Minnesota industrial hemp license applications now open for 2024

Applications for licenses to grow and process industrial amounts of hemp in Minnesota are now open.

The licenses, made available through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), are required for individuals and businesses. Requirements to be approved for a license include passing a criminal background check, with the license holder subject to pre-harvest THC level testing, a $400 licensing fee and random processing inspections by the state.

As opposed to marijuana plants, hemp plants do not flower and contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, throughout. THC is one of the major psychoactive components found to get users "high" once ingested.

Applications must be submitted by April 30, 2024, and a license is valid for the 2024 calendar year, according to the MDA.

Those actively growing hemp plants indoors past Dec. 31, 2023, must renew their license before expiration at the end of the year.

Legal cannabis in Minnesota

On Aug. 1, 2023, Minnesota legalized the use of recreational marijuana among adults who are over 21 years old. While doing so, the Minnesota Legislature created the Office of Cannabis Management to oversee licensing and enforcement operations throughout the state. However, Tribal governments are able to set their own rules, with retail shops on tribal lands opening already.

Low-dose, hemp-derived edibles like gummies and drinks also continue to be legal to sell throughout Minnesota. The products are also subject to regulations and testing requirements in an effort to improve safety for consumers.