Minnesota's Medical Cannabis Director chosen

The Minnesota Department of Health announced Wednesday that Michelle Larson will serve as director of the new Office of Medical Cannabis to manage the state's medical marijuana program.

Larson begins the job Aug. 13. She was most recently the deputy director of the MDH Office of Statewide Health Improvement. She also previously worked for the MDH Office of Emergency Preparedness.

Legislation passed this year created the medical cannabis program, and the Minnesota Department of Health is readying the program between May this year and July 2015, according to MDH's web page on the program.

Larson will be responsible for managing program staff and guiding them and external vendors to build the program, according to an MDH news release. She is expected in the next few months to develop rules to govern the operations of the program and create an application and selection process for marijuana manufacturers.

She is also responsible for building the information technology infrastructure to support the patient registry.

The program will need to ramp up quickly, said Minnesota Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger in a news release. According to the MDH website, selected manufacturers are expected to supply medical marijuana products to patients by July 1, 2015. There is a six-month extension of the deadline in case there are any delays.