(This is the 10th installment in a series that examines hemp markets in U.S. states. Other installments: Colorado, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.)
Ever wondered why the U.S. hemp harvest is so tiny despite the crop’s adaptability and market potential?
Minnesota is a great place to find some answers.
The North Star State has allowed modern hemp production since 2016 and has flexible rules on how the crop can be used.
Minnesota has an abundance of wild hemp descended from World War II-era crops, and its northern latitude makes it a natural fit for hemp varieties already growing in Canada.
“No one’s reported any profits from their hemp yet,” said Andrea Vaubel, who oversees Minnesota’s hemp program for the state Department of Agriculture. “We’re still testing the varieties that will work for us and finding out what the opportunities are.”
Sound familiar? Hemp growers in Minnesota report processing delays and legal confusion, plus natural pests that make hemp production difficult for novice farmers. In other words, Minnesota’s struggles are a snapshot of the hurdles faced by the hemp industry nationwide.
Just as in other states, though, Minnesota’s small hemp industry has plentiful enthusiasm, with farmers optimistic about the prospects for growing a profitable industry.
Here’s what you need to know about the Minnesota hemp market.
Minnesota authorized hemp production in 2016 and immediately ran into trouble. Though hemp grows wild throughout much of the state, federal authorities wouldn’t allow Minnesota to develop the wild hemp, instead requiring the state to import hemp seeds from Canada or other nations.
A 2015 report from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture bemoaned that “the DEA has stalled on its approval of a requested amendment … that would allow the collection of wild-type hemp seed already established in this