Colorado Nonprofit Interested in Selling Medical Marijuana in Minnesota

Updated: 05/28/2014 7:39 AM
Created: 05/27/2014 7:15 PM
By: Stephen Tellier

Gov. Mark Dayton will likely sign Minnesota's medical marijuana bill in the coming days. But before it even becomes law, a Colorado nonprofit is already expressing interest in selling one particular kind of pot in Minnesota.

Realm of Caring is one of the first groups to express interest in Minnesota's currently nonexistent medical marijuana market. The group said it's currently exploring the possibility of manufacturing and distributing one specific strain of marijuana in Minnesota but that nothing is set in stone.

Already, about 75 Minnesotans are on its wait list.

For little Wyatt Hauser, the seizures started early, and strike often -- sometimes, up to 100 times a day. Minnesota's medical marijuana bill was designed to help children like him.

"To have the hope of another treatment option is a wonderful thing," said Jessica Hauser, Wyatt's mother.

One treatment in particular could be just what Wyatt's mother is hoping for.

"It would be great to be able to service Minnesota," said Heather Jackson, executive director of Realm of Caring.

The Colorado nonprofit is known for producing Charlotte's Web, a strain of marijuana with little THC, and lots of anecdotal evidence that it solves child epilepsy. The mother of the girl the pill is named after testified before Minnesota lawmakers earlier this month. The group currently operates only in Colorado and California. It's interested in several other states, including Minnesota. But you can't send medical marijuana across state lines, so the nonprofit would need a licensed manufacturer on the ground in Minnesota.

"The infrastructure needs to be put in place, the testing equipment, those sorts of things. So a lot of logistics and details to be able to do it right would need to be taken care of," Jackson said.

But she said those hurdles are worth clearing for Minnesotans like Wyatt.

"Stay united and hold hope, and if we're able, we will get there as soon as possible," Jackson said.

Realm of Caring currently provides medical marijuana to about 400 patients, about half of them, children using Charlotte's Web.

However, one Minnesota-based advocate said she's heard from several other medical marijuana groups that are not interested in entering Minnesota's market right now because of the restrictions included in Minnesota's bill. Only two manufacturers, with eight total distribution sites, will be allowed in the state, and there is a slew of other regulations they must abide by.

Realm of Caring said its pricing will vary from state to state. But in Colorado, Charlotte's Web sells for about $0.05 per milligram. The nonprofit said a typical dosage for a child with epilepsy costs about $300 per month.

Photo: AP/Ed Andrieski

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