD oil containing THC. Dried flower (aka “pot,” “weed,” “bud,” etc.) is, however, excluded from the law and remains illegal in the state.
Under Minnesota state laws, anyone caught with a bag of marijuana bud risks associated penalties. Although the state has decriminalized marijuana to some extent, there is still a $200 fine for possession of up to 42.5 grams of marijuana. Possession of more than 42.5 grams is a felony punishable by a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. And if someone is convicted of possession of more than 50 kg of marijuana with intent to sell the drug, they face a possible 30-year prison sentence and a whopping $500,000 fine.
To obtain a medical marijuana card in Minnesota, a patient must be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition by a certified healthcare practitioner and also register with the state Department of Health (DOH).
Qualifying Conditions for participation in the state’s medical marijuana program include cancer, intractable pain, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, autism, sleep apnea, Tourette syndrome, ALS, epilepsy, MS, IBD, Crohn’s disease, and any terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year.
However, buyer beware. Using CBD oil and other CBD-infused products derived from marijuana puts users at risk of failing a drug test or roadside sobriety test. Being charged with a DUI can be not only extremely expensive but could result in suspension of driver’s license and even possible jail time.
So, what about hemp-derived CBD products? Can they be purchased outside of a marijuana dispensary? As mentioned, although state authorities have pronounced the sale and possession of CBD oil outside of medical marijuana program illegal, many head shops, vape stores, and health food boutiques are still selling THC-free hemp-derived CBD oil, as well as CBD-infused edibles, vape oils, and topicals. These shops are especially abundant in larger cities such as Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Rochester.