Applications for hemp-derived business permits surge in Minnesota

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More than 1,000 companies and entrepreneurs have applied for business licenses to be part of Minnesota’s booming low-dose, hemp-derived products market.

The run-up to the Oct. 1 application deadline has fueled application filings, which more than doubled from mid-August to 1,250, the Minnesota Department of Health told MinnPost.

The application deadline applies to any business, including liquor stores, that “sell hemp-derived cannabinoid products containing THC, CBD, or both,” according to information from the health department.

Registration is free.

Once registration is completed, operators will receive a registration certificate and unique ID number via email.

The new batch of registered businesses will face new regulations and taxation under Minnesota’s adult-use cannabis legalization law that went into effect in May.

The law also transferred oversight of hemp-derived products from the Board of Pharmacy to the health department’s Office of Medical Cannabis (OCM).

The OCM is in the spotlight after the sudden resignation of Erin Dupree, who stepped down as director last week, a day after the state announced her newly created role.

DuPree “ran a business that sold products that exceeded state limits on THC potency, owed money to former associates and accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in tax liens,” according to an investigation by MPR News-APM Reports.

Her resignation will delay the rulemaking process for both hemp-derived products and adult-use marijuana goods while Gov. Tim Walz seeks a new appointee.

Hemp-derived product makers and sellers in Minnesota were largely given regulatory freedom after a groundbreaking state law in May 2022 allowed the sale of hemp-derived THC edibles in mainstream retail outlets such as grocery and convenience stores – distribution channels largely prohibited in recreational and medical cannabis markets.

When the law took effect July 1, 2022, the state allowed retailers to sell hemp-derived THC products without a license, sparking a wave of product innovation and retail opportunities.

Those dynamics have helped Minnesota become the hottest market for low-dose, hemp-derived THC beverages in the country – and likely anywhere else.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and opened the door for sales of delta-8, delta-9 and other intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids with up to 0.3% THC by dry weight.

Chris Casacchia can be reached at chris.casacchia@mjbizdaily.com.