Hemp farmers, retailers pounce on market for CBD products

FROM: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/03/29/hemp-farmers-retailers-pounce-on-cbd-markets

Nina Moini · Minneapolis · Mar 29, 2019

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Applications to grow hemp in the state of Minnesota have increased steeply since the start of 2019, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Congress passed the 2018 farm bill in December, which legalized industrial hemp as a crop plant that can help produce commodities like fiber, grain or oil.

Hemp is described as a cousin of marijuana, with much lower levels of THC — the chemical that produces a high.

CBD oil is extracted from hemp and is sometimes marketed to help with problems like chronic pain and anxiety.

CBD oils and CBD massages are some of the products available at Stigma Hemp, which opened Thursday in the hip and vibrant North Loop neighborhood in Minneapolis.

Store owner Josh Maslowski acknowledges people are buying CBD products from a number of sources, but his shop offers an alternative.

“The timing of it had certainly something to do with the farm bill,” Maslowski said. “But the idea of a retail store was always something I wanted to do because I believe that in this space people have a lot of questions and they want to be able to look somebody in the eye versus just buying it online where you don’t trust exactly who’s making it.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey attended the store opening with the goal of encouraging the conversation around legalizing recreational marijuana use in the state.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey chats with Jason Green of Growfilm.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey chats with Jason Green of Growfilm while checking out a hemp plant inside of Stigma Hemp in Minneapolis on Thursday. Growfilm is a Northfield, Minn.-based company that manufactures lighting for indoor agriculture. Evan Frost | MPR News

• Previously: Senate committee torpedoes legal marijuana bill
• Legalizing marijuana: Can Minnesota learn from other states?

“Minneapolis is a forward-thinking city, and yes, CBD is part of that forward-thinking vision,” Frey said.

The Minnesota Hemp Association reports there are at least five companies operating stores that only sell hemp and CBD products in the Twin Cities. Some spas and grocery stores also carry CBD products.

This week, Walgreens announced it will sell CBD creams, patches and sprays in nearly 1,500 stores across the country.

Whitney Place, assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, said farmers are responding to the new markets made possible by legal hemp.

“It’s no longer considered a controlled substance. Therefore, our farmers can qualify for federal programs like specialty crop grants or even crop insurance,” she said.

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