The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) issued an alert to the public this week regarding consuming hemp-derived cannabinoid products containing doses of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that are above the state legal limit.

They note that as a new industry in Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health's goal is to provide a safe marketplace for consumers to shop. Furthermore, they are also working to educate retailers about how to comply with federal and state regulations and which products are safe for use within Minnesota guidelines.

The health department says they are making public and retailer education a priority because consumption of high-dose THC products can lead to severe adverse health effects, including:

  • Unresponsiveness.
  • Extreme anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Psychotic episodes (hallucinations, delusions, or a loss of personal identity).
  • An increase in heart rate, chest pain, or heart attack.
  • Sudden high blood pressure with headache.
  • Uncontrollable shaking or seizures.
  • A decrease in judgment, perception, and coordination, all of which can lead to injuries.
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Consumers are advised to contact their healthcare provider if they become ill or begin suffering symptoms of THC overdose after consuming a high-dose cannabinoid product.

What Is The Legal THC Limit In The State Of Minnesota?

The legal limit for hemp-derived cannabinoid products in Minnesota is 5 mg/serving and 50 mg/package for edibles.

The Minnesota Department of Health says that illegal, high-dose hemp-derived products, which are produced by a variety of manufacturers, may contain hundreds of milligrams of THC per serving. When you take into account the multiple servings found in a package, this can add up to thousands of milligrams of THC, which far exceeds the legal limit of 5mg/serving or 50 mg/package for edibles.

Minnesota consumers are urged to shop with caution, read labels closely, and not purchase products that exceed the legal limits for THC. Furthermore, consumers should report any illegal products found to the Minnesota Department of Health.

How Has The Minnesota Department Of Health Been Working With Retailers?

Over the last four months, MDH has implemented a registration campaign to identify establishments previously identified as selling hemp-derived cannabinoid products and notifying retailers that under state law, they must register with MDH to legally sell these products.

Furthermore, the health department officials have visited businesses to provide on-the-spot opportunities for registration. These efforts are being supplemented by direct communication to tobacco and hemp retailers, registered and potential vendors as well as trade associations and other stakeholder groups. If a retailer is not registered with the State of Minnesota, they are not in compliance with state law.

To help in the targeted effort to remove high-risk products from the marketplace and ensure that products sold are safe and compliant with state laws, the Minnesota Department Of Health's efforts have included hiring additional field inspectors, partnering with the Department of Agriculture to increase enforcement actions, and enhancing their complaint intake process to manage increased volume.

What Happens If MDH Finds Illegal High-Dose THC Products At A Retailer?

Recent inspections of retailers selling hemp-derived cannabinoid products found these illegal high-dose products in 39% of establishments. When illegal products are discovered, inspectors require establishments to destroy them. If the establishment refuses to destroy the product, the product is embargoed and further enforcement actions are taken.

Retailers who sell non-compliant products that exceed the state legal limit for THC could face fines of up to $10,000 per incident. State law also requires all businesses selling hemp-derived cannabinoid products to register with OMC before selling. Failure to register can also result in a $10,000 fine.

Anyone who finds them for sale can file a complaint with MDH through the Hemp-Derived Cannabinoid Products webpage.

Related: With Marijuana Legalized In Minnesota, Here’s When + Where You Can Smoke + More

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