By LeeWEpstein

January 24, 2020

The Minnesota Department of Health says it is taking steps to improve oversight of the state’s medical-marijuana program.

In fact , this is after an audit found multiple failures.

The Office of the Legislative Auditor released a report this month saying, among other things, that the health department had poor record-keeping for the eligibility of parents and guardians. It also said regulators failed to verify that doctors of new patients were licensed and in good standing.

Morgan Fox of the National Cannabis Industry Association however said that these kinds of problems are counterproductive, especially for a program that is already limited.

There are extreme licensing caps in place which so prevent the industry from really thriving and having good competition, said Fox.

Since it was approved in 2014, Minnesota has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country. However, the expansion will take effect this year – particularly in the number of points of access to drugs.

Meanwhile, health officials say they agree with the findings and are implementing solutions. In 2018, the state of Oregon also reported similar monitoring problems for its program.

Cannabis program

According to Fox, when one state experiences difficulties or successes with cannabis programs, other states should take that into account when developing their monitoring plans – especially as other potential legislative changes are looming on the horizon for 2020.

This year, we should expect to see laws passed in at least one or even more states adopting laws on medical cannabis, as well as the possibility of other states adopting laws on adult use, he said.

In Minnesota, Democrats in the House and the Tim Walz government support the legalization of recreational marijuana. But the idea is opposed by Republicans in the Senate. Approximately 12 states already passed similar laws, while 33 states approved medical marijuana programs.

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