As of June 1, 2015, Minnesota residents can begin the application process to become certified marijuana purchasers and, in less than a month (July 1, 2015), they can receive final certification to legally buy and take cannabis – but only in pill, oil, and liquid form. Minnesota is the first state in the nation to legalize only smoke-free marijuana, but has become one of 24 states that have legalized the substance.
In order to qualify, a person must:
- Be a legal resident of Minnesota
- Have a qualifying condition –
- Cancer (associated with select symptoms)
- Tourette Syndrome
- Lou Gehrig’s Diseases/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Terminal illness (life expectancy of 12 months or less)
- Epilepsy and other seizure inducing diseases
- Multiple Sclerosis and other chronic pain/muscle spasm conditions
Legal logistics are still a bit grey. Unless granted a valid search warrant, state and federal officials will not know who is on the patient registry, and the only people who can approve patient certification are physicians or health care practitioners. The federal government still does not recognize any form of marijuana as legal, but there is no indication of federal officials interfering with state-regulate pot businesses at this time. That being said, eight distribution centers will open in Minnesota to dispense the pills, oils, and liquid, and they are the only locations where marijuana can legally be sold. Hospitals and pharmacies will no longer be able to distribute cannabis. Instead, the certified patients will have to go to one of the designated distributors.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released this simple, yet informative infographic regarding the new policies regarding medicinal marijuana in Minnesota.