Minnesota Regulators Want Lawmakers to Establish a State Cannabis Office

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Minnesota regulators have asked lawmakers to establish a state cannabis office to oversee the state’s medical cannabis, hemp and CBD industries, as well as, potentially, an adult-use market, according to a Star Tribune report.

Officials from the state’s Pharmacy Board and departments of Agriculture, Health and Public Safety have asked for a centralized body, called the Office of Cannabis Management, to regulate the industry and prepare the state for the potential legalization of adult-use cannabis in the future, the news outlet reported. According to the various agencies, having one office to oversee the entire industry would bring together a variety of experts and help streamline regulation efforts, Star Tribune reported.

Patient enrollment in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program grew 27% from 2018 to 2019, and more than 18,000 patients are currently enrolled, according to the news outlet. In addition, the number of hemp farmers in the state grew from roughly 50 to 400 in the same timeframe, and more CBD products are increasingly being sold across the state, Star Tribune reported.

The Agriculture Department currently oversees Minnesota’s hemp program and has attempted to regulate CBD products alongside the Board of Pharmacy, according to the news outlet.

Regulators made a formal request to the Minnesota Legislature in January for a central cannabis office, Star Tribune reported, and members of a state work group have said that the proposed Office of Cannabis Management would help ease the regulatory burden on the other state agencies, which often do not have the manpower to oversee all facets of the cannabis industry.

House Democratic Majority Leader Ryan Winkler is currently drafting an adult-use cannabis legalization bill and has proposed an Office of Cannabis Management within the legislation to oversee the forthcoming adult-use cannabis market, as well as the medical cannabis and hemp industries, according to the Star Tribune.

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