Minnesota has its own medical cannabis program, which establishes the conditions for the therapeutic use of cannabis for various medical conditions. Lawmakers passed different bills in 2014, with the intention to enable people with intractable pain, severe nausea, PTSD, and other conditions to benefit from the effect of medical marijuana.
In addition, the bills enabled conditions for more dispensaries to be started across the state. With increased competition, patients had easier access to the remedy, and they started getting a lower price for it.
The first dispensary was opened on July 1, 2015, shortly after the bill was signed into law.
The program works through a Minnesota medical marijuana card, which requires specific conditions to be met. If you are interested in becoming a part of the program, the Minnesota Department of Health is a good source of information. To make things easier for you, we’ll compress the most important medical marijuana MN details in a more readable format.
Medical Marijuana treatment in Minnesota: what you should know
Consider the Qualifying Conditions
Some view Minnesota’s medical marijuana program conservative in its nature. There are specific conditions that you have to meet in order to qualify for a card.
At the moment, only 15 conditions may make patients eligible for the program:
- Cancer (under specifically outlined terms)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Tourette syndrome
- IBD and Crohn’s disease
- Persistent and severe muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Intractable pain
- Terminal illness (if the probable expectancy is less than a year)
- Chronic pain
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Obstructive sleep apnea
Under these strict terms, dispensaries cannot prosper well. At the beginning of the program, most of them suffered losses. But as the industry developed, dispensary owners learned how to handle their businesses in a controlled environment.
The important thing to know is that if you’re caught in possession of cannabis without a card, you’ll face serious penalties. People who are caught with less than 42.5 grams of marijuana are fined a maximum of $200 (the offense is treated as a misdemeanor). Anything above that quantity is a felony offense with a large fine (up to $10K) and a potential 5-year prison sentence.
Know the Price
The cost for medical cannabis is not limited to the quantities that you use. You’ll also have to pay to become part of the program, and you’ll continue covering an annual registration fee of $200 for as long as you keep using marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The program enables a fee reduction to $50 to patients of low income, as well as those covered by the program of Veteran’s disability benefits. If you’re eligible for this reduction, you’ll be required to submit proof.
As for the price of the actual cannabis, you’ll have to cover it whenever you buy it from registered dispensaries. The problem is that they aren’t allowed to sell raw cannabis. With an intention to prevent smoking, lawmakers imposed a ban on the whole plant. There have been some attempts to amend those parts of the medical cannabis Minnesota legislation, but we’ll have to be patient to see some results.
At the moment, patients under the program are allowed to use capsules (which are 75% more expensive than raw cannabis) and oil cartridges (which cost 52% more than raw cannabis).
According to a report published on changemn.org, Minnesota’s citizens pay a high price per milligram of THC when compared to other states ($0.18 per milligram of THC on cartridges and $0.26 per milligram on capsules). As a comparison, the average prices in Florida are $0.14 and $0.22, respectively. In 2018, the average amount that MN medical marijuana patients spent on these products was $103.24 per month.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card
You can become a part of the medical cannabis program in Minnesota by following three steps:
First, you should initiate the process by contacting the healthcare practitioner who’s responsible for the condition you qualify under. They have the right to certify you for the program. Your practitioner will ask for your email address, and you’ll receive the details through a message. You’ll be required to fill in a patient acknowledgment form.
As soon as the practitioner certifies that you qualify for the program, you’ll be able to register for it online. You’ll receive a link in the informational email.
Once you’re fully certified and registered, you’ll be able to visit the CPC (Cannabis Patient Center). A pharmacist will prescribe a specific type of medical cannabis and a dosage.
As a patient who qualifies for the medical cannabis program, you have the right to use it as a remedy. However, you should also get informed about your responsibilities. You must follow the recommended doses and way of use.
Smoking marijuana in public is not allowed in Minnesota, and the card won’t make any difference in that aspect. The laws also require you to lock the product in a secure place, so you’ll protect it from unauthorized use.
If you have questions about your health, please consult your doctor. None of the information in this article is intended to be medical advice.
Written for Give Me The Mike by Tia M., Editor and Contributor at AskGrowers.
Give Me The Mike received compensation for this content.