From Legal Limbo to Green Revolution: Exploring Regulatory Paths and Market Roads in Minnesota and Arkansas

October 24, 20237 Minutes

The burgeoning cannabis and hemp industries in Minnesota, set against the backdrop of recent legal skirmishes involving delta-8 and delta-9 […]

The burgeoning cannabis and hemp industries in Minnesota, set against the backdrop of recent legal skirmishes involving delta-8 and delta-9 THC in Arkansas, provide a riveting narrative for exploration. Let’s dive into the following aspects to contrast the two distinct approaches:

  • Regulatory frameworks

  • Market dynamics

  • Public perception

  • Future developments

From here, we can start to see a clearer picture of a more efficient strategy as we navigate our way out of this long-endured cannabis prohibition.

Regulatory Frameworks

Minnesota recently legalized adult-use marijuana, granting adults aged 21 and older the right to possess and consume cannabis products. Furthermore, Governor Walz and lawmakers also endorsed a provision legalizing high-producing delta-8 and delta-9 THC derived from industrial hemp. This not only made these hemp derivatives legal, but also ensured their broad accessibility and expanded the sales avenues for these products. This allows intoxicating hemp products made federally legal in the 2018 Farm Bill to be sold in various locations like liquor stores, grocery chains, restaurants, and convenience stores, facilitating their widespread availability, and attracting a growing customer base. This broad availability has exposed an entire state of consumers to the fact that they can purchase cannabis products the same way they can purchase alcohol. Simply put, Minnesota has made the acquisition of low-dose intoxicating hemp products accessible through age-restricted yet comparatively unrestricted means.

In contrast, Arkansas (as of this writing) has yet to decriminalize cannabis but has made cannabis medicinally legal. The medicinal market has demonstrated the sizable demand and potential for growth. In the first half of 2023, retailers generated $141 million in sales through June, a 5% increase from the same period last year, according to the latest statistics from the state’s Department of Finance and Administration. Despite a sizable and growing demand for THC, law makers have engaged in legal disputes over hemp’s intoxicating cannabinoids made legal through federal law passed in the Farm Bill of 2018.  Arkansas Act 629, in question, redefined hemp to criminalize specific hemp-derived cannabinoid products, as per the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Little Rock. Act 629 act did not last long as a federal judge in Arkansas quickly ruled that the state law that banned delta-8 THC is in conflict with the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill.

Market Dynamics

Minnesota’s cannabis market is in the midst of a remarkable growth spurt, with low-dose THC beverages emerging as a particular standout. This growth is driven, in large part, by consumers under 30 who actively seek alternatives to traditional alcoholic beverages. Strategic partnerships between national brands and local brewers have further fueled this burgeoning industry. On the flip side, Arkansas finds itself navigating less certain market dynamics due to the legal ambiguities surrounding the Hemp delta-8 and delta-9 THC. Regulatory concerns, particularly regarding product safety and marketing practices, have led to debates regarding the legality and intended use of hemp-derived intoxicating compounds. As a result, the market dynamics for hemp THC products in these states remain agitated by court proceedings, impacting the growth potential of this industry segment.

Public Perception

Minnesota has experienced a perceptible shift in public perception regarding cannabis. Stigmas surrounding cannabis have been gradually eroding, creating an environment where consumers are increasingly comfortable discussing and engaging with cannabis products. This evolving cultural acceptance of low-dose THC products underscores the changing attitudes within the state. Conversely, Arkansas is still grappling with cultural acceptance.  Sales in the cannabis medicinal market are growing and encouraging for local entreprenuers, but navigation to decriminalize cannabis completely or to accept hemp’s intoxicating cannabinoids for the moment remains delicate. There remains persistent debates regarding the intentions of the 2018 Farm Bill regarding the use of hemp for intoxicating compound production. These public perceptions and concerns further disorient the regulatory landscape.

Future Developments

While Minnesota’s journey into cannabis regulation is not without its challenges—primarily arising from individual municipalities enacting restrictions on THC products—the state maintains robust support from the majority of its citizens, as well as backing from the state legislature and the governor’s office. This unwavering momentum continues to drive the expansion of the legal cannabis industry and the low-dose THC market. Meanwhile, Arkansas navigates uncertain terrain concerning the legality of hemp-derived delta-8 and delta-9 THC. More can be clarified with the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill, which unsurprisingly, appears destined for a long delay. Nevertheless, local restrictions, combined with ongoing legal badgering, continue to shape the future landscape of delta-8 and delta-9 THC, encouraging a deceleration over its ongoing growth.


The divergent experiences in Minnesota and Arkansas highlight the significant and overall positive impact of a limited government approach. Minnesota’s flourishing cannabis and hemp industries, characterized by entrepreneurial innovation, empowered consumers, and responsible growth, serve as a testament to the benefits of regulatory restraint. On the other hand, Arkansas’s growing cannabis market place grapples with challenges stemming from regulatory constraints. This clearly functions to diminish industry growth and limit consumer choice. A limited government approach has been a driving force behind Minnesota’s success, while Arkansas faces complexities arising from government intervention.

By promoting freedom, innovation, and responsible industry practices, limited government regulation utilizes the controls already established for alcohol and tobacco. This approach empowers both manufacturers and consumers, ultimately fostering economic growth and safeguarding consumer interests. The future of these industries remains dynamic, shaped by evolving regulations, market dynamics, and public perceptions. It should prove to be not just lucrative for those in the cannabis industry, but also beneficial for consumers as the demand for cannabis continues to increase and the rational for cannabis prohibition subsides.