Minnesota Intensifies Enforcement Against Unlicensed Cannabis Flower Sales

As Minnesota’s legal adult-use marijuana market prepares to launch, state regulators are intensifying enforcement against businesses illegally selling cannabis flower and potent hemp products. The Minnesota Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) announced a crackdown on unlicensed sales through new inspections and potential penalties.

In a deal with the state health department, OCM inspectors will start scrutinizing cannabis flower products offered at retail stores. The joint inspections aim to identify any flower exceeding the legal 0.3% THC limit for hemp under federal law. Any marijuana flower above that potency threshold requires an OCM license that hasn’t yet been issued.

“Our goal is ensuring a safe, legal industry that protects public health,” said OCM Interim Director Charlene Briner. “This agreement allows inspections during this transitional period before cannabis businesses are licensed.”

The inspections follow complaints about retailers exploiting legal loopholes to sell full-strength, intoxicating hemp flower marketed as legal hemp products. Such sales violate state statutes prohibiting unlicensed cannabis commerce.

OCM issued a recent warning that inspectors will examine certificates of analysis for flower products and consider total THC concentrations after decarboxylation, the process converting THCA into intoxicating delta-9 THC.

Retailers caught selling non-compliant cannabis flower could face steep penalties, including product embargoes and fines potentially exceeding $1 million for violating state cannabis laws. Violations may also jeopardize the ability to obtain a legal marijuana business license once available.

As Minnesota prepares to allow regulated adult-use sales starting in 2025, officials are reminding businesses that unlicensed cannabis transactions remain illegal. OCM aims to ensure the new industry follows regulations through enforcement and compliance efforts during this transitional phase.

Minnesota’s unique law legalizing hemp-derived cannabinoid products has created regulatory challenges preceding the licensed recreational market’s launch. But clear guidance and inspections underscore the state’s intent to uphold a tightly controlled legal cannabis system.


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