MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz signed two new executive orders Tuesday, extending licenses for first responders and ensuring the medical cannabis program continues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first order applied to peace officers, emergency services providers, and security professionals. Their licenses, which normally expire on June 30 of their third year, will be extended until Jan. 1, 2021 for peace officers and firefighters. For private detectives and protective agent services, their licenses are extended until 60 days after the end of the peacetime emergency.

Though the process of renewing a license usually comes with additional education and competency requirements, Walz wrote they have become “burdensome” in the face of the pandemic. They will be deferred until Jan. 1, 2021.

The second order addresses the medical cannabis program, allowing the facilities to continue operating during the peacetime emergency.

“Medical cannabis provides therapeutic and palliative relief to many of Minnesota’s most severely ill residents,” Walz wrote in the order.

The executive order also allows the Office of Medical Cannabis to register any emergency temporary caregivers to assist their patients in accessing medical cannabis. To reduce the risks associated with COVID-19 in the workplace, manufacturers can also use curbside pick-up to dispense to patients and caregivers.

Walz also adjusted the enrollment period for the program: any patient whose enrollment is scheduled to expire on March 31 through seven days after the peacetime emergency will see an extension. Now, they will be enrolled until Aug. 1, 2020 or 60 days after the end of the peacetime emergency.

To participate in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program, a patient must have an underlying health condition outlined by the lawmakers.

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