First look at Minnesota's medical pot: Production facility offers a tour


An unusual "open house" event in Otsego on Tuesday is shedding a little more light on how the Minnesota's soon-to-be-legal medical marijuana industry is going to work.

Minnesota Medical Solutions, one of the two marijuana manufacturing and distribution facilities that will be responsible for the state's medical cannabis, welcomed reporters and a couple of concerned moms with a tour of the operation.

The Star Tribune reports the plants are still being grown, cultivated and studied as they're distilled into pill and liquid form, the only ways they can legally be consumed – smoking the marijuana is out.

The building has a 10,000 sq. ft. greenhouse which contains 4,000 cannabis plants, some as tall as five feet, according to WCCO.

The Star Tribune notes the facility is staffed by scientists with backgrounds in inorganic chemistry and horticulture (among other disciplines), who are researching the potency and effectiveness of different blends and measuring which illnesses they might be best suited to treating.

It's a work in progress, but the staff say they'll be ready for the demand of Minnesota's medical marijuana patients.

The Associated Press says the site is under the watchful eye of an ex-Secret Service agent, who is chief of security. He's backed up by what's described as a "vast network" of security cameras and a barbed-wire fence surrounding the unassuming warehouse.

The AP notes that Kim Kelsey and Kathy Engstrom were also on hand for the tour. Both are hoping medical marijuana will ease their sons' debilitating epilepsy. Reports say the drug can reduce seizures caused by the disease.

The drugs will also treat those with a number of qualifying conditions, including HIV/AIDS, Crohn's Disease and certain types of cancer.

The other medical marijuana production facility, run by LeafLine Labs, is located in Cottage Grove.

The program becomes legal on July 1.

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