OTSEGO, Minn. (WCCO) — On Tuesday, WCCO got an early look inside one of the places where cannabis plants are now legally grown in Minnesota.
Minnesota Medical Solutions in Otsego is one of two registered manufacturers responsible for growing, processing and distributing medical cannabis products in our state.
Beginning July 1, registered customers will be able to buy the marijuana in a few different forms: capsules, oils or liquids.
The building houses 4,000 cannabis plants, some as tall as five feet, covering 10,000 square feet of greenhouse space.
The light exposure is managed to stimulate flower bud production.
“[The] flower bud is where all the cannabinoids are, where all the medicine is made,” Dr. Kyle Kingsley, the CEO of Minnesota Medical Solutions, said. “Without those buds, there isn’t much in the way of medicine inside of the plant.”
In the facility’s labs, chemists extricate, segregate, and purify the most potent parts of the plant.
“We are working on separating THC and CBD, so that we can get pure compounds, so that when we provide the benefit, we’re providing the exact concentration that we want to,” chemist Conor Smith said.
The work is done under tight security, with surveillance cameras in every room.
The finished products are capsules, dropper bottles of oils, and spray bottles of liquids.
“A nice thing that a lot of parents do is they are going to mix these oils with food or juice to minimize the
problems with the child taking it. It doesn’t taste great. We are going to add flavors to some of our medicines for kids,” Kingsley said.
Two mothers from the Twin Cities shared how their young adult sons with epilepsy have endured seizures their entire lives. They feel the answer could be inside this controversial plant.
“I think that…confidence is a necessity at the moment,” said Kathy Engstrom, one of the mothers. “They’ve failed so many other things. It’s really a lot of hope that we have.”
In order to buy medical marijuana, your health care provider has to certify your condition.
Then you have to register with the Department of Health. That process begins June 1.
On July 1, you will be able to buy the medicine at eight distribution sites throughout the state.
The estimated cost is $300 to $500 a month.
The Department of Health has a dedicated a section of its website to medical cannabis information.
It states Minnesota has a uniquely smoke-free program focused on providing patients safe and effective medications.
Pharmacists at the distribution centers will consult with patients about appropriate doses and forms, such as pills or liquids.