Minnesota Hemp Association Debuts at Capitol, Advocates for Thoughtful Approach to Omnibus Bill Language

Zach Robins, Legal Counsel, Minnesota Hemp Association

This was a big week at the Capitol for the Minnesota Hemp Association (MHA). The newly-founded group found itself in the midst of important legislation proposed at the Capitol in the waning weeks of the session. The provision – found in the pending Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill – seeks to create stern labeling requirements for companies selling and manufacturing CBD products in the state.

Here is the latest version of the bill we have access to (see right side of each page).

Senator Karla Bigham (DFL, 54) has been working on changes to further refine the provision, leading the effort with Cody Wiberg from the Board of Pharmacy.

MHA’s Tuesday press conference advocated for:

  • more clarity around the trace amounts definition
  • a reasonable variance related to amounts of CBD
  • an industry standard FDA disclaimer
  • reasonable amount of manufacturer contact information

The Hemp Association is for regulation, but that regulation needs to be effectively rolled out, slowly, and with detailed industry feedback from stakeholders.

This provision never had a hearing at the Capitol and thus the industry never had a chance to testify for or against it.  Typically, hearings provide a platform to improve bills by refining language to meet the needs of the various testifiers and citizen stakeholders. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s better than no hearings at all.

The Hemp Association encourages the Bill authors to engage the affected communities to get direct feedback from them before passing premature legislation.  This is a fast growing, multi-tiered sector – from agriculture to retail sales – a growth engine for Minnesota’s economy that is already creating new jobs and small businesses weekly. MHA’s stance is that we need to make sure we do this correctly to protect both consumers and businesses.

Taking the proper steps now insures a prosperous future, without unnecessary delays or setbacks.

Delaying this provision until next session and holding hearings to receive feedback would be another option, the authors, however, seem resistant to that approach. Other states, such as Wisconsin, have passed, or are contemplating, similar bills with superior language, forged through deliberate collaboration with the industry. The Association urges the authors to learn from these examples, taking a slower approach to discover and implement the best practices and language.