Medical marijuana is becoming a common prescription medication in Minnesota. This past week, the state’s Board of Health approved a first-of-its-kind medical marijuana smoking policy in Minnesota.
Minnesota is expected to become the first state to allow patients to smoke marijuana for medical purposes when it legalizes recreational pot use later this year.
Minnesota residents who use medical marijuana to treat various ailments will soon be able to smoke the plant. This week, Governor Tim Walz signed a bill that includes a provision that expands the state’s medical cannabis program, introduced in 2014, allowing qualified patients to purchase the drug beginning in July 2015. However, the state’s program is one of the most restrictive in the country and only allows patients to use the drug in liquid, oil and pill form – smoking medical marijuana is prohibited (this provision was necessary for legislators and Governor Mark Dayton to approve the program). From the beginning, many patients criticized the law as being too restrictive, citing the cost of non-smokable forms of medical cannabis as a major obstacle (they are not covered by insurance). But now, at the latest from 1. By March 2022, patients will be able to purchase a smokeable form of the plant’s flowers, which proponents say will make the medical cannabis program more affordable and accessible. Before Waltz got his signature, the Minnesota House of Representatives did not approve the bill until the 17th. May – the last day of session – with a 77-57 majority the conference policy committee report on the omnibus bill, writes Session Daily. The Senate also approved it by 66-1. Last week, much of the debate over this 500-plus page bill centered on the proposed changes to the medical cannabis program. Some, including Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, said allowing the smoking of medical cannabis would lead to the legalization of recreational marijuana and should be considered in a separate bill, writes Session Daily. But supporters of the bill, including some Republicans, said it was not about legalizing the drug, but about making it available to needy patients, some of whom have to buy the drug illegally because the government program is so expensive. Our goal is not to make this a path to legalization, the senator said. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, said during the Senate debate on the bill last week, according to MPR News. It is intended to be accessible to people who cannot afford medical care. So we hope we’ve struck the right balance. The House of Representatives on the 13th. In May, a bill to legalize recreational marijuana for adults passed with a historic 72-61 vote. The bill has not yet been heard in the Senate, where Republicans oppose it. The state’s medical cannabis law could be changed by Jan. 1. March 2022, when a process will be developed to test dried raw cannabis from medical cannabis producers in the state. If that happens, Minnesota will no longer be the only state with a medical marijuana program that bans the drug, MinnPost writes. As of May 18, medical cannabis is allowed in 36 states and recreational marijuana in 17 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 34,453 people are actively enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program for at least one of 15 eligible conditions. When the program started, there were nine medical conditions that could qualify a patient for medical marijuana. Health authorities are also considering additional eligibility requirements.