Rochester's medical cannabis dispensary on track to open in mid-July
(THE MED CITY BEAT) - Patients in Rochester will be able to start receiving medical cannabis in a little over two months.
On Tuesday, the company gave the media a first look at its grow operation in Otsego. WCCO-TV reports the company has a 10,000 sq. ft. greenhouse which contains 4,000 cannabis plants, some as tall as five feet.
The Otsego facility is staffed by doctors, pharmacists, chemists and horticulturalists. The AP reports an ex-Secret Service agent is in charge of securing the warehouse.
MinnMed is now in the process of extracting THC, the ingredient that makes people high, and CBD from the plant. Minnesota law requires that marijuana providers distribute the drug in pill or oil form.
MPR notes the THC will be used for patients with a decreased appetite, while the CBD will help treat children with seizures.
MinnMed will also operate distribution centers in Maple Grove, Minneapolis and Moorhead. A second provider, LeafLine Labs, has a manufacturing facility in Cottage Grove and dispensaries in Eagan, Hibbing, St. Cloud and St. Paul
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.
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, plus the District of Columbia and Guam, now allow the use of medical cannabis. Four states and D.C. have or are in the process of fully legalizing the drug for recreational use.