THCa is a very interesting cannabinoid because, through the decarboxylation process, it converts into Delta-9 THC. At the federal level, regular cannabis with high levels of Delta-9 THC is not yet considered legal.
However, there are certain federal laws and provisions, such as the 2018 Farm Bill, which state that hemp-derived products with less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC are legal. Therefore, at a federal level, THC should be legal, but things might not look quite the same in Minnesota.
Today, we are here to tackle the very complicated legal issue of the legal status of THCA in Minnesota. So, is the THCa cannabinoid legal in the state of Minnesota?
What is THCA?
THCA is tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, one of the over 110 different cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp plants. It is not to be mistaken for CBD or THCV. Technically speaking, THCA is known as a precursor or precursor cannabinoid, otherwise known as the acidic precursor to THC, specifically Delta-9 THC.
Through a process known as decarboxylation, which involves the application of heat, THCa turns into Delta-9 THC. On its own, when not yet decarboxylated, THCA is not intoxicating, or psychoactive, and it should not get you high. Without THCa, you would not have Delta-9 THC.
It may have a variety of potential health benefits, but it won't alter your state of mind. This is opposed to after the decarboxylation process once the THCa turns into Delta-9 THC, it becomes intoxicating and will get you high. As you can probably tell, this has some extremely interesting legal ramifications, especially where the federal 2018 Farm Bill is concerned.
THCA and Federal Law
According to federal law, particularly the 2018 Farm Bill, any cannabinoid product that qualifies as hemp, or specifically industrial hemp, should be totally legal. For a cannabinoid product, whether flower, a tincture, an edible, a capsule, or anything else to be considered legal, it must be derived from the hemp plant, and it must not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.
This federal bill quite clearly labels Delta-9 THC as the deciding factor here, not all forms of THC. Therefore, according to federal law, as long as the THCA product does not contain high levels of Delta-9 THC, it should be considered legal.
This is of course extremely interesting, as well as complicated because, with the application of heat, the former turns into the latter. This decarboxylation process, and the fact that THCa turns into Delta-9 THC, is something that many lawmakers take into account, often referring to what is known as the total THC content.
Minnesota State THCA Laws
Minnesota State laws have recently changed. Shortly after the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, in 2019, the Minnesota State legislature also passed laws in line with the 2018 Farm Bill, which meant that any cannabinoid product was legal as long as it did not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, and as long as it derived from the hemp plant.
However, the state of Minnesota then saw a massive explosion in products containing high levels of Delta-8 THC, Delta-10 THC, and THCA. Some Minnesota State legislators were not in agreement that THCA and forms of THC other than Delta-9 THC should be considered legal.
These legislators advocated for the restriction to apply to all types of THC, otherwise known as the total THC content.
In 2022, Minnesota effectively passed laws that defined hemp in a way that does not allow it to contain any form of THC over 0.3% by dry weight concentration, whether Delta-9 THC or THCA. Whether it is THCA, Delta-8 THC, Delta-10 THC, or Delta-9 THC, products sold in Minnesota (at the time of writing) are not allowed to contain more than 0.3% by dry weight concentration.
However, in late May 2023, Minnesota State democratic governor Tim Walz signed a bill that effectively legalized recreational marijuana use for people over the age of 21 starting on the 1st of August 2023.
People over the age of 21 in Minnesota, as of August 1st, will be allowed to possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower in public and up to 2 pounds of cannabis flower at home. People will also be allowed to possess up to 800 milligrams of THC in gummies and edibles, and up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates.
It would serve to reason that this not only applies to regular cannabis flower containing Delta-9 THC, but also to other forms of THC, including THCA, Delta-8 THC, and Delta-10 THC.
Is THCA a Controlled Substance in Minnesota?
If a product containing THCA falls in line with Minnesota State laws, mainly the 0.3% by dry weight concentration rule, then it is considered legal.
However, as soon as any cannabinoid product contains more than 0.3% of any type of THC, whether THCA or otherwise, it falls outside of the legal definition of hemp, is considered cannabis, and is therefore considered illegal.
If a product contains more than 0.3% THCA, it is considered a controlled substance and anybody found in possession of it is liable to be prosecuted under the full extent of the law.
** At the time that this article was written, the above laws were still in effect. However, as mentioned in the above section, as of August 1st, 2023, recreational cannabis will be legal for adults over the age of 21 in the state of Minnesota. Therefore, although THCA and cannabis are technically still considered controlled substances in Minnesota at this time, as of August 1st, they will no longer be.**
THCA Possession Limits in Minnesota
Seeing as the laws are currently in flux, it's a bit complicated. At the time of writing, people in Minnesota are only allowed to possess THCA if it is not present in concentrations over 0.3% by dry weight concentration.
However, once August 1st, 2023 comes around, the possession limits will allow people over 21 to possess up to 2 ounces of flower in public or two pounds of flower at home, as well as 800 milligrams of THC in edibles, and up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates.
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Is THCA Legal in Minnesota?
Right now, THCA is legal in Minnesota as long as it does not present in quantities over 0.3%. Still, as of August 1st, it will effectively become totally legal for adult recreational use.
Is THCA Safe?
Besides some extremely minor and rare side effects, such as gastrointestinal upset, at this time, there are no indications that moderate doses of THCA are unsafe.