Minnesota medical marijuana businesses are preparing to receive their first harvest in the coming weeks. Two MMJ manufacturers, LeafLine Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions, have received approval from the state’s Department of Health to produce, process, and begin distributing products in pill or oil form in July.
In downtown Minneapolis, one company has already begun construction on the city’s first dispensary, in the century-old former home of the League of Catholic Women. Several other sites are set to open in St. Paul, St. Cloud and Hibbing.
Minnesota became the 22nd state to legalize medical marijuana in May 2014 with the strictest medical law in the country. The bill does not allow the smoking of the leaf itself, effectively barring those with illnesses such as muscular dystrophy and PTSD from relief.
Some cities have gone further to postpone MMJ’s arrival; Duluth and certain Twin Cities suburbs implemented six-month and one-year moratoria on dispensaries in order to conduct further studies regarding zoning requirements.
In an interview with CBS Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Health Assistant Commissioner Manny Munson-Regala drew attention to widespread concern regarding the program: “I think the folks who want to move forward with this program underestimate the amount of trepidation there is out there… The folks who are so passionate and believe this is what we should do forget there is a sizable number of people that are not sure.”
Despite this apprehension, Minnesota expects to begin patient enrollment by June, and manufacturers are required to open at least one dispensary by July 2015.
Photo Credit: Andres Rodriguez