Minnesota's Office of Medical Cannabis will not be taking any new applications from patient caregivers, while the staff tightens up the data security of the caregiver registration process.
The temporary freeze comes after a Minnesota resident approached lawmakers Thursday with concerns about a link in an email the Health Department sends to caregivers interested in enrolling in the program so they can pick up cannabis for patients who are too sick or too young to do it themselves. Because the link does not expire quickly, the individual worried that others with access to the email account might be able to open the link and view the personal information the caregiver had submitted to the state -- including their name, address and date of birth.
So far, there are no signs that anyone improperly accessed caretaker data, but Health Department spokesman Michael Schommer said both the department and state information technology officials are conducting a detailed analysis. As a precaution, the state will not accept new applications from caregivers until the program works out an email fix.
As of Friday, 38 caregivers had registered with the Office of Medical Cannabis. Since July 1, when medical marijuana became legal -- in limited form -- in Minnesota, the program has enrolled 491 patients. Another 402 health care practitioners have registered with the state to certify their patients to use medical cannabis.