Minnesota Regulators Crack Down On Sale Of Cannabis Flower Being Sold As Hemp, Violators Face $1M Fines

Zinger Key Points
  • Minnesota regulators confirmed Tuesday they’ll initiate a crackdown on illegal cannabis flower sales.
  • OCM is still in the process of creating a licensing system.

Minnesota regulators said Tuesday they're cracking down on the sale of illegal cannabis flower after receiving multiple complaints about retailers selling marijuana labeled as hemp, according to a memo released by the Office Of Cannabis Management (OCM) last week.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), OCM, inspectors from MDH will begin to examine any flower products sold during their regular inspections to determine whether they are indeed hemp or cannabis flower.

“While this is a temporary issue that will no longer exist once businesses are licensed to sell cannabis flower, OCM’s commitment to ensuring an industry that abides by all legal requirements is steadfast and ongoing,” Charlene Briner, interim director OCM stated Tuesday, according to Start Tribune. “We are confident that by providing clear expectations and guidance to businesses, the majority of operators will choose to follow the law.”

Regulators confirmed that state inspections will commence immediately and that retailers who violate the law could have their products seized and face fines of up to $1 million. What's more, violations can jeopardize a business owner's ability to obtain a cannabis license. 

Minnesota legalized recreational marijuana in August 2023. The tribal lands were the first and only to launch legal cannabis sales shortly thereafter when the White Earth Nation Tribal Council began to sell on the reservation to both tribal and non-tribal members the first week of August.

OCM predicted the state will need at least 381 dispensaries to meet the requirement for local governments to provide at least one retail shop per every 12,500 residents. While Minnesotans 21 and older can already legally use and cultivate their cannabis plants, it is illegal to sell those products without a cannabis business license. OCM is still in the process of creating a licensing system, and it is expected that the first licenses will be issued either later this year or early in 2025.

Related Links: 

City-Owned Cannabis Dispensaries? Minnesota Says Yes & May Soon Open First Government-Run Weed Shop 

Minnesota Lawmaker Wants Young Adults To Help Create New Cannabis Laws 

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Florida, in a new venue in Hollywood, on April 16 and 17, 2024. The two-day event at The Diplomat Beach Resort will be a chance for entrepreneurs, both large and small, to network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world. Get your tickets now on bzcannabis.com – Prices will increase very soon!

Photo: Courtesy of amenic181 via Shutterstock

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: CannabisNewsCharlene BrinerMinnesota cannabisMinnesota Illegal cannabisThe Office Of Cannabis Management Minnesota
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!

Cannabis rescheduling seems to be right around the corner

Want to understand what this means for the future of the industry? Hear directly for top executives, investors and policymakers at the 19th Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, coming to Chicago this Oct. 8-9. Get your tickets now before prices surge by following this link.