COTTAGE GROVE -- Since it's passing by the state, the use of medical marijuana has been a controversial issue. In 2015, Minnesota became the 22nd state to legalize the drug.

Gary Starr is the Co-Founder of Leafline Labs, the states only growing facility. He says his involvement into medical marijuana came from seeing several patients in the emergency room for opioid addiction.

"We were looking for solutions to the problem. It wasn't just looking for alternative medical therapy's, like medical cannabis, we looked at many things like acupuncture and healing touch," says Starr.

The bills passing led to Leafline Labs opening their own growing facility to provide patients the oils, vapors, and lotions used for treatment.

Starr says it takes the plants about 10-12 weeks to fully mature before they are harvested. Then a completed plant extraction is done to create the final product.

"You grind them up, stick them in a machine that runs the solvent across them and extracts everything you want. Then you process that more to make it pure, and you have the oil," says Starr.

However, before you can receive the medicine state law requires you be entered in the state database through a doctor. Once registered the crew at Leafline Labs are able to help with your prescription.

Starr says they have have a lower patient base then they previously predicted, however the results speak for themselves.

"More than 70% of the patient that our products are experiencing a significant amount of improvement in their health conditions, where more than 90% are experiencing some benefit," says Starr.

Starr says while they know not everyone is on board with what they do, hearing the patients recovery stories make it rewarding.

Leafline Labs has clinics in St. Cloud, Hibbing, Eagan and St. Paul.

(Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)