Minnesota: A Rising North Star in the Hemp Industry
When you sit back and think about all of the geographical locations that may be suitable for hemp cultivation, Minnesota isn’t likely on your list. However, the deeper you dive into the expansive hemp world, the more you’ll learn about its tenacity and ability to thrive in a wide range of environments. We’ve come a long way over the years, and you’re now able to shop for your favorite CBD products with ease — but it wasn’t always like this, especially in the North Star State. So, how did we get here?
Well, it all began with the freeing of hemp.
If there’s one thing that hemp is known for — it’s low maintenance. Of all the issues that typically plague plant growth, the biggest obstacle hemp has to face is legality. Luckily, the 2018 Farm Bill changed farming as we know it, opening up new doors for the hemp sector.
The Farm Bill
There’s been more than one farm bill, so we’ll take us back to 2014, where a different farm bill gave passage to “institutions of higher education” to grow hemp. This bill outlined a pilot program that empowered growers (within state laws) to embark on the journey of establishing industrial hemp. This 2014 farm bill was actually the one that implemented a THC threshold (.3%).
Now, fast-forward to 2018, and hemp has officially been removed from the list of controlled substances and added as an agricultural commodity. It even went so far as placing it on the list of covered commodities for crop insurance.
Why Is Minnesota a Great Place to Grow Hemp?
So, now that the legality issues are behind us — we must explore why Minnesota is ideal for hemp cultivation.
Well, hemp thrives in nearly any condition, but it’s partial to a well-balanced soil with a pH of around 6-7. Historically, Minnesota has hovered around a pH level of around 6.6 — making it perfect for hemp growth.
Hemp also grows extremely well in full sunlight and in temperatures near 60°F. While Minnesota has temperant weather conditions, the growing season is ideal, with humid temperatures and moderate heat that hemp plants love. If it does get too cool, many growers take advantage of black plastic or specialized plant wraps to create heat. Rainfall also plays an important role, as hemp does well in around 25-30 inches of yearly rainfall — which Minnesota has.
What’s the Big Deal With Hemp?
Oh, where to begin. There’s a reason why they call it weed. Hemp grows at an alarming rate, outcompeting weeds that may plague many farms. It requires far less water, herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizer than other crops like corn, for instance.
Hemp also produces an insurmountable amount of biomass with the potential to be raw material for biofuel, paper, textiles, and livestock feed. It’s a truly miraculous and diverse plant with almost incalculable applications and potential. Plus, hemp seeds produce oils that can be used for both culinary and industrial purposes.
However, the most popular current trend for hemp is cannabidiol (CBD). Are you wondering what CBD is or what the big craze is about? Well, CBD has a ton of incredible health and wellness benefits, aiding with anything from anxiety to epileptic episodes. However, the real reason why hemp CBD is so popular is that it lacks sufficient traces of THC, which cause serious legal hoops to jump through for growers.
The farm bills we previously mentioned have created a lucrative hemp industry here in Minnesota that many cultivators and growers are jumping on.
What’s the Future of Hemp in Minnesota?
There are still many obstacles for hemp growers and cultivators in Minnesota, but the future does look promising if USDA rules continue to loosen.
In 2017, there were less than 100 licensed hemp growers, processors, and handlers in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Now, there is well over 500 and counting. The acreage numbers reflect this blossoming opportunity, with numbers growing by over 6,000 acres in the past three years.
However, the most promising component of the Minnesota hemp industry is its impassioned growers and retailers who work tirelessly to craft some of the best CBD products in the country.
There are a ton of extraordinary hemp cultivators all throughout the state offering amazing products for Minnesotans to enjoy. Additionally, there are some amazing retailers housing CBD products in their stores. If you’re wondering where you should purchase CBD oil and other CBD related products in Minnesota, we’ve got your covered. Here are some of our favorite CBD hotspots throughout the state.
- Nothing But Hemp (Forest Lake, Maplewood, Chaska, White Bear Lake, Stillwater)
- House of Oilworx (Anoka)
Central + Southern Minnesota
These hardly scratch the surface of all the places you can pick up CBD products here in Minnesota, but they’re a great place to check out in your area.
We’re not 100% certain what the future is for hemp cultivation here in Minnesota. The potential is nearly endless, but there is still much progress to be made regarding regulatory conditions.
So far, we can predict the meteoric rise in the number of growers to plateau slightly, but that doesn’t mean that growth is slowing down. As cultivators around the state learn more and more about the intricacies of hemp production — we can assume that we’re still in the beginning stages of an incredible industry opportunity.