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Red, white and blue - and now green as THC food and drinks are legal in Minnesota

Minnesota’s new hemp law
Minnesota’s new hemp law 02:31

BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- The celebration of Red, White and Blue, can now mix in a little green as a new law took effect on Friday that for the first time regulates the use of cannabinoids derived from hemp in food and beverages in Minnesota.

"We're trying to create an environment where there are safe products for consumers. That's what this law was intended to do," Josh Maslowski, owner of Stigma Hemp, told WCCO. "Cannabis is not going to go away, so the best option to do is create a responsible industry."

Hemp, a cousin of marijuana, is a cannabis plant that has less than 0.3% THC, the ingredient that at a higher percentage could make someone high. First defined and regulated by the federal government in 2018, Minnesota followed suit in 2019 and stores quickly rolled out hemp products with CBD, another extract.

"THC is like Michael Jordan whereas CBD is like Scottie Pippin," Maslowski quipped. "Together they work really well as a team, but on their own, they're their own animal. Anti-inflammation, anti-anxiety is CBD; Creativity and productivity or alert - that's THC. Think about turning something on and turning something off. That's how they work together."

The new law now governs the packaging, the sale and the makeup of the products, which may not contain more than 5 mg of THC per serving, and no more than 50 mg per package.

Maslowski is now partnering with experts who worked in food processing and ingredient manufacturing.

"It will be a lot of trial and error, a lot's going to evolve, learning curves for people to understand," he added.

The use of industrial hemp in the U.S. has exploded over the past decade; a government report valued the industry at $824 million in 2021. In Minnesota, moreover, farmers planted 2,650 acres of hemp - fifth-most among U.S. states.

"This is an unusual situation in which you had these businesses going to lawmakers asking for them to regulate," Carol Moss, a business attorney who works with cannabis companies, explained to WCCO. "We want to do right by our customers, we want an even playing field, we don't want to compete against bad actors.

According to Moss, no one should be caught off-guard by the idea of THC-infused snacks and drinks being regulated by the state.

"People will see this can be a very good thing for our farmers, for retailers, for employers, for people getting jobs, and for a higher tax base. This is a very good thing for the State of Minnesota.

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