State Aims to Create Cannabis Office

State officials are beginning to plan for the creation of a single, streamlined cannabis office, according to a report by the StarTribune. In early January, regulators formally asked the Minnesota Legislature for an Office of Cannabis Management, in order to ease the burden on numerous agencies tasked with overseeing various aspects of the plant.

The current regulatory scheme is far-flung across various agencies, including:

  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture oversees the industrial hemp program
  • Minnesota Department of Health oversees the medicinal marijuana program
  • Minnesota Board of Pharmacy oversees sellers of cannabidiol
  • Minnesota Department of Public Safety oversees gang and drug coordination

Meanwhile, much uncertainty exists as to whom would oversee the anticipated recreation marijuana program. A single office could immediately help solve that impending issue.

Additionally, a single office would likely be most efficient from the taxpayer’s standpoint.

“We’ve recognized … that we’re doing a lot of the same functions in this cannabis space,” Chris Tholkes, Director of the Office of Medical Cannabis said. “To come together, I think, would leverage our resources.”

Whether the legislature has any appetite to deal with such a proposal this session remains to be seen. Minnesota is the only state in the country with split chambers – Democrats control the House, while Republicans control the Senate. Recently, the Senate has been reluctant to push forward meaningful cannabis related reform.