MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The competition is fierce to be one of two medical cannabis manufacturers in Minnesota.
Legislation passed last session created a new process allowing seriously ill Minnesotans to get and use medical marijuana to treat certain conditions.
On Friday, those interested in producing medical pot packed an auditorium to learn how to become a part of Minnesota’s new marijuana industry.
The 3M Auditorium inside the Minnesota History Museum was packed with people hoping to make history of their own, as one of the two new registered manufactures of medical cannabis.
“There is a $20,000 non-refundable fee application fee, so you really have to have the money to start applying and take this serious, and this is full of a lot of people that are very serious,” said medical cannabis expert Chloe Villano.
The room was full of doctors, lawyers, and medical manufacturers from Minnesota, Colorado, California and Washington.
The two registered manufacturers will set up and operate four distribution facilities around the state, for a total of eight.
“There is going to be a lot of resources required from whoever those two people are, so whoever wins those two contracts is going to have to have an incredibly huge bank account, because this is not going to be cheap to get going,” said Teague O’Meara.
He says his expertise is horticulture, a skill he hopes will be valuable to whoever will grow, produce and sell medical cannabis.
“I see today for myself as more of a job fair, so I can bring my skills to the table for somebody who does have those resources,” O’Meara said.
Those in attendance learned the role and responsibilities of a manufacturer — from taxes, to product safety, quality and consistency.
Experts from other states are working together to help this industry get off the ground.
“I hope we can all move together in cooperation,” said medical cannabis expert Cathy Jolley.
Minnesota will produce medical cannabis in the form of pills and oil.
Applications must be submitted to the Commissioner of Health by this fall.