Medical marijuana distribution facility to open in NE Rochester
(THE MED CITY BEAT) - Minnesota Medical Solutions, one of two companies chosen by the state to cultivate marijuana under the state's new medical cannabis program, plans to open a dispensary in northeast Rochester.
Plans for a Rochester distribution facility were first announced in early December.
MinnMed, with a manufacturing facility in Otsego, will also operate distribution centers in Maple Grove, Minneapolis and Moorhead. It plans to have all four locations up and running by July, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
It's unclear how many people will use the facility in Rochester. About 1,300 Minnesotans responded to a recent survey designed to gauge interest in the state's news medical cannabis program.
About 70 percent of respondents said that they were likely to register for the program, while 24 percent said that they might apply. Nearly 10 percent of the respondents were under 18.
The state eventually expects about 5,000 people to participate in the program.
The state's new medical marijuana law is the strictest of its kind in the U.S. It prohibits smoking of the drug and requires the plant be manufactured in pill or oil form.
Medical cannabis will only be available to Minnesota residents whose health care provider certifies them to be suffering from conditions including cancer, glaucoma and HIV/AIDS.
There will be little, if any, similarities to the medical pot shops set up in states like Colorado or California. As part of the law, the Minnesota facilities will operate more like health clinics than retail centers.
A total of 23 states, the District of Columbia and Guam now allow the use of medical cannabis, according to the pro-legalization group NORML. Four states and D.C. have or are in the process of fully legalizing the drug for recreational use.