Minnesota cannabis regulators pledge crackdown on illicit market

Minnesota cannabis regulators pledge crackdown on illicit market

The effort adds a mandatory check during inspections to ensure the goods are hemp and not marijuana.

Minnesota’s nascent Office of Cannabis Management pledged to industry stakeholders this week that agents will begin cracking down on unlicensed marijuana sales, including hemp retailers selling full-strength cannabis in addition to less-potent but federally legal hemp goods.

The agency will team up with the state Department of Health for inspections of suspected illegal cannabis products, particularly raw flower, Perham Focus reported.

Already-scheduled Health Department inspections of hemp goods will now double in effect by adding a mandatory check to ensure the goods are hemp and not marijuana, the OCM announced. The dividing line is the federal definition of hemp: cannabis with 0.3% delta-9 THC or less.

Although Minnesota already legalized possession and consumption of recreational marijuana, the OCM has yet to award any business licenses for the legal sale of cannabis. Licensing is expected to happen later this year, with the state aiming to launch sales in 2025.

“Our primary goal at the Office of Cannabis Management is to ensure a safe, legal cannabis industry that protects public health and provides accurate, reliable information to adult consumers,” said Charlene Briner, OCM interim director. “This interagency agreement gives us capacity to conduct inspections during this transitional implementation period, and more fully integrates the work of the MDH inspectors who will eventually transition their work to OCM.”

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