It is legal to cultivate cannabis in Anoka County and the whole of Minnesota as mandated by Minnesota Statutes §§152.22-152.37 since it was passed in May 2014. By law, however, cannabis can only be cultivated for medical purposes.
To legally cultivate medical cannabis, an entity must register as a medical cannabis manufacturer under the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) with the approval of the commissioner of health. After choosing medical cannabis manufacturers for inclusion in the registry, the MDH also has the authority to do surprise inspections of any of the registered medical cannabis cultivation facilities.
The Office of Medical Cannabis, Medical Cannabis Program, and Task Force on Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research are all run by the MDH as the regulatory body for all activities related to medical cannabis.
Every licensed medical marijuana manufacturer can only own and operate one medical marijuana cultivation and harvesting facility. According to Minnesota Statutes §§152.29, cultivation and harvesting facilities must be indoors and securely under lock. They must be located 1,000 feet or more from the nearest property boundaries of a public or private school that already exists.
Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1300 requires all medical cannabis cultivation facilities to put up highly visible signs at every entrance stating that anyone younger than 21 years old is banned from entry. The signs must also warn the public that the entire property is under continuous video surveillance.
Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1700 mandates that all phases of growing and harvesting medical cannabis must take place in areas with limited access under the watchful eyes of a network of surveillance cameras. It is required to implement and document biosecurity protocols. Employee movement must be restricted among units, and all areas must be separated into functional divisions.
The licensed medical cannabis cultivator must implement controls over the inventory and maintain records daily on the number of medical cannabis plants currently in the facility. Upon planting, each batch of plants must be monitored, with every batch assigned a unique batch number. This batch number shall identify the plants until they are packaged because every medical cannabis item must be labeled with this identification. If any plant is removed from a batch, the licensed cultivator is required to document it. All records must be maintained at the facility for at least five years.
Within each cultivation and harvesting area, the cultivator is required to provide an open aisle that enables easy access to every plant for inventory and inspection purposes. The cultivator is responsible for preventing the contamination of medical cannabis plants by rot, pests, fungi, bacterial infections, mold, mildew, inorganic insecticides, or other contaminants. Protection must be provided by using screens and other means.
The cultivator is also responsible for implementing procedures and strategies that minimize any possibility of the growing medical cannabis being tainted by chemicals and other impurities. Licensed cultivators are only allowed to apply pesticides with the lowest risk, if any, and have United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) approval.
Furthermore, the licensed cultivator must ensure the following:
The pesticide product has been approved to be used for medical cannabis and plants meant for human consumption
The pesticide product’s label does not explicitly prohibit its use on medical cannabis and plants meant for human consumption
The pesticide product’s label does not explicitly prohibit its use in enclosed spaces.
The pesticide product’s label includes directions on its application to plants intended for human consumption.
There must be strict compliance with all instructions and warnings on the pesticide product’s label.
Whenever an analysis of any batch sample shows that an unapproved input has been applied to the crop, the entire batch shall quickly be discarded as medical cannabis waste and dealt with accordingly. According to Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1900 to 4770.2400, testing of batch samples must be done by an independent laboratory with the approval of the MDH commissioner.
The licensed medical cannabis cultivator must log all inputs on the crop, and the document must be maintained at the cultivation facility for not less than five years. The log must contain the following information:
The name of the agricultural product used, its chemical ingredients, its manufacturer, and other relevant details
A copy of the label of the agricultural product used
The name of the supplier or source of the agricultural product used
The amount and strength of the agricultural product used
The number of the medical cannabis batch on which the agricultural product was used
The area in square feet on which the agricultural product was used
The date of application of the agricultural product
The identity of the person who applied the agricultural product to the medical cannabis crop
All agricultural product stocks intended for use on the medical cannabis crop must be kept in the facility in their original containers, including all attached labels. If an agricultural product has been prepared or diluted before use, its new container must be labeled correctly. The licensed cultivator must comply strictly with all label instructions, regulations, and laws regarding the storage and disposal of agricultural products.
It is legal to manufacture cannabis in Anoka County and all counties of Minnesota according to Minnesota Statutes §§152.22-152.37. However, cannabis products can only be manufactured for medical purposes. Also, Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.0400 does not permit the production of medical cannabis products for use beyond state lines.
To legally manufacture medical cannabis products, an entity must register with the MDH as a medical cannabis manufacturer. Once registered, a medical cannabis manufacturer is granted the authority to own and operate only one facility for the production and packaging of medical cannabis products. This is required to be in the same location where the medical cannabis crop is grown and harvested. Like all aspects of medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing must also be completely done indoors in a facility that can be securely locked.
A medical cannabis manufacturing facility must comply with the requirement of Minnesota Statutes §§152.29 for it to be 1,000 feet or more from the nearest property border of a public or private school that already exists. It must also comply with the requirement of Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1300 to hang prominent signage at every entrance banning entry for anyone younger than 21 years old. The signage must also include a warning that the entire premises are under continuous video surveillance.
Licensed medical cannabis manufacturers are not allowed to use hydrocarbon-based cannabis extraction techniques without the permission of the MDH commissioner, as stipulated by Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1700. The commissioner has not given approval for any such techniques, which include the use of alcohol, butane, ethanol, and hexane.
Before delivering finished products to customers, licensed medical cannabis manufacturers are required to have them approved by the MDH commissioner. They must provide a list of specifications for each finished product. The MDH commissioner will keep a record of each licensed manufacturer’s finished products, to be updated accordingly.
Every licensed medical cannabis manufacturer is required to guarantee consistent cannabinoid concentration in each medical cannabis product it produces. For every medical cannabis pre-roll, for example, the maximum allowed content of raw dried cannabis is one gram.
Every licensed medical cannabis manufacturer is also required to implement a quality assurance program that will analyze the contents of all its products, check them for contaminants, and test them for shelf life. The manufacturer must keep samples of each product batch for at least one year after its expiration date. This is necessary for any retesting that may be required.
The handling, processing, and storage of all medical cannabis products must comply with general standards of sanitation. It is the responsibility of the licensed medical cannabis manufacturer to maintain the correct temperatures and conditions to avoid any type of physical, chemical, or microbiological contamination. Any type of pest infestation, including rodents, insects, birds, and others, must be prevented in storage areas.
To prevent theft, losses, or displacement, a licensed medical cannabis manufacturer must make sure that medical cannabis is stored securely throughout the production, transit, and testing processes. Any medical cannabis that has been returned and is outdated, flawed, degraded, wrongly labeled, contaminated, or whose containers have been compromised must be kept in a separate, extremely secure area. These items ought to be locked away in a closet or container until they are destroyed.
According to Minnesota Statutes 152.29, while packaging medical cannabis, a licensed manufacturer must adhere to the United States Poison Prevention Packing Act. The container must be unadorned, childproof, tamper-proof, practical for senior patients, and created to support the longest possible shelf life of its contents. It must not look like any other commercial product and must not appeal to youngsters.
Brand names of medical cannabis products must first be approved by the MDH. They must be properly labeled with the following information:
The licensed medical cannabis manufacturer’s name and location
The batch number of the medical cannabis used
The medical cannabis product’s chemical composition
The medical cannabis product’s list of ingredients
The date the product was manufactured
The medical cannabis product’s recommended dosage
The directions for the medical cannabis product’s use
The state of Minnesota mandates particular phrasing for medical cannabis label warnings on child safety, refraining from operating machinery or driving while using the products, not giving the items to people who are not supposed to receive them, and potential health risks. Licensed medical cannabis manufacturers must comply strictly with all of these.
It is legal to sell cannabis by retail in Anoka County and all counties of Minnesota according to Minnesota Statutes §§152.22-152.37. However, only medical cannabis products can be sold and only an entity registered as a medical cannabis manufacturer with the MDH can do so.
A registered medical cannabis manufacturer is granted the authority to own and operate a maximum of eight dispensaries. This can be in addition to the facility used for both cultivation and manufacturing. The registered medical cannabis manufacturer can sell by retail the medical cannabis products produced by other licensed manufacturers in the state in addition to its own products.
A licensed medical cannabis dispensary is not allowed to be located less than 1,000 feet from the nearest property lines of any existing school. All of its entrances must have high visibility signs warning the public that the property is under continuous video surveillance and forbidding entry for people younger than 21 years old. The same security and sanitation protocols required of licensed cultivation and manufacturing facilities also apply to licensed dispensaries.
Medical cannabis can only be sold by a licensed dispensary to a patient who is in the Medical Cannabis Registry and the patient’s registered caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse. A valid photographic ID is required for verification.
Licensed pharmacists must be employed by medical cannabis dispensaries to supervise and approve the dispensing of medical cannabis. When necessary, the licensed pharmacist must conduct a consultation with the patient regarding the patient’s prescription. A licensed dispensary is only allowed to dispense a 90-day supply at a time to each patient, depending on the prescription for that patient.
Medical cannabis allowed for retail sale by licensed dispensaries includes sublingual tablets, pills, buccal tablets, lozenges, liquids, vapor oils, granules, powders, sprinkles, gum, mints, and topical products. In 2021, additional forms of medical cannabis allowed were gummies, chews, and raw dried cannabis intended for smoking. Only patients aged 21 and older are permitted to purchase medical cannabis for smoking, though. Their registered caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse can also make the purchase for them.
On the label of every medical cannabis product dispensed, the licensed dispensary must add the following information:
The name, registry identification number, address, and birth date of the patient
The name and birth date of the patient’s registered caregiver, if relevant
The name of the patient’s registered legal guardian, if relevant
The name of the patient’s registered parent, if relevant
Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.0400 forbids licensed dispensaries from allowing the consumption or use of medical cannabis within their premises.
It is not legal to deliver even medical cannabis in Anoka County and the whole of Minnesota. According to Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.0400, the only legal means of dispensing medical cannabis is within the premises of licensed dispensaries.
Curbside pickups at licensed dispensaries are allowed for qualified patients and their registered caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse, provided the following conditions are met:
The qualified patient or the patient’s registered caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse is waiting in the vehicle that is in the designated area closest to the dispensary’s front entrance.
The identity of the qualified patient or the patient’s registered caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse is confirmed by the dispensary staff through a valid photographic ID that is verified against the online Medical Cannabis Registry.
If a consultation with the licensed pharmacist is necessary, this must take place before the prescribed medical cannabis is dispensed.
The staff of the licensed dispensary takes the prescribed medical cannabis from its storage within the facility to the waiting vehicle in full view of surveillance cameras.
The strictest security measures must be implemented.
Upon receipt of payment, the dispensary staff must take this immediately into the dispensary.
All information required regarding the purchase must promptly be logged into the Medical Cannabis Registry database.
In Anoka County and in all of Minnesota, residents can register in the Medical Cannabis Registry Program if they are afflicted with any of the health conditions that qualify for treatment with medical cannabis. They must first be examined by a state-licensed health practitioner to be certified to have one of the following medical conditions:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Chronic motor or vocal tic disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (must meet DSM-5)
Obstructive sleep apnea
Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those that are common in multiple sclerosis (MS)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Seizures, including those that are common in epilepsy
Sickle cell disease
Terminal illnesses with less than a year of life expectancy
The certification from the health practitioner should be sent to the Office of Medical Cannabis which will then send an email to the patient with a link to the application online. The health practitioner's certification will expire after 90 days while the processing of the application lasts approximately 30 days. The patient should therefore apply within 60 days of getting the health practitioner's certification. If the patient is a minor or an adult who needs assistance, the application must include a caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse. There is an online registration guide for patients.
The application and every annual renewal require a $200 fee each time, with payment confirmed via email. For the following patients, the fee is lowered to $50:
Patients under MinnesotaCare
Patients receiving Social Security disability insurance (SSDI)
Patients receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Patients receiving railroad disability
Patients receiving veteran’s disability payments
Once the application has been approved, the Office of Medical Cannabis will email instructions on completing the Patient Self-Evaluation. This is required before going to a licensed medical cannabis dispensary.
Minnesota does not issue a physical medical cannabis card. Instead, a valid photographic ID for identity verification must be presented by patients or their registered caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse at the dispensary. The dispensary staff will check these against the online registry.
For more information, patients can contact the following:
Minnesota Department of Health
P.O. Box 64975
St. Paul, MN 55164-0975
Office of Medical Cannabis
PO Box 64882
St Paul, MN 55164-0882
Minnesota does not impose a general sales tax on medical cannabis, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. In 2021, House Bill No. 600 attempted to legalize recreational marijuana, and if the Senate had passed it, high sales tax revenue would have been generated for the state to benefit all its counties, including Anoka County.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue’s analysis of House Bill No. 600 showed that in addition to the state general sales tax of 6.875% and other conventional business taxes, it would have set a gross receipts tax of 10% on recreational cannabis. By the fiscal year 2023, that would have meant state tax revenues from recreational cannabis amounting to $14,500. In addition, that would have increased by the fiscal year 2024 to $66,000, and by the fiscal year 2025 to $98,900.
According to the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Dashboard Data, the number of active Medical Marijuana Registry patients multiplied to 37,112 by June 30, 2022, from only 837 in 2015. Of the active patients in 2022, 2,126 reside in Anoka County.
Medical cannabis was first sold to patients in Minnesota in July 2015 even if Statutes §§152.22-152.37 was signed in May 2014. According to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office’s data on the FBI crime report, in 2014, there were 220 arrests for drug abuse violations, with 152 for drug possession and 69 for drug manufacturing or sales. Among the drug possession arrests, 78 were for marijuana. Among the drug manufacturing or sales arrests, 52 were for marijuana.
In 2021, arrests for drug abuse violations decreased to 125, all for drug possession. Of these, 85 were for marijuana. DUI arrests also decreased from 167 in 2014 to 155 in 2021.