An audit report was recently released by Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor, which touches on important issues with the medical cannabis program in the state. The results of this audit found that among many reasons, certain things regarding the effectiveness and success of the medical cannabis program aren’t being regulated or reported correctly.
According to CBS Local in Minnesota the report found that, “the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) internal controls were generally not adequate to safeguard financial assets and ensure compliance with selected legal requirements for the medical cannabis program.”
Auditors—whose job it was to work on the report—were supposed to keep an eye on things such as patient eligibility, revenue streams and manufacturing processes since 2016. The program was first founded in 2014, and is very restrictive, yet there is evidence that restrictions weren’t being carried out. The report states that the MDH failed to verify the licenses of health care professionals providing cannabis, keep valid documentation of parents or guardians of cannabis patients, accurately reconcile fees for payments, ensure formal contracts for testing laboratories, ensure cannabis was properly tested and tracked or ensure cannabis would not be lost.
“The [MDH] oversees Minnesota’s medical cannabis program and must ensure that participants and medical cannabis manufacturers comply with eligibility, payment, and other legal requirements,” the report explained. “In Fiscal Year 2019, 17,200 patients were enrolled in the program, and MDH expenditures totaled $1.57 million.”
The Minnesota medical cannabis program operates in a grey area when it comes to regulating cannabis. The governor is already preparing to legalize and many residents have voiced their interest in favor of legalization, but the state’s medical program was slow to start and is still catching up. More effort is clearly needed before a strong recreational industry can be formed, and reform is needed for the state’s medical program.