MN: Latest Submitted Bills

As published in state-based publication Blunt Strategies

→ On Monday, Feb. 14, Sen. Karla Bigham (DFL-Cottage Grove) introduced S.F. 3089, a bill to modify the time period in which a patient in the medical cannabis program must resubmit a qualifying medical condition certification from yearly to biennially. The bill has been referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee. The House companion bill, H.F. 3502, was introduced today by Rep. Keith Franke (R-St. Paul Park) and referred to the House Health Finance and Policy Committee.
→ Today, Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL-Edina) introduced H.F. 3595, the Board of Pharmacy’s bill on the regulation of products containing cannabinoids. The bill has been referred to the House Health Finance and Policy Committee. A Senate companion has not yet been introduced.
Leili’s take: As we mentioned last week, the Board of Pharma’s position is that, under current state law, the sale of any products containing any cannabinoids is illegal for anyone other than the two licensed medical cannabis companies and that this bill addresses that by authorizing the sale of certain cannabinoid-containing products. I raised the concern that this bill would (1) have the effect of further codifying that the vast majority of CBD products are illegal and (2) advance a regulatory framework that consolidates Minnesota’s cannabis industry under a small number of capital-rich players in contravention to the adult-use legalization bill that passed through the House last session, which “creates a regulatory structure focused on developing micro-businesses and a craft market.” The bill language introduced today validates those concerns.
  1. The bill is a regulatory power grab. The Board of Pharma’s regulatory authority only extends to drugs, while the Department of Ag has regulatory authority over food. This bill, however, extends the Board of Pharma’s regulatory jurisdiction to include food products containing cannabinoids and expressly bans those products. Note that MN Statute Sec. 151.01, Subd. 5 defines a drug as “all substances and preparations, other than food, intended to affect the structure or any function of the bodies of humans or other animals” (which mimics the FDA’s definition of a drug), BUT H.F. 3595 prohibits any “substance extracted or otherwise derived from hemp” that is intended to “to affect the structure or any function of the bodies of humans or other animals.” Where’d the “other than food” part go?
  2. The only carve-out is for two national monopolies. The requirements and prohibitions in the bill expressly don’t apply to “any product dispensed by a registered medical cannabis manufacturer.”
In terms of the Legislature’s sentiment about the bill, it may be telling that, after months of being in the works, the bill has only one House author and no Senate companion.

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