What rights does a medical marijuana business have under Minnesota’s medical marijuana law?
Minnesota’s medical marijuana law, newly codified at Minn. Stat. §§ 152.22 through 152.37, contains a framework of express and implied rights under which medical marijuana manufacturing businesses may operate. Rights include the following:
Right to Judicial Review
Minnesota law directs the Minnesota Commissioner of Health (Commissioner) to register two qualifying medical marijuana businesses as approved “medical cannabis manufacturers” by the end of this year, December 1, 2014. The statute provides, “The commissioner’s determination that no manufacturer exists to fulfill the duties [under law] is subject to judicial review in Ramsey County District Court.” Minn. Stat. § 152.25, subd. 1. Arguably, this subdivision creates a right to seek judicial review under these conditions, and a medical marijuana business seeking the Commissioner’s approval to operate in this state may elect to use this section to challenge an adverse decision from the Commissioner.
Right to Produce Lawful Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana manufactures may produce “medical cannabis.” Medical cannabis, for purposes of the statute, means:
Any species of the genus cannabis plant, or any mixture or preparation of them, including whole plant extracts and resins, and is delivered in the form of: (1) liquid, including, but not limited to, oil; (2) pill; (3) vaporized delivery method with use of liquid or oil but which does not require the use of dried leaves or plan form; or (4) any other method, excluding smoking, approved by the commissioner.
The law also compels duly registered medical cannabis manufacturers to “provide a reliable and ongoing supply” of the product, which necessarily requires that a manufacturer and its employees procure, grow, cultivate, and process marijuana plants for use as medical cannabis. A registered manufacturer has the right to operate one facility where all cultivation, harvesting, manufacturing, packaging, and processing must take place.
Right to Distribute Medical Marijuana
A duly registered medical marijuana manufacturer is obligated under Minnesota law to distribute its product. To that end, the business has the right to operate four distribution facilities. At these facilities, a medical marijuana business may distribute its medical cannabis and related medical cannabis products. Medical cannabis products include any delivery device or supplies used to administer medical cannabis. Educational materials also qualify as medical cannabis products.
Right to Receive an Extension
The deadline for a manufacturer to begin distribution is July 1, 2015. In the event of delay, a manufacturer may notify the Commissioner, and the Commissioner and its task force are obligated to grant a one-time extension of six months.