Yes, it is legal to cultivate cannabis in Olmsted County, but only limited to medical cannabis as stipulated by the Minnesota Statutes §§152.22-152.37 that was passed in 2014.
The governing authority for medical cannabis in the state is the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). It manages the Medical Cannabis Program, Office of Medical Cannabis, and Task Force on Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research.
To cultivate medical cannabis commercially, a company must seek a medical cannabis manufacturer license to be approved by the MDH commissioner. Once licensed, the cultivation facility must always be ready for inspections without warning by the MDH.
A company is allowed to own and operate only one medical cannabis cultivation facility. All cultivation must be done indoors with strict security measures. Minnesota Statutes §§152.29 mandates that a licensed medical cannabis cultivation facility is not allowed within 1,000 feet of a private or public school’s boundaries.
The Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1300 require licensed medical cannabis cultivation facilities to put up a clear and legible sign on every entrance that warns that people younger than 21 years old are not allowed to enter. The sign must also warn the public that the whole premises are under continuous video surveillance.
Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1700 mandates that the cultivation facility must be divided into areas according to function. All areas in the facility where medical cannabis is cultivated and harvested must have restricted access. Even employee access to these areas must be authorized and strictly monitored. These areas must be monitored at all hours by security cameras with footage being recorded. Biosecurity measures must be implemented.
It is obligatory for the medical cannabis cultivation license holder to establish inventory controls for all the plants within the facility. This includes keeping daily logs on every batch of plants. Each plant must be tagged with a unique batch number from the time of planting. When a plant is used to manufacture a medical cannabis product, its batch number will be included in the label for tracing purposes. Whenever a plant is taken out of a batch, this must be logged. All logs must be maintained in the facility for not less than five years.
An open aisle must be created by the licensed cultivator to be able to easily access every plant in the cultivation and harvesting area for daily inspection and inventory. It is the responsibility of the licensed cultivator to ensure that the cannabis plants are protected from rot, mold, mildew, fungi, bacterial infections, pests, chemical pesticides, and other toxins. All necessary measures must be used for protection, such as putting up screens.
It is also the responsibility of the licensed grower to implement systems and policies to decrease the probability of cultivated medical cannabis being contaminated by harmful substances. Licensed growers may use only pesticides with the least risk and with the approval of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Furthermore, the following must be ensured by the licensed cultivator:
Any pesticide used must be approved for use on medical cannabis and on all plants meant for human ingestion.
The pesticide label must not contain any prohibition on the use of the product on medical cannabis and on all plants meant for human ingestion.
The pesticide label must not contain any prohibition on the use of the product in enclosed spaces.
The pesticide label must contain instructions on its application on plants meant for human ingestion.
The cultivator must follow strictly all the precautions and instructions that are on the pesticide product's label.
According to the Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1900 up to 4770.2400, an independent laboratory approved by the MDH commissioner must test samples from all cannabis batches. If the test shows that the medical cannabis crop had been contaminated by an unauthorized chemical substance, the entire batch must be scrapped as medical cannabis waste. Such waste must be handled in the required manner.
The licensed medical cannabis cultivator is required to log all inputs on each batch of medical cannabis plants. The log must be retained for a minimum of five years at the cultivation facility. The record must contain the following information:
The agricultural product used and its chemical makeup
A copy of the label on the agricultural product used
The manufacturer of the agricultural product used
The supplier of the agricultural product used
The quantity of the agricultural product used
The potency of the agricultural product used
The medical cannabis batch number of the crop
The date of application of the agricultural product on the medical cannabis batch
The identity of the employee who applied the agricultural product on the medical cannabis batch
All agricultural products stored at the licensed cultivation facility to be used for medical cannabis plants must be kept in their original containers with their labels intact. If the agricultural product has undergone preparatory processing or dilution, it must be relabeled accordingly in a new container. All laws, regulations, and label instructions related to the storage and disposal of the particular agricultural product must be strictly followed by the licensed cultivator.
Yes, it is legal to manufacture cannabis in Olmsted County, but only medical cannabis products according to the Minnesota Statutes §§152.22-152.37. Furthermore, Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.0400 stipulates that any medical cannabis products that are manufactured must not cross state lines.
To manufacture medical cannabis commercially, a company must seek a medical cannabis manufacturer license to be approved by the MDH commissioner. The license includes the authorization to also cultivate and harvest the cannabis to be manufactured into medical cannabis products.
A company is only permitted to own and operate one medical cannabis manufacturing and packaging facility. Cultivation, harvesting, and manufacturing must all be done in the same location, fully indoors, and with tight security. The licensed medical cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility must be more than 1,000 feet away from the boundary of any public or private school.
In compliance with Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1300, signs must be posted prominently on all entry points warning that persons below 21 years old are not allowed entry. The signs must also warn the public that there is continuous CCTV surveillance over the entire site.
Without consent from the MDH commissioner, Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.1700 forbids licensed medical cannabis manufacturers from employing hydrocarbon-based cannabis extraction procedures. As of January 2023, the commissioner has not given approval for it nor the use of hexane, ethanol, butane, and alcohol.
The approval of the MDH commissioner is also required before licensed medical cannabis manufacturers can deliver their manufactured medical cannabis products to licensed dispensaries. A specification list must be submitted to the commissioner for every product completed. A record of all the products of each licensed manufacturer will be kept and updated by the commissioner.
The licensed medical cannabis manufacturer must guarantee that all medical cannabis products of the same kind contain a uniform content of cannabinoid concentration. For example, the raw dried cannabis allowed in every medical cannabis pre-roll is only one gram.
To analyze every product’s components, check for impurities, and test shelf life, each licensed medical cannabis producer is required to implement a quality assurance program. Samples from each batch of products must be retained by the licensed manufacturer for a minimum of a year beyond the date of expiry. This will be used for any subsequent tests that may be needed.
General guidelines on hygiene must be observed in the handling, processing, and storage of all medical cannabis products. To prevent any type of microbiological, physical, or chemical contamination, the licensed medical cannabis manufacturer must ensure the maintenance of optimum conditions in the facility, including proper temperature. All kinds of infestations by pests, such as insects, mice, birds, and others, must be prevented in storage areas.
Theft and loss must be prevented by licensed medical cannabis manufacturers through secure stowing while the medical cannabis is undergoing production, transportation, or testing. If medical cannabis is returned because of contamination, incorrect labeling, deterioration, defectiveness, expiration, or packaging problems, it must be kept separately in a locked room before incineration.
Minnesota Statutes 152.29 requires that the United States Poison Prevention Packing Act must be complied with by every licensed manufacturer when packing medical cannabis. Each container must be tamper-proof, child-safe, and also easy to use by older patients. It must be plain and unattractive to children. The design must support a long shelf life for the product. Any medical cannabis product brand name must get approval first from the MDH commissioner.
Medical cannabis packages must be correctly labeled and contain the following:
The licensed medicinal cannabis manufacturer’s name and address
The batch number of the medical cannabis contained
The medical cannabis product’s chemical composition
The medical cannabis product’s list of ingredients
The medical cannabis product’s date of manufacture
The medical cannabis product’s recommended dosage
The medical cannabis product’s usage instructions
The exact phrasing required by the State of Minnesota for the warnings to be placed on medical cannabis labels must be strictly followed by licensed medical cannabis manufacturers. These are warnings about the following:
Medical cannabis must not be accessed by children.
Medical cannabis must not be accessed by individuals who are not eligible to carry or use them.
There are potential health risks in using medical cannabis.
It is dangerous to drive or operate machinery under the influence of medical cannabis.
Yes, the retail sale of cannabis is legal in Olmsted County, but this is restricted to medical cannabis and medical cannabis products according to the Minnesota Statutes §§152.22-152.37. To sell medical cannabis by retail, a company must apply for a medical cannabis manufacturer license for approval by the MDH commissioner. This will carry the authority to cultivate, manufacture, and dispense medical cannabis to Medical Cannabis Registry patients or their registered caregivers, parents, or legal guardians.
A company is permitted to own and operate up to eight medical cannabis dispensaries in addition to its medical cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility. Each licensed dispensary must be more than 1,000 feet from the property limits of any private or public school. All entrances must carry highly visible signs warning of 24-hour security camera surveillance over the entire premises and prohibiting entry to individuals below 21 years old. The same security and sanitation requirements followed by licensed cultivation and manufacturing facilities must also be complied with by licensed dispensaries.
A licensed pharmacist must be employed for each licensed medical cannabis dispensary. The licensed pharmacist must supervise and approve each medical cannabis sale. Whenever necessary, the licensed pharmacist must provide patient consultation regarding the patient’s prescription.
Before selling to a registered patient or the patient’s registered caregiver, parent, or legal guardian, the licensed pharmacist must ask for a valid government photo ID and verify this against the online registry. The patient or registered representative’s identity and the patient’s prescription must be confirmed. According to each patient’s prescription, a maximum of a 90-day supply of medical cannabis may be sold by the licensed dispensary every 90 days.
The licensed medical cannabis dispensary is authorized to sell the medical cannabis it has cultivated and the medical cannabis products it has manufactured. It can also sell medical cannabis and medical cannabis products from other licensed manufacturers.
The medical cannabis products that licensed dispensaries are permitted to sell by retail include vapor oils, liquids, pills, sublingual tablets, lozenges, buccal tablets, granules, powders, sprinkles, gum, mints, and topical preparations. In 2021, gummies, chews, and dried raw cannabis meant to be smoked were added to the approved list for retail sale. Medical cannabis for smoking, however, can only be sold to patients aged 21 and older or their caregivers.
On every medical cannabis item sold by a licensed dispensary, the following information must be added to the label:
The name of the patient, date of birth, residence, and registry identification number
The name of the registered caregiver and date of birth, if this applies
The name of the registered legal guardian and date of birth, if this applies
The name of the registered parent and date of birth, if this applies
Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.0400 prohibits anyone from using or consuming medical cannabis in licensed dispensaries.
No, the delivery of even medical cannabis is illegal in Olmsted County in compliance with the Minnesota Statutes §§152.22-152.37, even to patients in the Medical Cannabis Registry. Minnesota Administrative Rules 4770.0400 stipulates that the only legal way of dispensing medical cannabis to registered patients and caregivers is within a licensed dispensary facility.
Curbside pickup at a licensed dispensary by a registered patient or the patient’s registered caregiver, parent, or legal guardian of medical cannabis purchased is allowed only if all of the following are met:
The licensed dispensary must have a designated area closest to its front entrance where the vehicle carrying the registered patient or the patient’s registered representative is waiting.
The licensed dispensary is required to validate the identity of the registered patient or the patient’s registered representative through a current government photo ID that will be checked against the online Medical Cannabis Registry.
Any necessary consultation between the patient and the licensed pharmacist of the licensed dispensary must be completed before the purchase.
The licensed dispensary’s security cameras must fully view and record the movement of the dispensary employee while taking the medical cannabis from the storage area, taking this to the waiting vehicle, and turning this over to the registered patient or the patient’s registered representative.
The licensed dispensary must be able to maintain the tightest security from start to finish of every transaction.
The licensed dispensary’s employee must quickly bring the payment inside upon receiving it.
All information about each transaction must immediately be logged into the Medical Cannabis Registry.
The Medical Cannabis Registry of Minnesota does not issue medical marijuana cards. Instead, patients and their caregivers, parents, or legal guardians must register online and then present a valid government ID when purchasing medical marijuana.
A state-licensed health practitioner must first examine the patient to diagnose the presence of at least one of the qualifying health conditions, as follows:
Chronic motor or vocal tic disorder
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Autism spectrum disorder (must meet DSM-5)
Obstructive sleep apnea
Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those that are common in multiple
Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Seizures, including those that are common in epilepsy
Sickle cell disease
Terminal illnesses with a life expectancy of less than a year
Effective August 1, 2023, also qualified are the following medical conditions:
irritable bowel syndrome
The health practitioner must send the certification with the patient’s identity to the Office of Medical Cannabis. The Office will send an email to the patient with a link to the online application. The patient must log in not more than 60 days after getting the health practitioner's certification because it is valid only for 90 days and the processing of the application takes approximately 30 days. There is an online registration guide that patients can use. If the patient is a minor or an adult who needs assistance, a caregiver, parent, or legal guardian must be registered, as well.
The cost of the application and every annual is $200. This is lowered to $50 for beneficiaries of the following programs:
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The Office of Medical Cannabis will send another email once the application is approved. This is to instruct the patient on completing the Patient Self-Evaluation which is necessary before the first visit to a licensed medical cannabis dispensary.
For queries, the following can be contacted:
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
General sales tax does not apply to medical cannabis, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Hence, there are no sales tax revenues earned by the state or Olmsted County from the legalization of medical cannabis no matter how the sales have increased through the years.
According to the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Dashboard, the number of patients in the Medical Cannabis Registry increased from 837 in 2015 to 39,577 on December 31, 2022. Of these, 1,396 patients live in Olmsted County. Visits to licensed medical cannabis dispensaries more than doubled from 20,694 in July 2021 to 42,869 in December 2022.
The legalization of recreational adult-use cannabis was proposed in 2021 by House Bill No. 600. An analysis from the Minnesota Department of Revenue shows that if it had passed, significant sales tax revenues would have been earned by the state. The Bill proposed a 10% gross receipts tax on recreational marijuana as well as coverage of the 6.875% general sales tax of the state plus the usual business taxes on companies. The projection was that the state would have earned tax revenues of $14,500 in the fiscal year (FY) 2023, $66,000 in FY 2024, and $98,900 in FY 2025.
Actual medical cannabis sales in Minnesota began in July 2015 even though medical cannabis was legalized in 2014.
According to data from the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer page, in 2014, there were 77 arrests for marijuana offenses, of which 45 were for marijuana possession, and 32 were for marijuana sales. This decreased to 30 arrests for marijuana offenses in 2021, of which 25 were for marijuana possession, and 5 were for marijuana sales
There were 112 DUI arrests in 2014. This decreased to 68 DUI arrests in 2021.