Minnesota “Magic Beans” Ready To Pop

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hand holding cannabis seeds Minnesota
Photo: Shutterstock

The Minnesota marijuana market is a work in progress now – a month after the legislature legalized recreational cannabis for people over 21. Some local entrepreneurs are trying to get a head start on the August 1 “go” date by starting with seeds, but it’s a tricky business.

Cannabis legalization in Minnesota is like a fairy tale for Chris Schlenz. He pictures himself a modern-day Jack, trading thousands of dollars for what he calls beans.

“Magic beans, you know?” he said. “We’re going to grow some beautiful beanstalks.”

Schlenz says he’s bought marijuana seeds as collectibles for years and when state laws changed, he started Sota Bean Co. to share what he’s learned about growing cannabis.

There is a lot of gray area when it comes to the “magic beans.” Planting one right now and growing a beanstalk is not legal until August 1. But just having a bag of them probably won’t get you in any trouble.

“No one is taking any action to remove those seeds from the marketplace,” said Denise Thiede, a Minnesota Department of Agriculture Seed, Weed, Hemp & Biotech section director.

The state doesn’t intend to enforce anything but egregious violations for now. On July 1, Thiede says the Department of Agriculture will start licensing businesses to label seeds they can sell as of August 1.

The license costs $75, but it also requires seeds to undergo germination testing and purity and noxious exams, making sure the seeds work and they’re not mixed with problem plants.

Minnesota marijuana seeds are technically still illegal, hopeful seed sellers need more than a pound of them to conduct the necessary tests.

“We’re not holding them to any different standard than any other seed company,” Thiede said.

She says the state should be able to conduct testing before August, but it’s not ready yet so for now it can only be done in other states.

Schlenz added the licensing process gives out-of-state businesses a head start on Minnesota companies like his unless he bends the law a bit. So for the next six weeks, he’s dreading the fee-fi-fo-fum of law enforcement.

“Don’t think I’m not nervous with what I’m doing, you know?” he said. “Because I’m a straight person. I like to stay 100% legal.”

So he’s selling seeds and grow kits. And he has his own tents ready to go. But he’s telling customers not to drop those seeds into the ground until August 1, or else they might waste a goose laying legal green buds.