Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Minnesota locations will remain open but delivery times on some products may be affected in the future.
In recent weeks, small hemp companies in Minnesota have received cease and desist letters from agencies at local and state levels. Although hemp-derived products are legal across the state, these events have created uncertainty around hemp laws and whether protections will be upheld by courts.
Amidst this uncertainty, the owners of Nothing But Hemp have decided to move the company’s headquarters to Florida and same-day delivery. Currently, Nothing But Hemp has 3 operating stores in the Orlando area.
Court Ruling Suggests Hemp Laws Won’t Protect Extracts
A September ruling appeared to set a precedent that THC in liquids would not be protected by hemp laws, no matter the amount of THC or its source. Most hemp extracts, including CBD oil, contain trace amounts of THC from hemp.
In that ruling, the judge wrote that the definition for THC hadn’t been changed in the state’s definitions governing controlled substances. Only the definition for marijuana had been changed, protecting hemp strictly in the form of leafy plant material, the court said.
Regulatory Uncertainty and Inconsistent Enforcement
Since then, hemp companies have come under threat. According to Nothing But Hemp Founder/CEO Steven Brown, cease and desist letters were recently issued to two hemp retailers in the state, causing one to close its doors and another to pull edible hemp products from its shelves.
“It makes no sense at all,” said Brown. “They can’t sell edibles but they’re allowed to sell smokables, which could possibly give people health consequences in the future. Tinctures may be considered ‘edibles.’ It’s unclear.”
Brown also noted that inconsistent enforcement was adding to the confusion.
“They’re servicing some businesses with cease-and-desist orders, but not everyone. It’s not consistent,” he said.
Elliot Ginsburg, an attorney for the Minnesota Cannabis Association, said the impacts on the state’s burgeoning hemp industry could be significant.
“It’s created a lot of regulatory uncertainty,” Ginsburg said. “Minnesota enacted this law to allow for an industry to be created, and now they’re taking steps that could quite literally destroy that industry.”
A stricter interpretation of hemp regulations could affect 80% of the products in a typical hemp store's inventory, according to Brown.
Nothing But Hemp Will Move Headquarters
Intentional or not, the atmosphere of uncertainly is already impacting the future of the state’s hemp industry. Nothing But Hemp has decided to move its headquarters to Florida, and will not renew its processing license with Minnesota.
“Nothing But Hemp is planning on moving its corporate headquarters to Florida because there’s a clear regulatory framework,” Brown said. "We’ll still keep our Minnesota retail locations open, but we won’t be renewing our processing license. That way, if Minnesota does make delta-8 and CBD in foods illegal, we’ll still have products available from our office in Florida. We wouldn’t have same-day delivery, but we’d be able to deliver.
Talk to Your Lawmakers
Brown and Ginsburg encouraged Minnesotans who use CBD, delta-8, and other hemp products to reach out to lawmakers.
“We believe that it’s legal,” Brown said of hemp and the products made from it. “I’d love for our customers to reach out to legislative reps and let them know these products are helping them and they’d like them to remain legal.”
Ginsburg echoed the sentiment, saying, “Contact your legislators and tell them that we need a clearer set of laws regarding the hemp industry in our state."
Brown, also a Board Member of the Minnesota Cannabis Association, said he also plans on taking the issue up with the agency that oversees the state’s hemp program, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
“We’re going to create some pressure, actually collectivity as a hemp industry we are going to create serious pressure,” he said.