Minnesota Senate Committee Passes Historic Cannabis Flower Medical Bill

Soft Secrets
12 Mar 2021

For too long has the state allowed only the most expensive types of cannabis. It has been a burden for most medical users in the state.

The state has only allowed cannabis in pill or liquid form so far. The move inches Minnesotans closer to adopting a bill that will enable medical cannabis flowers to be used for the treatment of patients as well.  A month after Minnesota Democrats reintroduced a bill that aims to legalize recreational cannabis statewide, in a unanimous vote Minnesota Senate committee passes a bill legalizing the use of marijuana flower for medical purposes. That amounts to two positive developments that have happened in the state recently. The next step for the medical flower bill is to gain full approval from the Minnesota Senate. Advocate Patrick McClellan told local news he was surprised the bill passed on a unanimous vote in the Senate’s Health and Human Finance and Policy Committee on March 1.  “I believe this is a historic moment in the Minnesota medical cannabis program, and it moves us one step closer to actually fixing what has been broken for years,” McClellan said. For years, Minnesota pot proponents have been struggling to advance the status of medical cannabis. Right now, medical cannabis is allowed in the state only in the form of pills or liquid. Any use of the plant in the form of leaf or flower is illegal under Minnesotan law, so the latest bill addresses precisely this issue. Using cannabis in its natural flower form will automatically cheapen production cycles and bump up access to the medicine to thousands of people who could benefit from it. “I have to take nine additional medications, in addition to the medical marijuana pill, and it is very expensive and can be cost-prohibitive for many people,” McClellan said, who's also a user of the medical program. “The flower will really open things up, and it will allow someone like me to get rid of the nine other pills I have to take,” he said.
cannabis leaf alongside pills
When cannabis is prescribed in the form of pills it's more expensive than just taking the plant in its natural flower form.
Senator Matt Klein, DFL- Mendota Heights, also expressed support for the flower-orientated bill and also gave a word of caution. “I do hear from my addiction medicine friends that there is no evidence to support this in the medical literature, so it is not an evidence-based approach,” Klein said, also a physician and member of the Senate’s Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee, said in his remarks. "On the other hand, the testimony does have a point that the margin of toxicity in cannabis is extremely low and our burden of illness with opioid addiction is extremely high and very dangerous," Klein said. Minnesota has a history of rejecting bills advancing the legal status of cannabis, therefore the surprise expressed by activists. At the same time, there’s a notion in the air that other states sort of peer pressure Minnesotan lawmakers to hurry up, vote and introduce favoring cannabis policies. A patient has to have a qualifying health condition so that they can benefit from Minnesota’s medical cannabis program. Introducing cannabis flower as a treatment option will undoubtedly improve the state’s program, although, more efforts and work will be needed so that access to that program is available to all. Should a recreational bill is also advanced anytime soon, it will address other pressing issues Minnesota has, including its racial bias in cannabis-related offenses, youth access, and road safety.
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