Minnesota has just begun to outline their regulations for the state medical marijuana program. Starting in Spring 2015, qualified patients can submit applications to be included on the medical marijuana registry. By July 2015, Minnesota patients may be able to acquire marijuana products from licensed distribution centers (dispensaries).
01. What medical conditions will qualify a patient for medical marijuana?
Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting; Glaucoma; HIV/AIDS; Tourette’s Syndrome; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy; Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; Crohn’s Disease; and Terminal illness, with a life expectancy of less than one year, if the illness or treatment produces severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting.
02. What documentation do I need from the recommending physician to provide with my application?
A certification of the patient's qualifying condition from a licensed doctor, physician assistant or advanced practice nurse dated within 90 days prior to submitting the application must be submitted with the application.
03. Who can write a medical marijuana certification for a patient?
A Minnesota licensed doctor of medicine, a Minnesota licensed physician assistant acting within the scope of authorized practice, or a Minnesota licensed advanced practice registered nurse who has the primary responsibility for the care and treatment of the qualifying medical condition of a person diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition.
04. How much will it cost to apply for a registry identification card?
Most registered patients will pay an annual fee of $200 to participate in the program, there is a reduced annual fee of $50 for some qualifying Minnesotans.
05. Can minors register in the program?
Yes and the minors parent or legal guardian may act as the caregiver to the patient without having to register as a designated caregiver.
06. What is the possession limit?
Smoking or the use of dried leaves or plant form is not allowed. The commissioner shall review and publicly report the range of recommended dosages for each qualifying condition. The commissioner shall make this information available to patients with qualifying medical conditions beginning December 1, 2014.
07. Is registration optional or mandatory?
There is a presumption that a patient enrolled in the registry program is engaged in the authorized use of medical cannabis. The patient application process will start at some point after February 1, 2015.
08. Does the state honor other states' registries?
09. Can I choose any dispensary or do I have to designate a specific one?
The proposed rules for the distribution of medical cannabis will be published prior to January 1, 2015.
10. Can a physician revoke a patient's written certification?
A patient's enrollment in the registry program may only be revoked if a patient violates a requirement under section 152.30 or 152.33.
11. How do I renew my card?
An annual fee is due on the anniversary date of the patient's enrollment. However, the rules regarding the registry program will not be proposed until early 2015.
12. What happens if I lose my card?
These rules have not been written.
13. How does the state law work with federal laws?
It is important to recognize that these state marijuana laws do not change the fact that using marijuana continues to be an offense under Federal law.
14. How can I become a designated caregiver?
The name, address and date of birth of the patient's designated caregiver must be included on the patient application. The caregiver shall be registered for a patient if the caregiver has agreed in writing, passes a criminal background check and meets the following conditions: (1) be at least 21 years of age; (2) agree to only possess any medical cannabis for purposes of assisting the patient; and (3) agree that if the application is approved, the person will not be a registered designated caregiver for more than one patient, unless the patients reside in the same residence.
15. If I am a designated caregiver, can I grow marijuana?
No. Neither patients or caregivers are allowed to grow marijuana, medical marijuana may be obtained from registered manufacturers.
16. Can I be both a qualifying patient and a designated caregiver?
Possibly, however a caregiver is a person who: (1) is at least 21 years old; (2) does not have a conviction for a disqualifying felony offense; (3) has been approved by the commissioner to assist a patient who has been identified by a health care practitioner as developmentally or physically disabled and therefore unable to self-administer medication or acquire medical cannabis from a distribution facility due to the disability; and (4) is authorized by the commissioner to assist the patient with the use of medical cannabis.
17. How do dispensaries, cooperatives and collectives work?
The state will register two manufacturers that will operate four distribution centers around the state for a total of eight distribution centers. Cooperatives and collectives are not allowed.
18. How many dispensaries are allowed?
There will be 8 total distribution facilities located based on geographical need.
19. Who can cultivate marijuana?
Only manufacturers registered by the state.
20. What rules apply to cultivation facilities?
The Minnesota Department of Health released a first draft of the rules on August 1, 2014. The rule is just a draft and not final so changes to the rules will be made before a final version is in place.
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