Hopes high, security tight as Minn. medical marijuana era nears

It may be the best guarded greenhouse in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Medical Solutions operation in Otsego, about 40 minutes northwest of downtown Minneapolis, is growing marijuana — legally. One of two manufacturers picked by the state to produce medical cannabis, the company is readying for July 1, when it will be legal to sell the product in pill or oil form.

Security, though, is at a premium. The federal government still considers marijuana growing illegal. As officials walked reporters through the plant on Tuesday, they left no doubt they’re serious about keeping the operation safe.

The building is tucked out of sight and surrounded by a fence topped with barbed wire. Ron Owens, who once worked for the United States Secret Service and is in charge of the plant’s security, calls it “casino-grade.”

“We are armed continually with security 24-7 on site,” he said. “We have constant surveillance on not...

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