The Minnesota Department of Health has opened up the application process for the state’s two coveted licenses to manufacture, process and sell medical cannabis.
The completed 36-page application must be submitted with a $20,000 application fee and 20 copies of the manufacturer’s comprehensive business plan. Applications are due Oct. 3.
The manufacturers will be chosen by December, according to a timeline released by the Department of Health.
Health officials also have released a second draft of the regulations manufacturers must operate under. The updated rules include details on packaging, promotions and record-keeping.
Under the state’s vertically integrated “seed-to-sale” program, the two licensed manufacturers must each open at least one dispensary by mid-2015 and another three the following year.
Entrepreneurs have shown keen interest in securing the licenses, as has been seen in other states rolling out an MMJ program. The state will only allow sales of non-smokable forms of medical cannabis, such as oils and edibles.
Manny Munson-Regala, an assistant commissioner for the department, said that additional manufacturers may be allowed in the future. That decision would be made after this initial application process and early roll-out efforts can be assessed.
A compromise between lawmakers in Minnesota has paved the way for the state to legalize medical marijuana and set up a dispensary system. But there’s a big caveat: The state will outlaw smoking of the plant, which changes the nature of business opportunities in the state vs. more traditional MMJ markets. The measure, which Gov. Mark Dayton said he would sign, allows patients to consume marijuana in oil, pill or vapor form. Infused products – which make up anywhere from 20% to 50% of sales at dispensaries in other states – will therefore dominate the market. The list of qualifying medical conditions is extremely limited and doesn’t include the catch-all ailment of chronic pain, so patient numbers will likely be small. Annual medical marijuana sales could come in between $10 million and $20 million initially, according to Marijuana Business Daily’s early estimates. The measure also allows for the creation of eight dispensaries statewide, which will be supplied by two manufacturing facilities. Lawmakers have not established a timeline for licensing these businesses. Under the program, patients will qualify if a doctor, a physician’s assistant or advanced-practice nurse prescribes medical marijuana. All employees at medical marijuana businesses will be required to undergo a background check. Patients who are found to be using cannabis for non-medical purposes will be removed from the program. The bill is a compromise between a more lenient Senate bill, which approved up to 55 dispensaries, and a more restrictive House bill that would have made the plant available...
The movement to reform our failed cannabis policies has grown tremendously in recent years and months. It's not slowing down anytime soon. Cannabis reform is a mainstream issue, and frankly, there's no denying it. A majority in the county support legalizing cannabis, and 81% support its legalization for medical purposes. On top of this, a majority of states in our country (27 in total) have either decriminalized cannabis possession (14), or legalized it for medical and/or recreational purposes (18). The remaining states are hard at work towards reform, and advocates in the states mentioned above are vehemently trying to improve their situation. For those who have been on the line about getting involved in helping bring cannabis law change, now is absolutely the time to jump in. Below is a breakdown of efforts going on around the country: Alabama: In Alabama, the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition has announced that they're working on 5 cannabis-related bills; everything from simple (though substantial) patient protections, to full legalization. The first of these five to be filed, House Bill 315, has been assigned to the House Committee on Health. The bill would provide prosecution protection for patients who possess and cultivate cannabis, as long as they get a recommendation from a doctor, and then a license from the state's Department of Health (which will determine the possession limits). Arizona: In Arizona, Republican representatives are attempting to repeal the state's medical cannabis laws, by putting it, once again, to a vote of the people. Arizona...