An office would oversee medical cannabis, CBD and, maybe even recreational marijuana.
State of Minnesota regulators are calling on lawmakers to create a central state cannabis office to oversee the booming markets for hemp, CBD and medical marijuana. Regulators have said that the markets are quickly expanding beyond their grasp.
Officials from the state Pharmacy Board and the departments of Agriculture, Health and Public Safety have pitched the idea of an Office of Cannabis Management to govern the “budding” (no pun intended) industry. They are hoping it will prepare Minnesota for the potential legalization of recreational marijuana. The thought is, having a one-stop-shop for all things cannabis, like other states have established, would streamline efforts and bring a variety of expertise under the same roof.
What are the Numbers
Minnesota’s patient enrollment in the medical cannabis program grew 27% from 2018 to 2019 and now exceeds 18,000 people. The number of hemp farmers grew from about 50 to 400 in the same span. Consumer CBD products are showing up in the unlikeliest of places, from convenience stores to pet shops.
Whitney Place, assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture pointed out that there is too much unregulated product out there and feels like the state needs an office to manage some of the things that are out ahead of federal regulation.
The Agriculture Department has its hands full with the growing state hemp program, but also must police illegal CBD food products, such as infused coffees, kombucha and beer. The agency must chart its own legal course with CBD foods because the federal Food and Drug Administration offers little guidance.
The Board of Pharmacy has faced similar struggles in regulating retail CBD products. There are so many CBD oils, ointments and inhalants that the board does not have enough resources to test them all.
To try and help, the Minnesota Hemp Farmers and Manufacturers Association nonprofit is testing 25 random CBD products to see if their contents line up with their labels. Test results for the first ten products came back and some contained traces of heavy metals and pesticides and almost all had less CBD than advertised.