Dr. Thomas Arneson will start work Monday as the research manager in Minnesota’s new Office of Medical Cannabis.
The state’s medical marijuana law, one of the most restrictive in the nation, was passed last session.
Arneson’s job is to manage the state’s medical marijuana patient registry and lead the program’s research efforts.
Part of his job description: be the state’s expert about the risks and benefits of medical marijuana.
The new state law does not allow smoking of marijuana or home growing. There will be two state suppliers to provide the substance, starting next summer, to an estimated 5,000 patients, including children with debilitating illnesses and epileptic-like symptoms.
Arneson’s background, according to the state Health Department:
He grew up in Fairmont, and has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard, a master’s degree in public health from the University of Minnesota, and an M.D. from Mayo Medical School. His work has focused on health care quality improvement and population health research. He’s been a researcher at the Minneapolis Department of Health, director of population health at Stratis Health and the medical director for industry-sponsored research at the Chronic Disease Research Group.
He’ll lead research which, state officials say, will generate “reliable information about the best use and medical value of medical cannabis.”
The research will look at dosage, side effects, delivery methods, compound interactions, and other considerations specific to various diseases and conditions. And it will seek information on “possible long-term health effects and societal impacts of cannabis use.”