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Minnesota hemp industry still trying to catch fire

marijuana plants

Six growers helped launch Minnesota’s hemp industry in 2016, through a pilot program that prioritized study alongside cultivation.

Since then, that program is no longer experimental and that number has grown exponentially — to 343 licensed growers by 2019.

But hemp production has hit a plateau in Minnesota. Many farmers still have last year's crop in storage because markets were saturated and prices crashed. And after a bumpy few years of changing regulations and falling prices, the industry is now looking to branch out from its early products — primarily focused on CBD oil — to new markets, in fiber and grain.


Recreational marijuana bill is back at Minnesota Capitol

four politicians wearing masks

An influential group of Minnesota legislators is renewing a push to legalize recreational marijuana this year, as more neighboring states allow and reap the financial windfall from legalized cannabis sales.

"The ability for Minnesotans to drive across the border to get cannabis is going to increase significantly," House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said at a news conference on Monday. "People are willing to drive to Wisconsin in order to buy fireworks. They're sure as heck going to drive to South Dakota to get cannabis."

Fifteen states, including South Dakota and Illinois, have voted to legalize recreational marijuana, and supporters in North Dakota are trying to get legalization on the 2022 ballot.


Minnesota Lawmakers Reintroduce Recreational Cannabis Legalization Bill

a small scale with cannabis buds being weighed

Minnesota is back with their legislative push to legalize recreational cannabis this year, hoping to follow in the footsteps of many of their neighbors.


Minnesota Moves Closer to Cannabis Legalization

rolling a cannabis joint

Minnesota is still pushing for legalization and planning to try again during this legislative session, although they are still facing some resistance from the state Senate


Push To Legalize Marijuana In Minnesota Gains Momentum, But Faces Opposition In Senate

legal gavel, medication bottle, and cannabis buds on a table

The push to fully legalize marijuana in Minnesota will be up for debate again this legislative session.

The issue has gained momentum in the last month, with the House of Representatives passing federal legislation. It still faces opposition in the Senate. Voters in South Dakota, Montana, New Jersey and Arizona made recreational Marijuana legal in November.

“Public support is growing for legalizing and expunging criminal records for cannabis,” House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said.

Winkler will again sponsor a bill for legalization, and explains there are two elements to it.


Minnesota adds 2 more qualifying conditions for medical marijuana

woman in darkness

The Minnesota Department of Health has announced that three more conditions now qualify for access to the state's medical cannabis program.

The department said sickle cell disease and chronic vocal/or motor tic disorder will be added to its list of qualifying conditions, which will take effect in August 2021.

It comes after MDH sought public submissions for potential qualifying conditions during the summer, which went to a public comment period and before a review panel.

Sickle cell disease, a group of hereditary red blood cell disorders, predominantly affects people who are Black or African American, and per MDH can trigger severe pain when sickle cells "get stuck in small blood vessels and block the flow of blood and oxygen to organs in the body."


Recreational marijuana in South Dakota might create challenges for Minnesota law enforcement

Jar of cannabis buds

South Dakotans voting to legalize recreational marijuana July 1 creates some challenges for law enforcement in Minnesota, mainly the possibility of impaired drivers coming back from South Dakota.

“The potential for drivers who have consumed marijuana to various impairment levels and then driving in Minnesota creates a safety risk, mainly due to the impact of marijuana on reaction time and impaired judgment on their driving,” Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt said.


North Dakota could soon be surrounded by legalized marijuana

Map of America with south Dakota and Minnesota highlighted

With Montana and South Dakota approving recreational marijuana ballot measures earlier this month and Minnesota's governor and most Democrats in favor, North Dakota could in a year or so be surrounded by marijuana retail stores.

To the north is Canada, which legalized marijuana nationally.


Will legalization of pot in S.D. waft to Minnesota?

While we were watching other elections, voters in South Dakota legalized marijuana.

What will that mean for Minnesota?

In Rock County, Minn., close to the South Dakota border, bemused officials took in the news.

“It was a shocker,” said Rock County Sheriff Evan Verbrugge. “I think everybody in this area was really surprised that South Dakota voted this way before Minnesota.”

That’s pot politics. Lots of issues split along partisan lines — blue against red, liberal against conservative, us against them — but not marijuana. Never marijuana.


Minnesota opens public comments for new medical cannabis qualifying conditions

The Office of Medical Cannabis within the Minnesota Department of Health is now accepting written public comments on petitions for three new potential qualifying conditions under Minnesota's Medical Cannabis Program:

  • Anxiety
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Tic disorder

A Medical Cannabis Review Panel will consider all public comments, as well as scientific reviews, and report to the Commissioner of Health by November. Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm will then accept or deny the petitions by Dec. 1.


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