Minnesota medical marijuana patients seek the right to smoke

Published Jan 13, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Barringtonhd

The legalization of marijuana is still not a reality in some states. Some states have created and implemented laws regulating some aspects of cannabis, but these laws are not cut and dry. They are not at all clear and leave gaps for uncertainty.

While some states have legalized recreational marijuana, there are still some states that remain resolute in their stance against legal weed. Many of these states have no support federally because cannabis continues to be called an illegal substance on a federal level. Therefore, some states are not eager to legalize cannabis entirely. One such state is Minnesota. Minnesota has harsh and restrictive laws on marijuana.

Medical Marijuana

For the most part, medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota through the medical marijuana program. Persons seeking to use cannabis for medical purposes must fit specific criteria. These patients must have acquired a medical marijuana card. Obtain a card. You will need a medical practitioner must certify that the patient is suffering from one of the conditions listed as qualifying medical use.

Patients will not be enlisted in the program unless they have cancer or some terminal illness that causes their life expectancy rate to be below one year.  Terminal illnesses that qualify include the following: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, seizures, among others. Persistent pain has recently been added to the list of conditions.

When did marijuana become legal?

Furthermore, only certain types of weed are legal. The cannabis flower and plant are illegal even for medicinal use. It seems inconvenient, right? Patients have to make use of what they can use. The bill which was approved in 2014, allowed for the legalization of marijuana in pill-forms and oils but not the flower. In effect, this prevents patients from smoking cannabis. Patients and other stakeholders are not pleased with the government’s restrictions.

Proposition allowing patients to smoke

The two makers of medical marijuana, Leaf line Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions in Minnesota is petitioning the government to allow patients to smoke cannabis. These medical marijuana manufacturers will ensure the profitability of their businesses and benefit patients. The medical marijuana program has been set-back by fewer patients able to get access due to costs and other hurdles that patients must go through to obtain marijuana for medical reasons.

The founder of Minnesota Medical Solutions, Dr. Kyle Kingsley, believes that this would reduce the costs for patients. The medical marijuana program is expensive, and many patients are complaining. Allowing patients to purchase the marijuana flower to smoke would allow for more diversity in consumption options and increase the number of patients.

Opposition

Despite efforts from patients and the manufacturers of medical marijuana, there are still opponents to legalizing marijuana. Critics think that legalizing the flower for patients would indirectly cause the legalization of recreational marijuana. These critics also believe that it would be challenging to quantify marijuana flower in doses. As a result, there would be uncertainty if cannabis obtained from the legal or illegal market.

Decriminalization

Marijuana remains illegal for recreational use. Anyone found in possession of the drug is going to be penalized by fine or imprisonment. The cannabis flower is still unlawful for use by medical marijuana patients. Patients remain hopeful that changes in the law will take place sooner than later.

The legalization of marijuana for recreational use would allow many patients and non-patients to purchase cannabis legally at lower prices without the fear of being arrested for trying to eliminate the suffering their illness is causing. Medical marijuana has very beneficial healing properties if we can allow for patients to have fair access it would be a genuinely life-changing experience for many.

New bills would legalize recreational marijuana in Minnesota

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