Minnesota state officials don’t know squat about pot. But in time, they will.
The rules governing Minnesota’s medical cannabis program, which went out last week, are only a first draft based on conversations with other states and a review of relevant literature. They are an impressive one at that, but a best guess of what it takes to get off the ground in a crazy quick period of time.
By December, the health department must be able to judge the merits of a cannabis growing operation and award certificates to two “manufacturers.” For help, those same officials are urging applicants to be honest and to create guidelines for things like security and chemical composition.
On Friday, Manny Munson-Regala, an assistant health department commissioner and a lawyer by training, told an auditorium of potential growers, “We need your guys’ input.”
Although there’s nothing in the law prohibiting the state from partnering with growers, it’s obvious that the state wants to put healthy distance between itself and the program. If Uncle Sam ever intervenes, Minnesota can say it’s only doing its duty as a regulator. Everyone else is completely exposed and left with an intimidating number of what ifs.
The cost of getting set up as a grower is enormous — about $10 million, according to Eric Reichwald, a local political consultant who now works for the Colorado-based Tears of Luv, which is hoping to get into the laboratory side of the equation. The state requires that each manufacturer contract with a third party to test samples and assure that what’s going out to the public is consistent and safe. That by itself is a $1 million operation.
Read more over at the Minneapolis City Pages.