Minnesota has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the United States. Up until now, options for medical pot were limited and expensive. The bill that allows medical marijuana users a cheaper alternative to liquid, oil and pills passed both the State House and Senate this week. Governor Walz is expected to sign this much needed bill.

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The cost of the previously limited forms of medical marijuana has limited accessibility to many patients in the program that need it. Smokable, dry herb, flower or whatever you want to call it, is a less cost prohibitive option.

“This is by far the most important change since we originally got this law passed,” said Patrick McClellan, a medical cannabis activist and patient from Bloomington. He uses cannabis to treat a rare form of muscular dystrophy, but the cost of liquid cannabis has been a barrier, McClellan said.

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“What we ended up with is basically a designer drug for the rich. This was only for people that could afford it,” he said. “Most people like me, who are on disability, were forced then to purchase some from the manufacturers and then products that have been smuggled in from other states that we purchase on the street.”

Maren Schroeder of Stewartville was shelling out about $250 a month for her medical cannabis and is looking forward to switching from the expensive medical marijuana she has been using and going the smokable route.

“It will help me have a legal route to get it in plant form, and that means safety,” Schroeder said. “That means everything I’m consuming has been lab tested and isn’t contaminated with mold or mildew or pesticide or herbicide or anything like that. So, I’m really excited about it.”

This change in the medical marijuana law will take place March 1st of next year (2022) or whenever a procedure for testing of dried raw cannabis that the program gets from Minnesota's existing manufacturers is in place.

Although, they are saying that this bill is not a pathway to legal recreational pot, I think it's a big step forward.


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