Minnesota Hemp Law Only Applies to ‘Leafy Plant Material’

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of someone arrested with hemp CBD vape cartridges, claiming the state’s hemp law does not extend to liquid mixtures containing THC (even if under the 0.3% THC threshold).

Full story after the jump.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals last month issued a decision to uphold a drug conviction of an individual arrested for vape cartridges containing less than .3% THC. The court ruled that “as a matter of law … the 0.3[%] threshold does not apply to a liquid mixture containing [THC].”

The ruling comes despite Minnesota lawmakers changing the definition of “marijuana” in the state’s Schedule I definition of the substance. The new definition included hemp only in the form of plant material, not in the form of a liquid, the report says.

“In light of the statutory amendments, we conclude as a matter of law that the 0.3[%] threshold in the amended statute applies to cannabis in the form of leafy plant material. We further conclude that the state’s evidence is insufficient to prove that the leafy plant material possessed by Loveless contains delta-9 [THC] in a concentration greater then 0.3[%]. But we conclude as a matter of law that the 0.3[%] threshold does not [sic] apply to a liquid mixture containing [THC], and we further conclude that the state’s evidence is sufficient to prove Loveless possessed a liquid mixture that contains [THC].” Minnesota vs Loveless, Sept. 13, 2021

The ruling could have an impact on the hemp products currently sold throughout the state, including flower extracts and those derived from other cannabinoids like CBD and CBN that contain THC in amounts below the 0.3% threshold.     

In a September 22 statement, Elliot Ginsburg, an attorney for the Minnesota Cannabis Association, said if the Court of Appeals ruling is upheld, “it has the possibility of destroying the industry as we know it.”

“It would allow the sale and possession of hemp flower only,” he said, “and would criminalize the sale and possession of extracts.”

Steven Brown, a board member of the trade group, said that criminalization “wasn’t the intent of the 2018 Farm Bill.”

“This could destroy many businesses in Minnesota,” Brown said in a statement. “Not just THC businesses but tobacco shops and even grocery stores. According to the way this trial went, all of them are doing something completely illegal, but it shouldn’t be.”

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