Patients in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program will soon be able to purchase “infused edibles in the form of gummies and chews,” according to the state department that regulates cannabis. It will be the second expansion of options for medical cannabis for patients in Minnesota this year.

This blog from ImEPIK will look at changing medical cannabis laws in Minnesota, including approval of the new edible products and where the state stands in the legalization of adult (aka recreational) cannabis use.

New Forms of Edibles Allowed in Minnesota

When Minnesota’s medical cannabis program was created in 2014, it allowed patients to purchase pills, lozenges, topical oils, powdered mixtures, liquids, and lozenge-type dissolvable products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Minnesota approves adult use smokablesIn March 2022, the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Medical Cannabis started allowing medical dispensaries in the state to sell smokable cannabis to patients in the program, which totaled almost 36,500 residents in mid-June.

Gummies/chews will be an option starting Aug. 1. This addition was approved in 2021 as part of an annual petition and comment process on Minnesota’s medical cannabis regulations. In the U.S., gummies are the leading form of cannabis edibles, with $976 million in sales in 2021, followed by chocolate edibles at $150 million in sales in six states that have legalized adult use (California, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington).

In a fall 2021 survey of patients in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program, 71% of those that responded said they were very likely or somewhat likely to try the smokable form of cannabis. According to the Minnesota Department of Health’s assessment of similar programs in other states, patient enrollment could double or even triple by allowing the dispensing of smokable cannabis. The department, which tracks the number of visits to dispensaries that result in a sale, reported about 19,500 such sales in February, which is about average for recent months. In March, however, visits to medical cannabis dispensaries resulting in a sale shot to just above 35,500, suggesting that patients prefer the smokable form of cannabis.

A Step Closer to Legalized Adult Use?

When Minnesota legislators recently approved an omnibus health bill, they passed a provision allowing the sale of food and drinks containing any kind of THC processed from hemp, including Delta 9 THC. Unfortunately, products for smoking or vaping are not allowed. But cannabis industry experts say it’s a step toward full legalization in Minnesota. (Minnesota’s House passed full legalization in early 2021, but it stalled in the state Senate. A recent attempt to revive the legislation also failed.)

Previously, CBD was not allowed to be added to food or drinks. The new regulation, House File 3595, became law on July 1, making it legal to consume, manufacture, distribute and sell edibles in packages containing up to 50 milligrams of hemp-derived THC, with a limit of 5 milligrams per serving.

The previous hemp statute limited edibles to no more than 0.3% Delta 9 TCH; the new regulation clarifies the milligram amount allowed.

As in other states, companies that market edibles in Minnesota will have label and packaging guidelines designed to ensure young children don’t ingest the edibles.

According to the law, provisions include:

  • Edibles must be in childproof and tamper-evident packages and carry a label to keep the product out of reach for children.
  • Products can’t mimic candy or other products primarily consumed or marketed to children, and the packaging can’t resemble that of a commercially available food product.
  • Products must be tested for mold, heavy metals, pesticides, fertilizers, and solvents.

ImEPIK: A Trusted Food Safety Training Partner

As more states legalize medical or recreational-use cannabis, federal legalization becomes more likely. Currently, food safety regulation in cannabis production happens on a state-by-state basis, but federal laws will take over if and when cannabis becomes available nationwide. That means food safety and other standards will be mandated for all segments of the supply chain, from growers to retailers.

ImEPIK’s Cannabis Edibles Safety Course prepares edibles manufacturers to establish a food safety plan with current good manufacturing practices at all levels of their operations.

ImEPIK’s online training specific to cannabis-infused products includes:

  • Level I: GMPs and the Pyramid of Edible Safety
  • Level II: The Edible Safety Plan
  • Level III: PCQI Online

Contact ImEPIK to learn more about online training for cannabis-infused products.