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Minnesota Hemp Plan


Effective date:7/10/2020
Sampling time frame:15 days
DEA lab registration required?:Yes
Total THC (delta-9 THC + THCa):Yes
Sampling protocol:[link]
Sampling agent? (State/3rd Party)State

Below is the Minnesota Hemp Plan that was approved by the USDA. To review the official document, click [here].

Minnesota Hemp Plan

Draft Rules for Hemp Production and Processing

XL.01     Purpose

The purpose of these rules is to establish the requirements for persons to commercially produce hemp as provided under Chapter 18K. Licensing is required for persons to grow and process hemp in Minnesota.

XL.02     Definitions

“Acceptable hemp THC level” means when the application of the measurement of uncertainty to the reported delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol content concentration level on a dry weight basis produces a distribution or range that includes .30% or less as defined in 7 Code of Federal Regulations part 990.1.

“Applicant” means a person who submits an application for a license as required under this chapter. If the applicant is an entity, the applicant should be the owner or most responsible individual in charge.

“Authorized representative” means any individual authorized by the licensee to make changes to the license and share data on behalf of the licensee. The licensee remains responsible for compliance with the license requirements irrespective of the acts or omissions of an authorized representative.

“Cannabis” means a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae of which Cannabis sativa is a species, and Cannabis ruderalis and C. indica are subspecies thereof. Cannabis also refers to any form of the plant in which the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration on a dry weight basis has not yet been determined.

“Certified seed” means a hemp seed variety that has been bred to comprise satisfactory genetic purity and varietal identity and has been accepted by the Association of Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA), Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) or other certifying entity as determined by the department.

“Certificate of Analysis” means a document issued by an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory which documents the Total THC content of the lot that it accompanies.

“Commissioner” means the commissioner of agriculture.

“Controlled Substances Act” is the statute codified in 21 U.S.C. 801-971.

“Conviction” is a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or any finding of guilt. If the finding of guilt is subsequently overturned on appeal, pardoned, or expunged, then it is not considered a conviction under this rule. It is expunged when the conviction is removed from the individual’s criminal history record and there are no legal disabilities or restrictions associated with the expunged conviction, other than it may be used for sentencing purposes for subsequent convictions.

“Corrective Action Plan” is a plan set up by the Department for a licensed hemp producer to correct a negligent violation of or noncompliance with a hemp production plan, in terms, or any other regulation set forth under this rule.

“Criminal History Report” means the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Identity History Summary.

“Culpable mental state greater than negligence” means to act intentionally, knowingly, willfully, recklessly or with criminal negligence.

“Decarboxylated” means the completion of the chemical reaction that converts THC-acid (THC-A) into delta-9- THC, the intoxicating component of cannabis. The decarboxylated value is also calculated using a conversion formula that sums delta 9-THC and eighty-seven and seven tenths (87.7) percent of THC-acid.

“Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC” mean the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. For the purposes of this rule, delta-9 THC and THC are interchangeable.

“Department” means the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

“Destroyed” means incinerated, tilled under the soil, made into compost, removal and disposal of THC or other manner approved by the department.

“Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA” means the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Dry weight basis” refers to a method of determining the percentage of a chemical in a substance after removing the moisture from the substance. Percentage of THC on a dry weight basis means the percentage of THC, by weight, in a cannabis item (plant, extract, or other derivative), after excluding moisture from the item.

“Dwelling” means any residential building or portion thereof intended or built for occupancy by one of more persons with facilities for living, sleeping, cooking and eating, including apartments, townhomes, and any other multi-family structures.

“Entity” means a corporation, joint stock company, association, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company, irrevocable trust, estate, charitable organization, or other similar organization, including any such organization participating in the hemp production as a partner in a general partnership, a participant in a joint venture, or a participant in a similar organization.

“Farm Service Agency or FSA” means an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture.

“Fit for Commerce” is a document issued by the department attesting that the raw hemp plant material has been tested for total THC concentration and is in compliance with this chapter.

“Geospatial location” means a location designated through a global system of navigational satellites used to determine the precise ground position of a place or object.

“Grow location” means a contiguous land area, or greenhouses, hoop houses, or buildings for indoor cultivation, registered with the department, on which a licensee or applicant will conduct licensed hemp cultivation activities. Each non-contiguous grow location must be registered separately.

“Grower” means any individual who grows hemp in order to harvest plants, plant parts, grain or seed.

“Genuine grower’s declaration” is a statement signed by the grower which gives for a lot of hemp propagules, the lot number, kind, variety, origin, quantity, year of production, date of shipment, and to whom it was sold, shipped, or delivered.

“Key Participants” means a sole proprietor, a partner in a partnership, or a person with executive managerial control in a corporation or persons who have a direct or indirect financial interest in the entity producing hemp. A person with executive managerial control includes persons such as a chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer. This does not include such management as farm, field or shift managers.

“Licensee” means any person who holds a license from the department to grow, produce, or, process, hemp.

“Lot” means a contiguous area in a field, greenhouse, or indoor growing structure containing the same variety or strain of cannabis throughout, and all hemp plants, plant parts, extracts and derivatives from a common source.

“Marketable hemp product” means a hemp product that does not contain any living hemp plant parts or viable seeds, or does not contain THC above the acceptable hemp THC level.

“Measurement of Uncertainty” means the parameter, associated with the result of a measurement, that characterizes the dispersion of the values that could reasonably be attributed to the particular quantity subject to measurement. Measurement uncertainty includes uncertainty due to sampling.

“Negligence” means failure to exercise the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in complying with the regulations set forth under this part.

“Person” includes individuals, firms, associations, joint ventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, corporations, or businesses.

“Processing” means rendering hemp plants or plant parts from their natural or original state after harvest by refinement, such as, but not limited to, decortication, devitalization, chopping, crushing, extraction or packaging. Typical farm operations such as, but not limited to, sorting, grading, baling, and harvesting, are not considered processing for purposes of this definition.

“Processing location” means any area, building, plant or facility registered with and approved by the department in which a licensee will convert raw hemp into a marketable product.

“Processor” means a person or business that converts raw hemp into a product.

“Propagule” means seeds, clones, transplants and any other propagative hemp material.

“Raw hemp” means whole plants, whether growing or not, or the stalks, viable seeds, unaltered flowers or leaves, or any unprocessed plant pieces or parts.

“Sell; sale” means keeping, offering, or exposing for sale, use, transporting, transferring, negotiating, soliciting, or exchanging hemp; having in possession with intent to sell, use transport, negotiate, solicit, or exchange hemp; storing, manufacturing, producing, processing, packing, and holding of hemp for sale; dispensing or giving hemp; or supplying or applying hemp in the conduct of any hemp operation or carrying hemp in aid of traffic in hemp whether done or permitted in person or through others.

“Volunteer plant” means a hemp plant that results from a previous crop.

“Variety” means a subdivision of a kind that is distinct, uniform, and stable; “distinct” in the sense that the variety can be differentiated by one or more identifiable morphological, genetic, physiological, or other characteristics from all other varieties of public knowledge; “uniform” in the sense that variations in essential and distinctive characteristics are describable; and “stable” in the sense that the variety will remain unchanged in its essential and distinctive characteristics and its uniformity when reproduced or reconstituted as required by the different categories of varieties.

XL.03     Application Process

Subpart 1.       Each applicant for a hemp grower or processor license must pay a nonrefundable registration and inspection fee as well as submit an application which contains the following information:

  1. The applicant’s full name, business address, telephone number, and email address if available. For an entity, the full business name, the principal business location address, telephone number, and the full name, title, and email address, if available, of each key participant of the entity;
  2. A list of authorized representatives, to be registered under the license;
  3. The proposed acreage and indoor square footage to be planted;
  4. The legal description and geospatial location of any proposed registered grow and/orprocessing area;
  5. A map of the grow location, showing the boundaries and dimensions of the grow location inacres or square feet;
  6. The landowner’s name, phone number, and email address, if different than the grower; and
  7. As part of a complete application, each first time applicant shall provide an official fingerprint card of the applicant’s fingerprints, a non-refundable background check fee, and a completed informed consent form authorizing the department to obtain a federal/state criminal history report on the applicant from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The criminal history report must be dated within 60 days of application.
  8. Each annual renewal shall require the payment of nonrefundable license renewal fees.

Subpart 2.       A license shall not be issued unless the application submitted for review is complete and accurate, and the criminal history summary confirms that the applicant has not been convicted of a felony, under State or Federal law, relating to a controlled substance within the past ten years unless the exception in Section 7 CFR Section 990.20(b) applies. In addition, a license shall not be issued if the applicant has not submitted all reports required under this rule or owes a penalty to the Department for violating any rules under this chapter.

Subpart 3. A license shall not be issued if the Department obtains knowledge that the applicant is applying for a license as a stand-in for someone whose license has been suspended, revoked, or is otherwise ineligible to participate.

Subpart 4.       An applicant has an ongoing obligation during the course of their license period to ensure that that the individual grower, authorized representative, licensed applicant, or key participant has not been convicted of a felony related to the possession, production, sale, use or distribution of a controlled substance in any form within ten years of the date of the application. If an individual has been convicted of a felony stated above, the individual shall be ineligible, during the 10-year period following the date of the conviction, to grow hemp or participate in the hemp program under this chapter.

Subpart 5.      An applicant must be in compliance with all local, state and federal laws and ordinances before a grower or processor license may be issued.

XL.04     Grower License

Subpart 1.       A person must possess a hemp grower license prior to planting or growing raw hempin Minnesota for commercial or research purposes.

Subpart 2.       The licensee must submit a Planting/Harvest Report Form no more than 7 days after planting to notify the Department of an anticipated harvest date.

Subpart 3.       All licenses are valid until the last day of the calendar year in which it was issued and may be renewed in successive years.

Subpart 4.       Any growing plant that is not harvested during the license period in which it was planted must be destroyed unless the license has been renewed.

Subpart 5.       Licensees shall not change the location of a registered grow location without first notifying the department and their local Farm Service Agency. The licensee must submit the proposed change to the department along with an updated legal description, geospatial location, and map specifying the proposed changes to the registered grow location(s) and pay fees, prior to planting.

Subpart 6.       Licensees growing hemp for seed certification must register with and follow therequirements for certification of the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association.

XL.05     Processor License

Subpart 1.       A person shall obtain a hemp processor license prior to obtaining raw hemp materials for commercial processing purposes.

Subpart 2.       Licensees shall be able to provide to the department or law enforcement upon request, information documenting the source material for any hemp plants, plant parts, extracts, grain, seeds and products that they are in possession of or had processed. Documentation must include, but is not limited to, any test results from an accredited laboratory validating that plant materials, extracts and products did not exceed the acceptable hemp THC level.

Subpart 3.       Licensees shall not change the location of a registered processing location without first notifying the department. The licensee must submit the proposed change to the department along with an

updated legal description, Geospatial location, and/or map specifying the proposed changes to the registered processing location, and if applicable, pay additional fees, prior to commencing processing at the new location.

Subpart 4.       A processor must obtain hemp from a licensed Minnesota grower or from sources approved through another state or federally approved plan. The processor must obtain a copy of the Fit for Commerce certificate (or equivalent document from another state, the United States Department of Agriculture, or country of origin) from the grower, specific to the lot being purchased, prior to processing the hemp.

XL.06     Supervision, Sampling and Inspection

Subpart 1.       Each licensee shall agree to the following:

  1. That the licensee agrees to maintain on record any additional testing results of final harvested materials and any processed materials, to ensure compliance with the 0.3% Total THC requirement;
  2. That the licensee has not made any materially false statement or misrepresentations regardingthe person’s cultivation or processing of cannabis plants;
  3. That the licensee shall not cultivate, process, move or distribute cannabis plants other than hemp unless licensed to do so;
  4. That the licensee shall not cultivate or process hemp in an area not licensed by the department;
  5. That they are responsible to pay any fees applicable to the licensed activities;
  6. That the licensee must have the legal right which includes, but is not limited to, a valid deed or lease, to the registered grow location, including the legal authority to grant the department access for inspection and sampling;

Subpart 2.       Sampling, Testing and Destruction

  1. As a condition of obtaining a license, the licensee must agree to allowing the Department or its designee to conduct field surveillance and crop sampling of licensee’s growing locations as requested by the Department.
  2. The license holder or an authorized representative is encouraged to be present at the growing site during inspection and be available by phone prior to or during the inspection. The landowner on record can be an authorized representative if granted by the license holder. Authorization for entrance to and inspection of property and collection of hemp samples for testing is granted by signature of the licensee as a part of the licensing process. If neither the license holder or an authorized agent can be present during the inspection/sampling event, prior communications with the license holder will occur to assure both the licensee and the inspector are aware of the Lots to be sampled, the location of said Lots, and any other information pertinent to the inspection process.
  3. The Department or any law enforcement agency shall be provided with complete and unrestricted access during business hours to all hemp and other cannabis plants, whether growing orharvested, and all land, buildings and other structures used for the cultivation, handling, producing, and storage of all hemp and other cannabis plants, and all locations listed in the producer’s application and license.
  4. A producer must not harvest a “lot” of hemp unless a sample has been collected by the Department no more than 15 days previous.
  5. A sample collected according to established protocols approved by the commissioner shall be deemed representative of the location or lot from which the sample was obtained.
  6. The compliance of the lot will be based on whether the % Total THC result determined on a dry weight basis includes a value of 0.3% within a range of values specified by plus or minus the measurement uncertainty.
  7. Any sample test result exceeding the acceptable hemp THC level shall be conclusive evidence that the lot represented by the sample is not in compliance with this part.
  8. Any test result from a sample collected by the Department will be considered the official test result representing the lot.
  9. Harvested lots of hemp plants shall not be commingled with other harvested lots or other material without a proper fit for commerce certificate.


Subpart 1.       Cannabis plants exceeding the acceptable hemp THC level constitutes marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance under the CSA, 21 USC 801 et seq, and must be destroyed.


Subpart 1.       Ownership of raw hemp may not be transferred to a processor or to the public without a Fit for Commerce certificate.

Subpart 2.       No processor may acquire or process raw hemp grown within Minnesota without acquiringa copy of a Fit for Commerce certificate issued by the department to the grower, specific to the lot being purchased.

Subpart 3.       For the purposes of this section, “processing” does not include drying or field-cleaning of hemp. The licensee must notify the Department if they are drying or field-cleaning hemp from the lot in a location other then what is listed on the licensee’s application or license.

Subpart 4.       A licensed processor using hemp which was obtained from outside of the state of Minnesota must maintain a bill of lading, certificate of analysis, and other proper documentation demonstrating that the hemp was from a source approved through another state or federally approved plan. The licensee must retain such records for 3 years and produce them upon request of the department, law enforcement, or other regulatory entity. Imported products must meet all applicable state and federal laws.


Subpart 1. During transport of any raw hemp, the transporter must have in their possession:

  1. A copy of the owner of the raw hemp’s license, and, if different, the license of the individual receiving the raw hemp, a Fit for Commerce Certificate, Certificate of Analysis or equivalent; and
  2. A bill of lading or other proper documentation demonstrating that the hemp was legally imported into Minnesota under applicable state and federal laws and from sources approved through another state or federally approved plan


Subpart 1.       To sell or purchase hemp propagules, the licensee must maintain the following documents on record for 3 years:

  1. lot number or other lot identification;
  2. a copy of the genuine grower’s declaration or similar documents containing thesame information;
  3. copies of invoices showing the sale of each propagule lot, including the name of the person the lot was sold to, the amount sold, the date of sale, the name of the variety, and the lotnumber;
  4. a copy of the label that was attached to or accompanied the propagule lot;
  5. a copy of the field and final certification documents, if applicable;
  6. a copy of each report concerning the testing of hemp seed for labeling purposes, including Total THC; and
  7. A copy of required USDA documents if importing from another country.

Subpart 2. The licensee agrees to the following conditions:

a. That upon suspension, revocation, expiration, or nonrenewal of a licensee’s license, any hemp live cannabis plants must be destroyed without reimbursement;

Subpart 3. Any volunteer hemp plants growing in subsequent years must be destroyed or a licensee may register that grow location and cultivate and harvest the volunteer plants if they obtain permission from the department and pay fees associated with registering the grow location.

Subpart 4. A hemp seed labeler selling seed in Minnesota must possess a current Minnesota seed permit and follow all federal and state seed laws.

Subpart 5.       A person shall not sell hemp propagules to any person in the state that is not licensed by the department. Upon request from the department, a person selling hemp propagules shall provide records showing to whom hemp propagules were distributed.

Subpart 6.       A licensee shall not acquire or grow hemp propagules of wild, landrace, or unknown origin without first obtaining written approval from the department. Each lot of hemp clones must have THC tested for each parental source before sale of any plants from that lot


Subpart 1. Unless restricted by local ordinance or other state law, hemp can begrown in any area zoned for agriculture.

Subpart 2. Hemp cannot be grown in residential dwellings.

Subpart 3. Hemp production and processing practices must meet all federal and state pesticide, food and feed laws.


Subpart 1. The licensee must maintain records regarding the acquiring, production, handling, selling and disposal of all plants subject to this chapter. All records must be maintained for at least three years. Each

grow location or processing area inspection may include an audit of the licensee’s records and data, and all records shall be available for inspection by the Department or their designees during reasonable business hours or submitted to the Department upon request.

Subpart 2.       A licensee shall notify the department and local law enforcement within 24 hours of discovery that any of their hemp and cannabis is missing, has been stolen, or is suspected to have been modified or tampered without the licensee’s approval.

Subpart 3.       A copy of the license shall be provided upon request to the MDA or law enforcement at any time. A copy must be given to the landowner or facility owner where hemp is grown or processed if they are different from the licensee.

Subpart 4.       Any information obtained by the department regarding a licensee’s growing or production of hemp may be provided to Federal, State or Local law enforcement agencies by the department without further notice to the licensee.

Subpart 5. Producers shall report their hemp crop acreage to FSA pursuant to 7 Code of Federal Regulations 990.7.

Subpart 6. Laboratories approved by MDA to conduct regulatory samples of hemp for licensees shall report the results for all samples tested to the USDA pursuant to 7 Code of Federal Regulations 990.7.


Subpart 1.       Applications for a license shall be denied if the applicant or key participant has been convicted of any felony related to the possession, production, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance in any form within ten years of the date of the application. If an individual outlined in XXXX. 03 Subpart 3 has any of the above on their background check, they will be ineligible, during the 10-year period following the date of the conviction, to produce hemp or participate in the hemp program under this chapter.

Subpart 2.       In the event of license or registration revocation, any industrial hemp in possession of the revoked party must be destroyed by the party or it will be subject to seizure and destruction by the department or law enforcement. Any cost of the seizure and destruction shall be at the revoked party’s expense.

Subpart 3.       Negligent violations. A producer shall be subject to enforcement for negligently:

  1. Failing to provide an accurate legal description of land where hemp is produced;
  2. Producing hemp without a license.
  3. Producing cannabis (marijuana) exceeding the acceptable hemp THC level. Hemp producers do not commit a negligent violation under this paragraph if they make reasonable efforts to grow hemp and the cannabis does not have a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration exceeding the level defined in 7 Code of Federal Regulations part 990.6(b)(3) after consideration of the measurement of uncertainty.

Subpart 4. Corrective Actions for negligent violations.  For each negligent violation, the Department will issue a Notice of Violation and require a corrective action plan for the producer. The producer shall comply with the corrective action plan to cure the negligent violation. Corrective action plans will be in place for a minimum of two years from the date of their approval. Corrective action plans will, at a minimum, include;

  1. The date by which the producer shall correct each negligent violation;
  2. Steps to correct each negligent violation; and
  3. A description of the procedures to demonstrate compliance must be submitted to the Department.
  4. A producer that negligently violates this part shall not, as a result of that violation be subject to any criminal enforcement by any Federal, State, or local government.
  5. If a subsequent violation occurs while a corrective action plan is in place, a new corrective action plan must be submitted with a heightened level of quality control, staff training, and quantifiable action measures.
  6. A producer that has three negligent violations in a 5 year period shall have their licenserevoked and be ineligible to produce hemp for a period of 5 years beginning on the date of the third violation.

Subpart 5. If the Department determines that a licensee has violated the terms of the license or of this part with a culpable mental state greater than negligence:

  1. The Department shall immediately report the violation to the United States Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Attorney General, and the Chief law enforcement officer of the state.
  2. Subparts 3 and 4 do not apply to culpable violations.

XL.14     License Revocation.

Subpart 1.       The Department shall immediately revoke a license from a producer if such producer;

  1. Pleads guilty to, or is convicted of, any felony related to a controlled substance; or
  2. Made any materially false statement with regard to this chapter to the Department with aculpable mental state greater than negligence; or
  3. Is found to be growing cannabis exceeding the acceptable hemp THC level with a culpablemental state greater than negligence or negligently violating this chapter three times in five years.

Subpart 2.       It is unlawful to hinder or obstruct an inspector from inspecting, sampling or carrying outthe duties under this section or Minnesota Statutes Chapter 18K.

XL.15     Laboratory Requirements

Subpart 1. At a minimum, analytical testing of samples for delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration levels must use post-decarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods approved by the Department and USDA. The total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration level shall be determined and reported on a dry weight basis.

Additionally, measurement of uncertainty must be estimated and reported with test results. Laboratories shall use appropriate, validated methods and procedures for all testing activities and evaluate measurement of uncertainty.

Appendix 2. Sampling Protocol


Samples are taken to obtain specimens for the measurement of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, which determines whether the plants are hemp or marijuana. The measurements are intended to be representative of the THC content in a “lot” of hemp crop acreage as identified by the producer. Hemp producers may not harvest a “lot” until it has been sampled by the Department.


Samples collected according to these procedures are acceptable for submission to a qualified, Department-approved laboratory for regulatory determination of THC in hemp.

Since the THC content of hemp generally peaks as the plant ripens, the timing of when sampling occurs is important to accurately measure THC concentration and monitor compliance with the USDA hemp production program.

Official samples must be collected by a USDA-approved sampling agent, or a Federal, State or Tribal law enforcement agent authorized by USDA to collect samples. It is the responsibility of the licensee to pay any fees associated with sampling. An official sample will be considered to represent the THC level of a lot.

Inspection Selection and Notification

All licensed growers are subject to routine inspection and sampling to verify that the THC concentration of the hemp planted within a registered site does not exceed the acceptable hemp THC level.

In addition to any routine inspection and sampling, MDA may inspect and take samples from any registered site during normal business hours without advance notice if they have reason to believe a violation of the program rules is occurring.

The licensee will submit a Planting/Harvest Report Form no more than 7 days after planting to notify the department of an anticipated harvest date. MDA will send notification by phone or email to a licensed grower regarding an upcoming inspection. MDA inspectors will attempt to work with the grower to schedule the inspection for a date and time that works for both parties, however, it may not always be possible for the inspector to accommodate the grower’s schedule.

All hemp lots grown in Minnesota will be subject to pre-harvest inspection and testing. The licensee must obtain confirmation from the Department that official sampling has been completed for a lot before it is harvested.

For all hemp lots, a sample must be collected by the Department as described in this Sampling Protocol and submitted to a Department-approved lab for analysis. The certificate of analysis from the sample must fall within acceptable Total THC concentration in order to receive Fit for Commerce certification.

During an inspection, the licensee or an authorized representative must be present at the registered growth site, or otherwise provide all necessary information to the Department so that all hemp lots can be accurately identified and sampled. Inspectors must be provided complete and unrestricted access to all hemp plants, parts, and seeds within a registered site whether growing or harvested; all land, buildings and other structures used for the cultivation and storage of industrial hemp; and all documents and records.

A Notice of Inspection (NOI) should be issued prior to conducting each field inspection and sampling. The NOI will be emailed and/or mailed to the licensee prior to visiting the field, delivered by hand at the time of inspection or emailed and/or mailed after the inspection if no one is on-site to receive it.

This document provides procedures for entering a growing area and collecting the minimum number of plant specimens necessary to represent a homogeneous composition of the “lot” that is to be sampled. For the purposes of these procedures, a “lot” is a contiguous area in a field, greenhouse, or indoor growing structure containing the same variety or strain of cannabis throughout. In addition, “lot” refers to the batch of contiguous, homogeneous whole of a product being sold to a single buyer at a single time. Lot is to be defined by the grower in terms of farm location, field acreage, and to be reported as such to the FSA.

An inspector enters a growing area, strategically examines the growing area, establishes an approach for navigating the growing area, and collects individual specimens of plants in order to obtain a representative sample of hemp in the designated lot.

Equipment Used


cleaned prior to and following each composite sample, using appropriate cleaning agents and supplies such as bleach, rubbing alcohol, steel wool and/or sandpaper

Sampling Bags (brown paper bags)

The size of the bags will depend upon the number of clippings collected per lot. The bags should be made from material known to be free from THC

Custody Seals

-Permanent Markers

– MDA Inspection & Sampling Form and/or online Inspection app

To be completed by inspector on state-issued iPhone or Tablet

-Camera/GPS Unit

-Disposable gloves– Nitrile

Data Collection

The inspector shall verify the GPS coordinates of the growing area as compared with the GPS coordinates submitted by the licensee. The inspector shall record the average height, appearance, approximate density, condition of the plants, and degree of maturity of the flowering material, meaning inflorescences (flowers/buds). The inspector shall visually establish the homogeneity of the stand to establish that the growing area is of like variety. The inspector shall also attempt to gather the following information from the grower or authorized representative present at the time of inspection: variety name(s), source of seed/plants (seller/labeler), seed label, and Certificate of Analysis for the varieties planted. If the information is not obtainable at the time of inspection, the inspector shall indicate as such.

Inspectors will take 2- 4 pictures of the hemp field– at least one close-up and one wide-angle picture. Inspectors should also take a picture of the contents of the sample bag and the outside of the bag, with the label showing and legible. (See photo examples at the end of this document.)

Inspectors will fill out an MDA Inspection and Sampling Form or complete an inspection report on an online Inspection app on a state-issued iPhone or Tablet for each lot sampled.

Sampling Timing

An MDA inspector will visit each hemp lot to collect representative sample from cannabis plants for THC concentration level testing. At least 75% of the female plants in the lot must be in flower, with at least 2” of flower present, for the inspector to be able to take a sample.

Sample Volume and Composition

For sampling purposes, samples from separate lots must be kept separate and not be comingled. Each hemp lot and sample must consist of one variety.

Inspectors will use Table 1 to determine the correct number of plants to sample for the lot. The minimum sample size required for testing is 5 grams.

Inspectors will always walk at right angle to the rows of plants, beginning at one point of the lot and walking towards another point on the opposite side of the lot. While walking the transect, the inspector will take cuttings of the appropriate number of plants at random intervals. The inspector will cut the top 2” of the flowering material, meaning inflorescence (the flower or bud of a female plant), with all flowers selected from the top half of the plant. All samples cut in each lot shall be placed in a single paper bag. Inspectors should avoid collecting too many samples from the borders of the field/greenhouse.

Total number of Plants and/or Acreage in LotRandomly select this number of plants to sample:
1-10 plantsSample all plants
10-50 plantsSample half of the plants
500 square feet25
1,000 sq. ft.26
5,000 sq. ft.27
10,000 sq. ft.28
20,000 sq. ft.29
1- 30 acres30
30- 75 acres45
75- 125 acres75
125 +100
Table 1: Number of Plants to Sample based on Lot Size

Sample Identification

The inspector will seal the bag with a chain of custody seal. Samples will be labelled and recorded with the sample identification number.

Examples of Sample ID recording—either method is acceptable.

Specimen Handling and Testing

Samples should be stored in a dry location until drop-off at the testing laboratory, to maintain sample integrity. Samples should be submitted to a Department-approved lab as soon as possible. If immediate lab submission is not possible, then the inspector should shake up the plant material in the bags once a day to ensure they are not molding within the bag and attempt to store them in an area with some airflow. Each sample is recorded on a sample Chain of Custody form, which must follow the sample during transport, and is submitted to the lab along with the samples.

Samples may also be mailed to the lab by the inspector. Mailed samples should be overnighted and should not be sent on Fridays to ensure that they do not get stuck in the box for the weekend. Mailed samples should have a completed sample Chain of Custody form included in the box.

Sample drying begins immediately upon arrival at the lab in order to avoid mold or rotting. If the plants are particularly high in moisture content, they may be dried on a drying rack or in a heat dryer. The dried sample is then ground up in a grinding machine to completely homogenize the sample.

The delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol is analyzed via High Performance Liquid Chromatography with an Ultraviolet (UV) light detector (HPLC/UV) by the lab. All samples are retained by the lab for 30 days.

THC concentration is reported to approximately 0.00200% reporting limit by weight (dependent on the exact mass of the testing sub-sample). The final number used for regulatory purposes is delta-9 THC post-decarboxylation, which is equal to delta-9 THC + (THCA*0.877) when analyzed via HPLC methodology. The THC concentration, after considering the lab’s testing measure of uncertainty, may not exceed 0.3%.

Hemp Lot Certification and Failures

Upon receipt of the test results, MDA will email or mail a letter to the licensee. A Fit For Commerce Certificate will be emailed to those licensees whose samples tested at or below the acceptable hemp THC level. A Failure Notice is mailed and emailed to those licensees whose samples test above the acceptable hemp THC level.

Any destruction or disposal of failed hemp lots must be entered into an MDA Disposal Report Form. The licensee, inspector, or law enforcement agent will submit the completed form to the Department.

Appendix 3. Data Sharing Protocol


To specify the data that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) collects during the licensing, inspection, and sampling process for the Hemp Program, and indicate the procedure by which the MDA will report such data to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Data Collection

The MDA collects data from Hemp Program applicants during the application process. The data is entered by the applicant into an online application form and the collected data is stored in a State License Information System (LIS) and a secure, online ArcGIS map which is monitored by the MDA Hemp Program staff and State Information Technology personnel. The following data is collected from each applicant during the license application process and maintained by the MDA:

  1. Full name of the individual applicant
  2. Business name of the applicant, if applicable
  3. Physical Address
  4. Mailing Address, if different from Physical
  5. Telephone Number
  6. Email address, if available
  7. Background Check status and results
  8. Data of application and Date of licensing
  9. Legal description of the registered land area where hemp will be grown or processed, which includes;
    • Street address
    • City and State
    • Zip Code
    • County
    • Latitude
    • Longitude
    • Township
    • Range
    • Section
    • Quarter Section

The MDA creates or assigns the following data for each licensee at the time of application:

  1. License Number
  2. Entity ID Number
  3. License Status (i.e. In Good Standing, On Hold, Revoked, etc.)

The MDA inspects and samples a random subset of registered grow locations and submits samples to a Department- approved lab for THC analysis. Samples of hemp plants are collected for every lot by the licensee and the samples are submitted to a Department-approved lab for THC concentration analysis. Samples collected by all entities will follow procedures as outlined in the Department’s Sampling Plan. The lab reports the test results to the MDA. The MDA hemp program staff makes the determination of whether a specific hemp lot conforms to the legal definition of hemp based on the test results. The data collected during this process are listed below. This data will be maintained by the MDA and shared with the USDA.

  1. Sample number
  • Hemp variety sampled
  • Name of the grower/license holder
  • License number of the grower
  • Legal description of the land area where the sample was collected
  • Date and time of sampling
  • Date of lab submission
  • THC test results for the sample
  • Legal determination of sample (Pass/Fail)

Data Retention

The Hemp Program will maintain application, licensing, and testing information for four years.

MDA Data Reporting

As required by 7 C.F.R. § 990.3(a)(1) and § 990.70(a), the MDA will share a Producer Report in real time with the USDA. The MDA will email an Excel spreadsheet to the appropriate USDA mailbox with the above-listed information once per month. The MDA will only send data on new licenses issued, changes to licenses or registered grow location, and hemp samples collected in the 30 days since the last report was sent. After the USDA has developed an automated, online method of delivering the information, the MDA will use that new system.

In addition, in accordance with 7 C.F.R. § 990.3(a)(4) the MDA will promptly notify the USDA of any occurance of cannabis plants or plant material that do not meet the definition of hemp, and attach records demonstrating the appropriate disposal of all of those plants and materials from the lot from which the representative samples were taken. MDA will also, as recquired by § 990.70(b), provide USDA a Hemp Disposal Report every month with the information required by that subpart, including:

  1. Name and address of the producer.
  2. Producer license or authorization identifier.
  3. Location information, such as lot number, location type, and geospatial location or other location descriptor for the production area subject to disposal.
  4. Information on the agent handling the disposal.
  5. Disposal completion date.
  6. Total acreage.

Finally, MDA will provide USDA with an Annual Report, as required by 7 C.F.R. § 990.70(c), with the following information on producers:

  1. Total planted acreage.
  2. Total harvested acreage.
  3. Total acreage disposed.

Updated on August 6, 2020

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