Listening Session In Detroit Lakes on Minnesota Industrial Hemp Program
Carol McCarthy | Nov 5, 2019 AT 7:46 am
ST. PAUL, MN--Minnesota's Industrial Hemp Program is the topic of listening sessions planned around the state by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). Three sessions will be held to gather input as the MDA is currently drafting a state plan to submit to USDA to manage hemp regulations in Minnesota. The department is also beginning expedited rulemaking that will outline specifics of the state’s hemp program, including licensing and testing requirements.
The three meetings the week of November 18th in Detroit Lakes, St. Paul and Mankato will allow growers, processors, consumers, and others interested in hemp and hemp products to share their vision for this new commodity.
"We are actively reviewing the rules USDA recently released,” said Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “We want to ensure our state plan and upcoming rules work for those in the industry and we welcome input during this process. It’s important to lay a good foundation to ensure this new industry is successful into the future.”
The meeting in Detroit Lakes will be Monday, November 18th from 2 – 4 p.m. at M State Detroit Lakes Campus Conference room.
The other two meetings will be in St. Paul on November 20th, 1 – 3 p.m at Minnesota Department of Agriculture Orville L. Freeman Office Building. In Mankato November 21st, 1 – 3 p.m., at the Hubbard Building/Strategic Partnerships Center
Interest in industrial hemp has increased dramatically in recent years. The 2014 federal Farm Bill allowed for pilot programs to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of hemp. It was the first time hemp was legally allowed to be grown in the United States in decades. Minnesotans first planted hemp under the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Pilot Program in 2016. There were six growers that year.
The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, made it distinct from marijuana, and recognized it as an agricultural crop. In 2019, over 700 people signed up to grow or process hemp in Minnesota through the MDA program. Growers planted more than 8,000 acres and 400,000 indoor square feet of hemp this year.
Industrial hemp and marijuana are both types of the same plant, Cannabis sativa. They differ by the concentration level of the psychoactive ingredient delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) within the plant. Hemp has less than 0.3% THC, and levels above that are considered marijuana.