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MN Department of Health releases early rules, application for pot producers

The Minnesota Department of Health on Friday released rules governing future medical cannabis manufacturers, stressing that the 40-page document is only a first draft. State officials acknowledge that the rules are pretty vague, but also ask for public feedback.

The security requirements are no joke. Manufacturers will be prohibited from employing anyone with a felony criminal record and must visually record the entrances of their facilities 24-hours a day -- even in the event of a power outage. The vehicles transporting cannabis are not allowed to make stops away from facilities and fueling stations. Their routes must be random.

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In turn, the commissioner of health will be tasked with inspection and notifying law enforcement officials of any suspicious activity in labs. Health care practitioners won't be allowed to sit on the manufacturer's board, or hold any other economic interest in the company.

You can also view on the health department's the 29-page application for potential manufacturers and get a better sense for why some Minnesotans are seeking outside help for putting this thing together.

For instance, wannabe pot producers must provide a business plan with the location for proposed facilities and floor plans, drawn to scale. They must provide protocol for a potential "fungal or pest outbreak." They must keep cultivation 1,000 feet away from a school and provide a full set of classifiable fingerprints prior to starting work.

And so on. There's a lot of information requested in this application -- down to the tools that will be provided to staff -- and even a space in the evaluation criteria for "bonus points." Gold stars will be allotted to folks who go above and beyond the application and provide plans for such things as reducing one's ecological footprint and working with substance abuse programs.

If you're interested (and have a spare $20,000), file a notice of intent by Sept. 19 and be sure to turn in the application by October 3. After presentations and site inspections, the state is supposed to name two finalists on November 17.

Going ahead, the state's 23-member medical cannabis task force will be tasked with evaluating the program. It met for the first time on Thursday, mostly a get-to-know-ya session and Q&A that centered around clarifying doctor-patient relationships and data privacy.

-- Send story tips to the author or follow him on Twitter @marxjesse




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