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Patients still struggle to enroll in MN medical marijuana program

As of last Friday, 14 patients have enrolled in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program.

Two weeks before the launch of Minnesota’s medical marijuana program, there are more doctors signed up for the program than patients.

As of Friday, the state had enrolled 14 patients in the program, out of the 65 so far who have been certified by their doctors to participate. That’s nearly double the eight patients who managed to get signed up in the first week of enrollment, but far short of the 5,000 patients the state had estimated might try the treatment in the program’s first years.


Medical marijuana sprouts from former soybean fields

COTTAGE GROVE – In a field where soybeans used to grow stands a building where new plants are being cultivated to bring medical marijuana to patients in St. Cloud and others statewide.

LeafLine Labs on Wednesday opened the doors to its Cottage Grove facility to show off the place where medical marijuana is grown and processed into the liquid and pill form that will be available to qualified patients.

"If I didn't already believe in the power and the potential of a small seed and a big dream I most assuredly do now," said Dr. Andrew Bachman, as he pointed to the 42,000-square-foot facility that holds dozens of marijuana plants.


Medical marijuana manufacturers hope to erase stigma of drug

When Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey announced several months ago on Facebook that his suburb would be soon home to a new pharmaceutical business, residents were ecstatic over the new jobs it would bring.

But a day later, when he clarified that it was for a facility producing medical marijuana, people in the community were stumped.

The reaction on social media, Bailey recalled, was "Wait. What?"

City officials then had to educate themselves about medical marijuana so they could placate residents over concerns ranging from public safety to odor.


Impatient for Minnesota medical marijuana

Jess Blake of Duluth breaks into tears and stops to wipe her eyes on June 4, 2015 as she describes how her brain tumor has changed her life. She's no longer allowed to drive, isn't able to read and tires easily. Blake is a middle school teacher at Esko, Minn., but is currently on medical leave. Blake and her parents are trying to get her certified to use medical marijuana when it becomes legal in Minnesota on July 1. 

Esko, Minn., teacher Jess Blake is confident medical marijuana will lessen the nausea that comes with treatment for the brain tumor she was diagnosed with in September.

Blake, 39, and her parents, Rick and Kathleen Blake of Grand Rapids, even have hopes that cannabis might make the tumor go away.


Iowa medical marijuana prompts parents to consider moving

The Legislature's failure to expand Iowa's medical marijuana law has some parents of sick children looking to Minnesota.

Area lawmakers who worked to pass the proposed legislation suggested some Iowans may relocate to nearby states to access medicinal marijuana. Medical marijuana will be legal in limited form in Minnesota beginning July 1.

Some Cedar Falls families confirmed they're considering their options, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (http://bit.ly/1MsWswE ) reported.

"Obviously, they have all these good things about their bill, but it's proximity. So, you just gave yourselves competition. Minnesota moved forward. You chose to stay stagnant," said Brienna Decker.


MN families, providers prep for medical marijuana

MANKATO — MaryAnn Nelson said she has tried almost every seizure medication for her 13-year-old daughter, Rachael, who has Rett syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder.

But many have caused serious side effects, such as extended sleepiness and trouble breathing.

Nelson, of Mankato, has pinned her hopes on medical marijuana, which will become legal in Minnesota on July 1. She said she hopes to enroll Rachael in a clinic trial through her provider, during which she will receive medical marijuana in a closely monitored setting.

"We're out of tools in the tool box," Nelson said. " ... This is kind of a no-brainer for me."


Minn. official who helped craft medical marijuana program named CEO of cannabis company

This Aug. 8, 2014 photo shows Minnesota Department of Health assistant commissioner Manny Munson-Regala speaking at a meeting in St. Paul, Minn. The Minnesota health official instrumental in getting the state's medical marijuana program off the ground is leaving to become chief executive of a company that grows the cannabis — a move that may expose him and the Department of Health to questions about prior regulatory decisions. LeafLine Labs named Manny Munson-Regala as chief executive officer on Thursday, June 11, 2015.


Tribes Exploring Marijuana Industry

SENECA, NY -- There's a push to get the medical marijuana industry up and running on Indian territories. Leaders of the National Tribal Cannabis Association expect to see the industry in full swing on some reservations within the next year.

Former president of the Seneca Nation, Robert Porter, helped organize meetings that about 75 tribal leaders from across the country have attended.

Last week Porter met with tribes within the Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan region.

Porter say most tribes are showing interest in the medical marijuana industry and regulations are starting to be drafted.

Porter said, "I don't see many leaders talk about adult recreational use at this time."


7 States Where Medical Marijuana Is Legal But Barely Accessible

With New York State beginning to accept applications for medical marijuana providers last week, criticism of the hyper-strict program negotiated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been plentiful. Hinged on concerns about arbitrary regulations and insufficient patient access, advocates for medical marijuana access worry the program will be too small and restrictive to be effective.


State of Minnesota suspends new medical marijuana clinic

A new clinic promising to help patients get signed up for Minnesota's medical marijuana program has been suspended by the state, a potential blow to hopeful patients and a New York company seeking to connect them with willing doctors.

The Minnesota Certification Clinic in Bloomington billed itself as a solution for residents struggling to get a physicians' sign-off to obtain medical marijuana. But the clinic informed would-be patients Tuesday in an email obtained by The Associated Press that it was canceling all appointments for certification. It cited a Department of Health decision last week to suspend its accounts with the state.


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