Minnesota’s proposal to legalize up to five milligrams of THC in food and beverage products — which was signed into law last month — took effect on Friday, July 1, and some Republican lawmakers may have voted for the measure without realizing its full scope, NPR reports.
The new hemp industry regulations were designed to support hemp industry growth and undercut profits from unregulated cannabinoid sales. Under the bill, THC-infused edible products containing up to five milligrams of hemp-derived delta-8 or delta-9 THC are now legal statewide with a maximum of 50 milligrams of THC per package. THC derived from cannabis plants — which are legally defined as containing more than 0.3% delta-9 THC — remains prohibited in Minnesota.
The five-milligram limit is about half the standard recommended dose for THC-infused edibles in fully legalized markets.
Notably, some members of Minnesota’s Republican-controlled Senate may not have realized how far the proposal went. State Sen. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka), chair of the Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee, said he was unaware when the Legislature granted its unanimous approval in a voice vote for the measure that the bill legalized both delta-8 and delta-9 THC products.
“That doesn’t legalize marijuana — we didn’t just do that, did we?” he asked immediately following its passage, according to the report.
Rep. Tina Liebling (D-Rochester) replied in jest, “Oh, are you kidding? Of course you have. No, just kidding. Next, we’ll do that next, OK?”
Sen. Abeler later told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the Legislature should consider rolling back the bill due to the misunderstanding but House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) said Democrats would not support the move, according to the report. Additionally, state Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake) reportedly dodged the Star-Tribune’s questions about whether she had understood that the law would legalize edibles containing all types of THC when she voted for its passage.
Minnesota Democrats support the full legalization of cannabis for adults aged 21 and older while Republicans remain opposed.
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