Minnesota lawmakers want to crack down on one of the state’s medical marijuana companies whose former executives have been charged with illegally shipping $500,000 of marijuana oils to New York, pushing legislation allowing regulators to revoke the manufacturer’s license and levy a huge fine.
County prosecutors last month charged two top executives at Minnesota Medical Solutions with two felonies, alleging that they collaborated in late 2015 to ship more than 5 kilograms of concentrated marijuana oil from Minnesota to New York, where a subsidiary company faced a product shortfall ahead of New York’s January 2016 start to legal sales. The parent company, Vireo Health, is licensed to sell medical marijuana in both states, but it’s a federal and Minnesota crime to ship controlled substances across state lines.
Neither Laura Bultman, who was Minnesota Medical Solutions’ chief medical officer, nor Ronald Owens, its chief security officer, work for the company anymore, and the company has stressed the former employees acted against both state law and company policy. But while the ongoing court case has caused some alarm among public officials, state regulators have little recourse aside from hitting the employees with small fines or deciding not to renew the company’s license in December.
So several top Republicans who are part of the majority in the Legislature are pushing to give the state explicit authority to revoke a manufacturer’s license and hit the company with a $1 million fine and stiff penalties. They could eventually become law as part of a massive health care budget. Some lawmakers who supported the legislation that legalized medical marijuana sales in 2014 said Thursday they’re incensed that one of the companies entrusted with manufacturing and selling medical marijuana allegedly broke the law so blatantly.
“This was a big risk for some of us. We wanted it done well, and we