FAQs Regarding Minnesota’s Hemp Program
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When can I apply for a 2021 Hemp Program license?
The application period for 2021 is now open, and will remain open until April 30, 2021.
Paper application forms are also available by request ([email protected], 651-201-6600).
If you are a current license holder and need to add or change locations, submit a Change Request Form. I you need to report hemp acreage planted or request an inspection/THC test, please contact the MDA Hemp Program staff to request the Planting Report form.
I am currently a hemp grower in Minnesota, how do I request an inspection and testing of my field?
An MDA inspector must take plant samples for THC testing within 30 days of harvest. The license holder is responsible for notifying the MDA of the hemp lots they’ve planted by filing a Planting Report form. Please contact the Hemp Program staff to request the Planting Report form. Once we receive your report, we will schedule your inspection and sampling. Inspectors take 30 cuttings per lot, the top 2 inches of the female flowers. At least 75% of the plants must be flowering in order for us to take samples, and there must be at least 2 inches of female flower vertically along the stem. Each variety is considered a separate lot and must be sampled separately. The grower will be invoiced for any extra inspections/tests beyond the first one.
If you aren’t sure when your harvest will occur, you can either send a picture of your plants along with your form or write a description of the growth stage that your plants are at. That will help us to determine the proper time for the inspection. Please be advised that all hemp crops must be tested by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, pass the THC Test, and have an issued Fit for Commerce certificate prior to transferring ownership of the crop. Selling or transferring ownership of hemp crop without a Fit for Commerce certificate is a violation.
What is industrial hemp?
As defined in the 2018 Farm Bill and Minnesota Statues Chapter18K, Section 2, hemp is the plant Cannabis sativa L., and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, including the seeds, and all its derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. For regulatory purposes, the THC concentration is analyzed post-decarboxylation, as required by the federal law. This is commonly referred to as “Total Potential THC” and is equal to delta-9 THC + (THCA x 0.877). Hemp is an agricultural crop which can be grown for fiber, grain, or medicinal usages.
What is the history behind the Hemp Program in Minnesota?
The 2014 Farm Bill contained a provision to allow state departments of agriculture to administer pilot programs to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of hemp. In 2015, the Minnesota Industrial Hemp Development Act (IHDA), Minnesota Statues Chapter18K, became law. This allowed the MDA to create a hemp pilot program. The Minnesota pilot program operated in 2016 through 2020.
The 2018 Farm Bill officially legalized hemp cultivation for commercial purposes and removed it from the Controlled Substances Act. On October 31, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the Interim Final Rule (7 CFR part 990), which forms the regulatory framework for all hemp cultivation nationwide. Each state and tribal authority had to submit a state plan for approval to USDA if they wanted to continue to regulate hemp at the state/tribal level. The Minnesota state plan was approved in July 2020. Visit the USDA website to view the entirety of the Minnesota plan. The pilot program will expire on December 31, 2020 and the commercial Hemp Program will begin operating under the state plan on January 1, 2021.
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How long is my license good for?
Each license expires on December 31 of the year issued. Each year, licensees must reapply to be in the program.
Can I see a list of the current grower and processor license holders?
The MDA Hemp Program posts a list of all licensed hemp growers and processors. Please view the Current License Holder page for this information.
How do you know my field’s THC content?
An MDA inspector must sample each hemp lot produced in Minnesota. Each variety grown is considered a separate lot and must be sampled separately. The grower will be invoiced for any extra inspections/tests beyond the first one. A grower may not harvest a hemp lot until a sample has been collected by the MDA. Growers must harvest each lot within 15 days of the official MDA sample collection date. The grower may harvest any time after the sample is collected, even before they have received the official lab results/Fit for Commerce certificate from the MDA. However, they cannot combine lots or sell the material until they receive the Fit for Commerce certificate. It is the responsibility of the license holder to notify the MDA when their hemp crop is ready for sampling by filing a Planting Report. If a grower cannot complete harvest within 15 days of the official sample collection date, they must inform the program staff. A second sample may be taken by the MDA if the grower will be harvesting past the 15-day window. The grower would then be invoiced for the second inspection/test.
To sample a hemp lot, the inspector will take 30 cuttings of 30 different plants per lot, randomly selected throughout the plant population. They cut the top 2 inches of the female flower of each of the 30 plants. At least 75% of the female plants must be flowering in order to take samples, and there must be at least 2 inches of flower vertically along the stem. Lots which have less than 30 plants will be sampled proportionally. Please contact the MDA Hemp Program for more information.
The samples will be submitted to Legend Technical Services Inc., an accredited lab in St. Paul, for THC analysis by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). The final regulatory determination will be based on the total potential THC post-decarboxylation, which is equal to delta-9 THC + (THCA x 0.877) if the sample is analyzed via HPLC methodology.
Compliance of a hemp lot will be based on whether the percentage of Total THC determined on a dry weight basis includes a value of 0.30% within a range of values specified by a plus or minus the measurement of uncertainty (MU). The MU adopted by the MDA Hemp Program is based on the laboratory measurement of uncertainty plus sampling variability. The MU for 2021 is 24% of the value of the % Total THC test result.
Example 1: A test result is 0.396% and the MU is +/- 0.09533, therefore the results range is 0.300- 0.491%. Since 0.30% falls within the result range, this is a passing THC test result.
Example 2: A test result is 0.422% and the MU is +/- 0.10209, therefore the results range is 0.320- 0.524%. Since 0.30% does not fall within the result range, this is a failing THC test result.
What if my plants test above the acceptable 0.3 percent THC threshold?
The license holder has the option to either destroy the crop or request a second test. The second sample would also be collected by an MDA inspector and analyzed by HPLC by Legend Technical Services Inc. The cost of this second sampling and test will be borne by the license holder. If the grower declines the second sample/test, or if the hemp sample fails a second time, the grower will be ordered to destroy their fields. Cannabis plants exceeding the acceptable THC level constitute a Schedule 1 controlled substance and must be destroyed. There is no remediation of “hot hemp” allowed.
Beginning in 2021, under the state plan, the following acts are considered “negligent violations“:
- Failing to provide an accurate legal description of land where hemp is grown.
- Growing hemp without a license.
- Producing cannabis that exceeds the acceptable hemp THC level. Hemp growers do not commit a negligent violation if they make reasonable efforts to grow hemp and the cannabis does not have a Total THC concentration exceeding 0.50% after the MU is factored in. *Please note: The only way to prove a “reasonable effort to grow hemp” is to have the seed/clone label, seed/clone vendor info, and the certificate of analysis for the parent plants showing 0.3% THC or less. It is essential for all growers to obtain these records for every lot of hemp they grow and supply it upon request to the MDA.
For each negligent violation, the MDA will issue a Notice of Violation and require a corrective action plan for the grower. Any licensee that has 3 negligent violations in a 5-year period shall have their license revoked and be ineligible to produce hemp for a period of 5 years beginning on the date of the third violation.
A “violation with a culpable mental state greater than negligence” includes:
- Growing cannabis that tests over 0.50% Total THC after the MU is factored in.
- Growing cannabis that tests between 0.30- 0.50% Total THC and the grower cannot demonstrate that they made a reasonable effort to grow legal hemp (i.e. cannot supply the seed/clone label, seed/clone vendor info, and the certificate of analysis for the parent plants showing 0.3% THC or less).
- The licensee, key participant, individual grower, or authorized representative pleading guilty to, or being convicted of, any drug-related felony during the license period or the 10-year period prior to obtaining the license.
- Making any materially false statement to the MDA.
- Hindering or obstructing an MDA inspector from inspecting, sampling, or carrying out the duties under the state plan or M.S. Chapter 18K.
If the MDA determines that a licensee has committed a violation with a culpable mental state greater than negligence, the MDA shall immediately report the violation to the USDA, U.S. Attorney General, and the Minnesota Attorney General.
What happens if I grow more than one variety or harvest more than once during the year?
The MDA must sample and test every lot of hemp grown in Minnesota. Every hemp variety planted is considered a separate lot and must be reported and tested separately. The program fees paid by the licensee cover the cost of one inspection visit and one sample/THC test. If they have more than one variety, then we will sample each one separately and send an invoice after the inspection at $125 per additional variety. If they require more than one inspection at a location during the year then they will be invoiced $250 for the additional inspection, plus $125 per additional THC test beyond the first one.
Do I need to report my hemp acreage to the Farm Service Agency (FSA)?
Beginning January 1, 2021 all hemp growers are required to report their hemp acreage to their local FSA offices. This requirement applies to all hemp growers and all hemp lots, including indoor hemp growers. Please refer to the FSA handout Acreage Reporting Related to Hemp Production, and contact your local FSA office for more information.
Can I grow hemp inside a greenhouse or building?
Yes, you can grow indoors as long as you register the location. Growing inside any enclosed area, whether a building, greenhouse, or hoop house, is considered “indoor” growing. You must register the indoor space as a separate grow location, even if you are only starting seeds there. Growing, processing, or storing hemp inside a residential dwelling is not permitted.
Do I need to notify the sheriff/local police or does the MDA do it?
Once you register your hemp fields with us, we will share your field location and contact information with local law enforcement, including the sheriff and the regional drug task force. For this reason, it is essential that you provide accurate field location information.
Can I grow hemp near a school, a town, or a major road? Are there restrictions on where I can grow it?
Growing, processing, or storing hemp inside a residential dwelling is not permitted. Other than that, we do not put restrictions on hemp production locations as part of the hemp application and licensing process. You may be subject to township or city zoning ordinances, which you are responsible for knowing and complying with.
Do I have to be a Minnesota resident to get an MDA Hemp Program license?
No, residents of other states may get a Minnesota Hemp Program license. The land that they grow hemp on must be in Minnesota. An MDA Hemp Program license only covers activities within the state of Minnesota. For example, a processor with locations in multiple states would only be covered by their MDA license for processing done within Minnesota.
Can I grow hemp under contract with someone else?
A company may contract growers to produce hemp. Each individual grower must obtain their own MDA Hemp Program license.
Do I have to own the land I want to grow hemp on?
A license holder can grow hemp on rented land as long as the landowner gives consent to allow hemp to be grown on their property, understands that the MDA will perform routine inspections and plant sampling in the fields and gives inspectors unfettered access to the grow locations. The licensee must provide the MDA with the landowner’s name and contact information. The licensee must make a copy of their Hemp Program license available to the land or building owner.
If I hold the hemp license, do all of my employees have to pass a background check?
No. Only the applicant is required to submit fingerprints to the MDA and pass the criminal history background check. That individual is the primary responsible party under the license. If any of their employees violate the law or the terms of the program as agreed to by the license holder, the license may be revoked. The licensee also has an ongoing obligation during their license period to ensure that the licensee, individual growers, any member of the licensee’s business occupying a leadership position, and authorized representatives have not been convicted of a controlled substance-related felony within 10 years of the date of application or during the license period. The licensee can perform whatever background check or vetting process they choose to comply with this requirement.
Am I required to do anything else if I participate in the program?
- Licensees must report any stolen hemp to the MDA.
- A licensee may add or change grow and processing locations at any point during the license period. They must file a Change Request form to make changes, and pay additional location fees, if applicable. A licensee may not grow hemp at a site until it has been registered with the MDA and paid for. Growing hemp at an unlicensed location is a violation.
- An inspection may include an audit of the licensee’s records and data, such as those pertaining to the acquisition, production, handling, selling, and disposal of all plants subject to M.S. Chapter 18K. Records must be maintained by the licensee for 3 years.
Do I need a license to process hemp?
All individuals or businesses that wish to process or test raw hemp for commercial purposes must obtain an MDA Hemp Program license. A hemp processor means a person or business that converts raw hemp into a product for commercial purposes. Processing means rendering hemp plants or plant parts from the natural or original state after harvest by refinement, such as, but not limited to, decortication, devitalization, extraction, crushing, or packaging. Typical farm operations such as sorting, grading, baling, drying, and harvesting are not considered processing under this definition.
What other requirements are there for processors?
No processor may acquire or process raw hemp grown within Minnesota without acquiring a Fit for Commerce certificate issued by the MDA to the grower, specific to the lot being purchased. A processor using hemp which was obtained from outside of Minnesota must maintain a bill of lading, certificate of analysis, and other proper documentation demonstrating that the hemp was from a source approved through another state, tribal, or federal program. The licensee must retain such records for 3 years and produce them upon request of the MDA or law enforcement.
Processors may be inspected by the MDA. An inspection may include an audit of the licensee’s records and data, such as those pertaining to the acquisition, production, handling, selling, and disposal of all plants subject to this chapter. Records must be maintained by the licensee for 3 years.
Processors shall not offer for sale any hemp products exceeding the 0.3% Total THC threshold.
When do you plant hemp?
Seeding too early can cause seedling mortality due to cold soils and pathogens. Ideal seeding dates for hemp production in Minnesota are between mid-May and mid-June. Soil temperatures should be at least 45- 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When growing for CBD production, many growers will transplant seedlings or clones into the field.
How do you plant hemp?
General seeding recommendations is between 20- 40 lbs per acre for grain production, and 40- 60 lbs per acre for fiber production. The populations of grain- and fiber-type hemp varieties will have a mixture of roughly 50/50 males and females. A lot of factors go into determining the optimal seeding rate for your field, including the variety, seed purity and germination, local conditions, etc. Most conventional drills and seeders will work for hemp. Use lower air volumes to avoid seed cracking. Seed shallowly (0.5”-1” maximum) into a firm seedbed. Avoid soil compaction and do not seed before a large rain event. There are excellent recommendations for seeding for grain production in the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance’s (CHTA) Hemp Production eGuide.
For CBD production, the plants are spaced much less densely, generally 1000- 2000 plants per acre. The plants are widely spaced to encourage branching and maximum flower development. CBD is produced in the female flowers. Only females are grown and male plants are removed to prevent pollination. If the female flowers are pollinated then the plant will put its energy towards seed production, and not cannabinoid production.
Can you plant hemp on hemp? How does it fit in to a crop rotation?
According to the CHTA, “hemp fits in with typical crop rotation systems and with typical equipment that would already be found in a grain production system.” Please visit the CHTA’s Hemp Production eGuide for much more information on hemp agronomy.
Can I grow hemp organically?
Yes, you can grow certified organic hemp on organic land just as you would any other crop. The National Organic Program (NOP) does allow organic certification of hemp grain and fiber. They have indicated they may not certify cannabinoid extracts produced from hemp, but each local certifier may handle this matter differently. Please visit the MDA’s Organic Agriculture website, the USDA/NOP website or contact a USDA Accredited Organic Certifier for more information.
Currently, no pesticides are labeled for use on hemp in the U.S.
Do you need to fertilize the hemp?
Yes, hemp has similar nutrient needs as canola and especially requires added nitrogen. General guidelines for fertilizer rates can be found on the CHTA’s Hemp Production eGuide.
How do you harvest it?
Hemp grain harvesting is generally done by straight combining, however swathing is also used. Please visit the CHTA’s Hemp Production eGuide for much more information on hemp harvesting.
For CBD production, harvest is usually done by hand by cutting the whole plants and hanging in a barn to dry. Some growers will mechanize the process by modifying combines or other equipment to strip flowers/biomass from branches and then dry quickly with industrial dryers. Green flowers and biomass will heat and spoil quickly if not properly dried within hours of harvesting.
When do you harvest it?
Generally, for grain-type varieties, crop maturity is between 90- 120 days after planting, depending on the variety and local climatic conditions. Hemp grain/seed is harvested when approximately 75 percent of the seeds are ripe and it starts to shatter. High winds can accelerate shattering. Bird predation can also be a major problem. (CHTA’s Hemp Production eGuide) Recommendations are to harvest at 18-20 percent moisture and immediately begin the drying process. Dry grain to 8-10 percent moisture for storage.
When growing hemp for CBD production, the grower should be testing the crop regularly for CBD and THC levels. For most varieties, flowering is triggered by changes in day length. However, there are some auto-flowering varieties that are day-length independent and will flower after a set number of days. Most high-CBD varieties will flower for about 6 weeks before harvest occurs, typically at the end of September or early October. Most CBD growers will test their crop weekly during flowering. The goal is to harvest at the time when the hemp is at the peak CBD levels, but still under 0.3% Total THC.
What kind of yield can I get?
Yields can vary widely depending on the variety, local climatic conditions, cultivation method, and grower experience. For grain, new growers have reported yields between 250- 700 lbs/acre. More experienced growers can expect between 800- 1,800+ lbs/acre.
For fiber, the average yield for dual-purpose crops (those varieties which are harvested for grain and fiber) is 0.75- 2 tons/acre. For hemp produced solely for fiber, the average yield is between 3-5 tons per acre.
For CBD, yields are between 0.5- 2 pounds of flower per plant. That would be approximately 1000- 4000 pounds per acre depending on planting density.
What are the best varieties?
Different varieties are better for different purposes. Whether you chose to grow for fiber, grain, or CBD production will determine which varieties you will want to grow. You may refer to either the Health Canada List of Approved Cultivars for the 2017 Growing Season or the OECD List of Varieties eligible for seed certification (pages 132-133) (PDF) for top performing varieties for grain and fiber production.
In 2017, the University of Minnesota conducted an agronomic study of commercially available industrial hemp varieties to compare grain and oil yields across various agricultural regions of Minnesota. Please read the summary of the University of Minnesota variety trials for more information.
Varieties that are grown for CBD production will generally have 10% or higher CBD content and 0.3% THC or less at the time of harvest. Ideally the seed will be feminized to ensure only females grow. Growers sometimes will plant female clones to ensure all females are planted in the field. High-CBD, feminized seeds are expensive, generally $1 per seed.
Where can I buy hemp seed from?
Once they are approved and licensed by the MDA, growers can obtain hemp seed from in-state, domestic, or international sources. Growers must ensure they are purchasing hemp which has been legally grown, tested by a regulatory authority, and proven to be legal hemp. Every lot of hemp grown in the MDA Hemp Program must have the seed label, invoice or bill of lading, and certificate of analysis (COA) for the parent plants showing that the THC levels were at or below 0.3%. Please contact the MDA Hemp Program for more information on ordering hemp seed.
Can I save seed for planting the following year?
Seed harvested by a licensed hemp grower can be saved or sold for propagation in the future as long as they are not prohibited from such activities by a Seed/Material Usage Agreement signed between the grower and the seed distributor. If a grower intends to plant hemp in subsequent years, they must renew their license. Certified hemp seed can only be produced by a hemp grower registered with the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association’s seed certification program. Growers should be aware that the genetics of the plants will change from one generation to the next when cross-pollination occurs. Studies conducted by the University of Minnesota have shown that the THC levels can rise substantially in the offspring.
Any volunteer hemp plants growing in subsequent years must be destroyed, unless the licensee renews their license and registers that grow location. The licensee may not cultivate volunteer plants if they are prohibited from such activities by a Seed/Material Usage Agreement.
Do I need a seed permit to sell hemp seed in Minnesota?
The initial labeler—the first person or company to label and sell seed in Minnesota—must have a seed permit. Permit categories and fees are determined by the type, intended use, and amount sold annually. Generally, those that only sell seed labeled by another person or firm do not need a permit. Please visit the MDA Seed Program for more information.
Can I breed a new variety of hemp for Minnesota?
Breeding can be done by licensed growers as long as they are not contractually prohibited from such activities by a Seed/Material Usage Agreement. The license holder is required to have a quality control process in place and records to demonstrate that their seed breeding or seed production process meets the definition for hemp at each step. The MDA will test the initial and the final plant populations to confirm that THC levels meet the definition for hemp. The MDA will also audit the testing records annually during the breeding process to ensure the quality control process is in place.
Can I sell hemp material to other states?
The MDA Hemp Program only covers hemp cultivation, processing, and marketing within the state of Minnesota. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp nationwide. However, until the USDA has approved all the states’ hemp plans, there will remain a patchwork of different regulations state by state. The license holder should contact the receiving state to find out if they have specific rules or requirements. The shipper should always carry a copy of the grower’s license, a copy of the receiver’s license, and the Fit for Commerce certificate or certificate of analysis from an accredited lab showing that the material was tested and is at or below the 0.3% Total THC threshold.
Can I sell seed to other states?
If the licensee wishes to sell seed to another state with a Hemp Program, the importer or destination state will initiate and arrange the seed shipment. Please contact the buyer and/or the receiving states’ hemp regulatory program to find out specific rules or requirements that they might have. The shipper should always carry a copy of the grower’s license, a copy of the receiver’s license, and the Fit for Commerce certificate or certificate of analysis from an accredited lab showing that the material was tested and is below the 0.3% Total THC threshold.
Are there any grants that I can get from MDA?
The Hemp Program does not provide grants nor do we facilitate granting opportunities. However, the MDA’s Ag Marketing Division does facilitate a variety of grants, which could be applied for and used by a license holder. Please visit the MDA’s Grant Opportunities page to learn more about this opportunity.
The Agriculture Utilization Research Institute (AURI) is a nonprofit created by the Minnesota state legislature to help develop new markets for Minnesota-grown agricultural products. They have resources and funding opportunities that are accessible to those who qualify for AURI assistance. Please visit AURI’s webpage to learn more.
How much can I sell my hemp for?
Prices for hemp grain are widely fluctuating in the U.S. and in Minnesota specifically due to the infancy and constant development of the industry. According to the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Department, the average hemp grain price in 2015 in Alberta was $0.74 per pound. Typical returns for hemp grain in the U.S. have been between $0.40-0.70 per pound for conventional, and $0.75-1.00 per pound for organic. Due to the volatile nature of the current U.S. hemp industry, growers are advised to secure a contract before they plant.
For high-CBD hemp, the market is changing very rapidly for a variety of factors. There is an exploding demand for CBD products and also an exponential growth in the number of hemp growers and processors each year, not just in Minnesota, but nationwide. Prices for high-CBD hemp flower in 2019 ranged between $3.00-$4.00 per pound of flower, per percent of CBD. For 10% CBD flower, this would equate to approximately $10,000- $60,000 per acre. Please refer to the Hemp Benchmarks website for up-to-date information regarding spot pricing for hemp.
What is the cost per acre?
The Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Department reported an average total production cost for hemp seed grown on dryland in 2015 at $409 per acre. With an average grain yield of 1,074 pounds per acre, that amounted to $0.38 per pound of hemp seed produced.
In Minnesota, hemp seed prices are widely variable based on the variety and the source. Imported seed has additional shipping and customs fees above and beyond domestically produced seed. Farmers should also consider the possibility of needing to buy or rent new harvesting equipment if they grow hemp. In 2016, hemp producers in Minnesota reported costs per acre between $970- $2,500 per acre. In 2017, initial reports indicate production costs of between $300- $600 per acre (does not include land cost).
When growing high-CBD hemp, the initial seed or plant cost is very high. At $1- 5 per seed, and 1500 plants per acre, the costs for seed alone is $1,500- $7,500 per acre. Costs for planting clones can be $10,000- $15,000 per acre. The labor costs are very high compared to conventional farming as well.
Who will buy my hemp if I grow it?
The market is limited and constantly in flux for hemp in the U.S. due to many different factors. In Minnesota, hemp cultivation has only been legal for four years, and processing facilities are limited. Growers are responsible for locating buyers. We encourage interested individuals to contact a hemp trade association to learn more about marketing opportunities, such as the Hemp Industries Association or the National Hemp Association. Minnesota has several hemp associations that can help as well, including the Minnesota Hemp Association and the Minnesota Industrial Hemp Association.
Can I export hemp product to other countries?
Yes, certain hemp products may be exported to other countries, such as processed hemp foods, hemp grain, seed, fiber, etc. The requirements for export vary by the specific product and the importing country. Please contact the MDA’s Export Certification Program for more information.
Food & Feed
What food products can I make from hemp?
You can make food products from the hemp seed or grain. The FDA granted GRAS (“Generally Recognized as Safe”) status for three commonly sold hemp seed derived food ingredients: hulled hemp seed, hemp seed protein powder, and hemp seed oil. Products derived from the hemp seed contain only trace amounts of THC and CBD, which is why the FDA allows their sale. Please contact the MDA’s Food and Feed Safety Division at 651-201-6027 to find out more about legal hemp food products.
The FDA considers THC and CBD to be drugs; as such they cannot be found in any traceable amount in food. Please see the FDA’s guidelines on this subject or contact the MDA’s Food and Feed Safety Division for more information.
Can I produce CBD oil/extract from hemp plants?
You can produce oil or extract from hemp plants under your Hemp Processor license.
Effective January 1, 2020, products containing CBD derived from hemp can be legally sold under Minnesota state law only if all the conditions outlined in M.S. 151.72 are met. The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy oversees drug regulation in Minnesota. Please contact the Board of Pharmacy’s website for more information.
Do I need a permit for extraction?
You need an MDA Hemp Program Processor license if you are processing raw hemp material for commercial purposes.
If you will be manufacturing a product intended for human consumption, then you should contact the MDA’s Food and Feed Safety Division to see if you are required to get a retail or wholesale food handler license.
Can I feed hemp to my livestock?
At this time, hemp is not an approved ingredient for commercial animal feed. There are various organizations and researchers throughout the U.S. that are studying the safety and value of hemp feed and conducting feed trials for eventual application to the FDA or AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). An individual farmer may feed hemp to their own livestock. Please contact the MDA Commercial Feed Program for more information.
Can I make pet food with hemp?
No. The MDA Commercial Feed Program and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations of pet food are similar to that for other animal food. That means hemp is not an approved ingredient for pet food either. An individual or company selling pet food with hemp ingredients in Minnesota would result in the products being withdrawn from distribution. Please contact the MDA’s Pet Food Program within the Commercial Feed Program for more information.
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With OK from feds, Minnesota’s hemp industry takes step forward
It looks like hemp may be here to stay in Minnesota.
The state’s hemp program, which was allowed to launch thanks to relaxed federal regulations on cannabis, has been cleared for takeoff.
This past week, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) approval of its hemp production plan, which began — and continues — as a pilot program and now involves thousands of acres in Minnesota.
“We thank USDA for their work on this new federal hemp program, and we are grateful they have approved Minnesota’s plan,” said MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen in a statement. “While this is a major step forward, there are still concerns over some the regulations imposed on states and tribal governments, such as testing requirements.”
He added that he looks forward to “continuing our dialog with USDA so we can ensure Minnesota’s hemp growers and processors are successful in this fledging industry.”
As noted in an MDA release, this was first made possible by a 2014 federal farm bill that allowed for pilot programs (in other words, test drives) to “study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of hemp,” marking the first time the plant was legally allowed to be grown in the U.S. in decades.
The plant — a type of cannabis that is distinct from marijuana, partly in that it can’t get you high — was further deregulated by 2018 legislation that removed it from the Controlled Substances Act, a measure that recognized it as an agricultural crop.
Minnesota’s own pilot program began with just six growers in 2016, and has since expanded to 511 people who “have grower and/or processor licenses,” the release says.
Additionally, there are 8,605 acres and 4.66 million indoor square feet of growing space dedicated to hemp under the MDA program.
The agency makes clear that Minnesota will continue to operate under this pilot program.
Industrial hemp has many uses, including food, rope, clothing, paper and housing materials, Medium notes.
According to Hemp Basics, one acre of hemp produces as much fiber as two to three acres of cotton, while the fiber from hemp is “stronger and softer than cotton, lasts twice as long as cotton, and will not mildew.”
There are currently 511 Minnesotans growing or processing hemp.