Cannabis cultivation is legal in Dakota County and the rest of the state of Minnesota pursuant to Minnesota Statutes §§152.22-152.37 which was signed into law in May 2014. It stipulates that cannabis can be cultivated only for medical use and only by a medical cannabis manufacturer registered with the commissioner of health of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
The MDH runs the state’s Medical Cannabis Program, Office of Medical Cannabis, and Task Force on Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research, and regulates all medical cannabis activities. In addition to selecting medical cannabis manufacturers to be registered, the MDH commissioner also has the right to conduct an unannounced inspection of a medical cannabis cultivation facility.
A registered medical cannabis manufacturer is allowed to have only one facility to cultivate and harvest medical marijuana. Minnesota Statutes §§152.29 requires that a cultivation facility must be enclosed and locked. It must be more than 1,000 feet from the closest property lines of any existing private or public school. Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1300 mandates that a cultivation facility post signages conspicuously at each entrance barring people below age 21 from restricted areas and declaring the premises to be constantly under video surveillance.
According to Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1700, all stages of cultivation must be carried out in locations with restricted access and observed by a security camera network. Biosecurity protocols must be implemented and recorded. All spaces must be divided into functional sections and employee movement should be limited between compartments.
A cultivator must practice inventory controls and maintain daily logs of the number of cannabis plants at the cultivation facility. All plants must be monitored in batches from the moment of planting. Each batch must have a particular batch number that must stay with it until it is packaged. The label of every medical cannabis item must include its batch number. Any plants removed from the batch must be documented by the cultivator and the record kept at the producing facility for not less than five years.
An open aisle is required in every production area to provide for unhindered accessibility, inspection, and inventory of every plant group. Fungi, mold, bacterial infections, pests, rot, mildew, inorganic insecticides, and other contaminants must be controlled during the cultivation process. A cultivator must provide screens or other means of protection against pests.
A cultivator must also use strategies and procedures that reduce the possibility of any chemical taint or impurity when growing plants intended to be used as dried raw cannabis. Only pesticides that have been approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and are considered to pose the least danger may be used. The following criteria must also be met:
The pesticide is approved for use on either cannabis intended for human consumption or medical purposes;
The use of the insecticide on cannabis plants is not prohibited by the pesticide's label;
The use of the pesticide inside an enclosure is not prohibited by the pesticide label;
There are explicit instructions on the pesticide label to be applied to unnamed crops meant for human consumption; and
All appropriate directions, limitations, and requirements are followed when using the pesticide product, as specified on the label.
A batch must be disposed of as medical cannabis waste if a sample analysis reveals the presence of an unapproved crop input. Testing shall be carried out by an autonomous laboratory approved by the MDH commissioner based on Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1900 to 4770.2400.
All crop inputs must be documented by the cultivator, with the log to be kept for a minimum of five years at the facility. The following must be on the record:
the application date;
the person who applied the crop input, by name;
the name and details of the agricultural input used, including, where appropriate, the product name, chemical name, and manufacturer;
the area that got the application, by batch number and in square feet;
the quantity or strength of crop input that was used, or both;
a copy of the crop input applied label; and
the crop input's supplier or other source.
A cultivator is required to keep all stocks of agricultural input in their original packaging with the labels still attached. Any containers of prepared or diluted fertilizer must always be labeled with appropriate information. A cultivator is also responsible for complying with all laws and regulations and label instructions in storing and disposing of crop inputs, rinses, and packaging.
Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Dakota County and all other counties in the state of Minnesota under Minnesota Statutes §§152.22-152.37. It states that cannabis products can only be manufactured for medical use. A medical cannabis manufacturer must first register with the MDH. Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.0400, however, does not allow a registered manufacturer to produce medical cannabis to be used outside the state.
A registered medical cannabis manufacturer is only permitted one facility for manufacturing and packaging medical marijuana. This must be in the same facility where cannabis is cultivated and harvested, and must, therefore, also be enclosed and locked.
The medical cannabis manufacturing facility must likewise be located over 1,000 feet away from the nearest property lines of any private or public school already existing pursuant to Minnesota Statutes §§152.29. It must have prominent signs at every entrance denying entry to restricted areas for people below 21 years old, and announcing that the property is under continuous video surveillance, as required by Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1300.
According to Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1700, without the MDH commissioner's permission, a manufacturer of medical cannabis is not permitted to utilize an extraction technique based on hydrocarbons. Hexane, ethanol, butane, and alcohol use are examples of hydrocarbon-based extraction techniques. Currently, none of these have the commissioner’s approval.
The commissioner's approval is required before a manufacturer can deliver finished products to customers. Each manufacturer is required to provide the commissioner with the specifications of each finished product. The commissioner shall keep a list of registered finished products for each manufacturer, and update the list as needed.
A manufacturer must guarantee that the medicinal cannabis it produces has a uniform cannabinoid concentration. For instance, for every pre-roll, only a maximum of one gram of raw dried cannabis is allowed.
A quality assurance program is required from every manufacturer for assessing the active and inactive ingredients as well as contaminants in its medical cannabis products. They are also mandated to test the shelf life of each product. They must retain samples for a minimum of one year beyond the expiry date for possible retesting requirements.
General sanitary standards must be followed when handling, preparing, and storing medical marijuana. A manufacturer is responsible for keeping the right temperatures and circumstances to prevent physical, microbiological, and chemical contamination of the finished medicinal cannabis product or its packaging. Storage spaces must be protected from any form of pest infestation, including insects, rats, birds, and others.
A manufacturer must ensure the secure storage of medical cannabis throughout the production process, transportation, and testing to avoid burglary, losses, or displacement. A separate, highly secured space must be provided for any returned medical cannabis that is out-of-date, defective, degraded, incorrectly labeled, tainted, or whose receptacles have been compromised. While awaiting destruction, these materials should be kept in a locked room, closet, or container.
Minnesota Statutes §§152.29 states that a manufacturer must comply with the United States Poison Prevention Packing Act in packaging medical cannabis. The package must be plain, child-resistant, tamper-proof, manageable for patients who are elderly, and designed for maximum shelf life of its contents. It must not be attractive to children and must not resemble other commercial products.
Medical cannabis brand names are subject to MDH approval. The labels must contain the following:
the medical cannabis batch number;
the manufacturing date;
the medical cannabis manufacturer’s name and address;
the chemical composition of the product and other ingredients;
the recommended dosage; and
directions for usage.
The state of Minnesota prescribes specific wordings on label warnings on keeping the products out of children’s reach, not driving or operating machinery upon taking the products, not diverting the products to unintended recipients, and possible health risks.
Cannabis retail is legal in Dakota County and throughout the state of Minnesota as covered by Minnesota Statutes §§152.22-152.37 which stipulates that only medical marijuana can be sold. Also, only a medical cannabis manufacturer registered with the MDH can sell medical cannabis products. The manufacturer can sell the medical cannabis products it has produced as well as medical cannabis products from other manufacturers.
Each registered manufacturer is allowed to have up to eight dispensaries. This can include, or be in addition to, the singular facility for cultivating, harvesting, manufacturing, and packaging medical cannabis.
Any of the medical cannabis dispensaries cannot be 1,000 feet or less from an existing school’s nearest property lines. Each one must also have bold signage by its entrances prohibiting people under the age of 21 from entering restricted sections and warning of constant video surveillance over the property. Dispensaries are subject to the same security and sanitation requirements as cultivation and manufacturing facilities.
A registered dispensary can only sell medical cannabis to a qualified patient or the patient’s caregiver, parent, spouse, or legal guardian verifiable in the Medical Cannabis Registry. A dispensary is required to check for a valid photographic ID. A registered medical cannabis manufacturer must employ licensed pharmacists to approve the dispensing of medical cannabis to each patient. Based on the dosage prescribed for each patient, a dispensary is permitted to dispense a supply for only up to 90 days.
The forms of medical cannabis that a registered dispensary is permitted to sell include vapor oils, liquids, pills, sublingual tablets, buccal tablets, powders, granules, sprinkles, lozenges, mints, gum, and topical formulations. The newest medical cannabis forms added to the permitted list in 2021 are chews, gummies, and dried raw cannabis for smoking. However, dried raw cannabis can only be dispensed for patients aged 21 and older or their designated caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse.
The medical cannabis manufacturer’s dispensary must add the following individualized information on the label of each dispensed product:
the patient’s name, date of birth, address, and registry identification number;
if applicable, the registered caregiver’s name and date of birth; and
if applicable, the name of the registered parent or legal guardian.
According to Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.0400, a registered dispensary must not permit patients to consume or use medical cannabis in its premises.
Cannabis delivery is not legal in Dakota County or elsewhere in Minnesota. Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.0400 stipulates that medical marijuana can only be sold by registered manufacturers within their dispensaries.
Dispensary employees are allowed to serve a qualified patient or the patient’s registered caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse while they are in a vehicle as long as the following rules are followed:
The vehicle must be in an assigned area that is as close as possible to the facility’s front door.
The dispensary employees must first confirm the identity of the qualified patient or the patient’s registered caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse.
The patient’s consultation with the dispensary’s pharmacist must first take place, if necessary, before the dispensary staff brings out the prescribed medical cannabis from its secure location inside the facility.
The dispensing of medical cannabis and its payment must be recorded by the facility’s video surveillance camera and all security measures are observed.
The dispensary staff must immediately bring the payment inside the facility.
After the medical cannabis is dispensed, the dispensary staff must immediately log all the required information in the information technology database of the Medical Cannabis Registry.
To register in Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Registry Program, a patient must acquire a certification from a state-licensed health practitioner on having at least one of the health conditions qualified for medical cannabis treatment. These are:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Autism spectrum disorder (must meet DSM-5)
Chronic motor or vocal tic disorder
Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
Obstructive sleep apnea
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis (MS)
Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
Sickle cell disease
Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year
Once the Office of Medical Cannabis gets the health practitioner’s certification, it will send the patient an email containing the link to the online application. The patient must apply within 60 days since the certification expires after 90 days and processing takes about 30 days. During the enrollment process, the patient can add a caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse, if needed. Patients can use the registration guide as reference.
There is an annual $200 application fee that can be reduced to $50 for patients under MinnesotaCare or those receiving Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or railroad disability or veterans disability payments. Payment confirmation will be sent by email.
Upon approval, the patient and any added caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse will receive emailed instructions from the Office of Medical Cannabis on how to complete the Patient Self-Evaluation prior to visiting a medical cannabis dispensary. No physical identification card is issued. The patient or the caregiver, legal guardian, parent, or spouse must present a valid photographic ID at the dispensary instead. The dispensary staff will use that to check against the online registry.
Patients can seek further information from:
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
According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, the state’s general sales tax is not imposed on medical cannabis. If the 2021 House Bill No. 600 had passed in the Senate, the legalization of recreational marijuana would have generated high sales tax revenue for the state, though.
An analysis from the Minnesota Department of Revenue of House Bill No. 600 shows that it would have imposed a 10% gross receipts tax on all recreational cannabis in addition to the 6.875% state general sales tax and all other taxes. Tax revenues from recreational cannabis would have earned the state $14,500 in fiscal year 2023, $66,000 in fiscal year 2024, and $98,900 in fiscal year 2025.
The Minnesota Medical Cannabis Dashboard Data shows that the number of active patients in the Medical Marijuana Registry increased significantly from 837 in 2015 to 37,112 by June 30, 2022. Of these, 2,922 were residents of Dakota County.
Although Minnesota Statutes §§152.22-152.37 was signed into law in May 2014, it was only in July 2015 that medical cannabis became accessible to patients.
The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office data on the FBI crime report shows that there were 19,056 arrests for drug abuse violations in 2013. Arrests for drug possession made up 11,727 of those, including 6,745 arrests for marijuana possession. There were 7,295 arrests for drug manufacturing or sales.
Drug abuse violation arrests decreased to 13,689 in 2021. However, among those, arrests for drug possession in general increased to 13,063. Specific arrests for marijuana possession decreased to 4,036, though. Arrests for drug manufacturing or sales decreased even more to 626.
DUI arrests also decreased from 21,226 in 2013 to 19,198 in 2021.