MN Health Dept. cautions consumers about illegal high-dose THC products

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) is alerting the public to beware of consuming hemp-derived cannabinoid products containing doses of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) above the state legal limit. The legal limit for hemp-derived cannabinoid products in Minnesota is 5 mg/serving and 50 mg/package for edibles.

As a new industry in Minnesota, MDH’s goal is to provide a safe marketplace for consumers to shop. MDH is also working to educate retailers about how to comply with federal and state regulations and which products are safe for use within Minnesota guidelines. 

MDH urges consumers to shop with caution and read labels closely. Illegal, high-dose hemp-derived products may contain hundreds of milligrams of THC per serving, and with multiple servings in a package, this can add up to thousands of milligrams of THC – far above the legal limit of 5mg/serving or 50 mg/package for edibles. These products are produced by a variety of manufacturers and if consumed may lead to adverse health effects, such as becoming unresponsive, seizures, or psychotic episodes. 

MDH asks Minnesotans to not purchase products that exceed the legal limits for THC and to report the products to MDH if found for sale.

Increased education, inspections and enforcement

MDH has increased education, inspection and enforcement activities with retailers. 

Over the last four months, MDH has implemented a registration campaign to identify establishments who had been previously selling hemp-derived cannabinoid products and notify retailers that under state law, they must register with MDH to legally sell these products. MDH has also 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. As a reminder, retailers who are not registered with the State of Minnesota are not in compliance with state law.

Additionally, MDH has engaged in a targeted effort to remove high-risk products from the marketplace and ensure that products sold are safe and compliant with state laws. These enhanced efforts include hiring additional field inspectors, partnering with the Department of Agriculture to increase enforcement actions, and enhancing MDH’s complaint intake process to manage increased volume.

Recent inspections of retailers selling hemp-derived cannabinoid products found these illegal high-dose products in 39 percent of establishments. When found, 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 prior to selling. Failure to register can also result in a $10,000 fine.

What does this mean for consumers?

Anyone who has purchased an illegal high-dose THC product is advised to not consume it. 

MDH is asking for the public’s help to get these high-dose products out of stores. If you find them for sale, you can file a complaint with MDH though the Hemp-Derived Cannabinoid Products webpage. 

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,

• Decreased judgment, perception and coordination that can lead to injuries.

Consumers are advised to contact their health care provider if they become ill or begin suffering symptoms of THC overdose after consuming a high-dose cannabinoid product.

For more information, see Hemp-Derived Cannabinoid Products on the MDH website.

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