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Hundreds of Minnesotans signal interest in state's medical cannabis program

Hundreds of Minnesotans signal interest in state's medical cannabis program

(THE MED CITY BEAT) - More than 1,300 Minnesotans responded to a voluntary online survey designed to gauge interest in the state's news medical cannabis program.

The survey asked potential patients several questions designed to provide program planners with more information such as patients' qualifying conditions, likelihood of participating in the program, and location in the state. 

Graphic: Minnesota Department of Health

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 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 most common qualifying conditions patients would use cannabis for include:

  • 51.5 percent: multiple sclerosis or severe muscle spasms
  • 17.6 percent: cancer
  • 17.5 percent epilepsy or seizures

Somewhere between 20 and 60 people from Olmsted County participated in the survey.

The department expects to begin providing medical cannabis products to patients by July 1. Rochester will be home to one of eight distribution centers in the state.

The state eventually expects about 5,000 people to participate in the program.

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Not for everyone

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 be available to Minnesota residents whose health care provider certifies them to be suffering from conditions including cancer, glaucoma and HIV/AIDS.

A total of 23 states, 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.

How much do the jobs pay?

The Minnesota's United Food and Commercial Workers chapter announced last week that it has organized workers at one of the state's two manufacturing facilities. 

According to the contract, the head cultivator will take home about $55 an hour; pharmacy, horticultural and laboratory technicians will earn $22/ hour; custodians will make $18/hour.


(Cover photo: Mark / Creative Commons)

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Chart: Breakdown of topics brought up during DMC public comment period

Chart: Breakdown of topics brought up during DMC public comment period