Medical marijuana now legal in Minnesota — but you still can't smoke it
Minnesota on Wednesday became the 23rd state (along with the District of Columbia) to legalize medical marijuana.
Just after the stroke of midnight, three families picked up the first legal doses of cannabis from Minnesota Medical Solutions in Minneapolis.
According to the most recent numbers, 90 patients have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program. Another 87 patients have been cleared for the program and are in the process of completing their registration.
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 liquid, pill or vaporized form.
The non-smokable cannabis is only available to Minnesota residents whose health care provider certifies them to be suffering from nine qualifying conditions including cancer, glaucoma and HIV/AIDS.
More than 220 health care practitioners have registered with the state. Locally, both the Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center will allow each doctor to decide whether they want to prescribe their patients marijuana, according to a report earlier this month by the Post-Bulletin.
MinnMed, which is growing the cannabis in Otsego, plans to open a distribution facility in Rochester later this month. There will be little, if any, similarities to the dispensaries 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.