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Minnesota cannabis bill could create problems for “hemp-derived” industry

The Minnesota DFL is working to pass a bill that would legalize cannabis for recreational adult use.

While the bill creates regulations and provisions for new businesses and dispensaries, the existing “hemp-derived THC” industry could suffer if steps aren’t taken to protect their products. Those products have been legal through a gray area in the federal Farm Bill a few years ago. In 2022, Minnesota legalized low-potency hemp-derived edibles and beverages by regulating them at a state level. That publicity has made the industry explode over the last year.

“Since that, and because of the media exposure, it has boosted our sales significantly, especially in our Duluth location,” said Craig Sutherland, founder and owner of Sutherland CBD, a Twin Ports-based business that has capitalized on the hemp-derived market. Sutherland says that success has allowed them to expand to new products.

“We have created products that we’re selling a lot of them every month. The shift has gone from oils to edibles to beverages. It’s helped our industry out. And it’s given another option to the consumer for a nonalcoholic beverage,” said Sutherland.

Sutherland worries that full legalization could destroy his industry if it isn’t done properly.“It says cannabis doesn’t separate cannabis from hemp. Hemp is considered cannabis. What that means is the thousands of stores throughout Minnesota that are selling hemp-derived products will now have to become dispensaries,” he said. 


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