2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

2021 was a busy year for cannabis in Minnesota. In May, Governor Walz signed a large omnibus bill that expanded the medical program. The bill makes the COVID emergency measure of curbside pickup permanent, and increases the number of plants a caregiver is allowed to grow at home from one to six. There are also some changes patients shouldn’t expect to see right away.

The bill includes a provision with a deadline of March 1, 2022, for these policies to go into effect. By then, smokable forms of cannabis will be available to patients over the age of 21. There is one negative aspect of the bill, a provision which would allow for the removal of a condition from the qualifying list by state regulators if they received a petition.

In 2022, Minnesota legislators should focus on policies that will work to cut the financial burden of medicine for patients. First, registered patients and caregivers should be allowed to grow cannabis at home; this will immediately increase the supply of medicine with insignificant regulatory oversight. Second, the state must license more retailers and producers to meet the growing demand for products in the state. Preferably, the licenses will be open to apply any time and be granted on a rolling basis based on need. The state should also consider allowing for multiple year registrations and lowering its extremely prohibitive $200 patient registration fee to $50 permanently. Finally, the state should consider creating rules for retailers to deliver cannabis to patients.