Policy Recommendations Minnesota

2019-2020 Improvements and Recommendations for Minnesota

2019 saw the Land of 10,000 Lakes make several much-needed improvements to one of the most restrictive medical cannabis programs in the nation. Reacting to patient feedback painting the state program as unaffordable and inaccessible, the state expanded the number of legal medical retail facilities from 8 to 16. The Minnesota Department of Health also added chronic pain and macular degeneration to the list of conditions eligible for medical cannabis treatment. Despite these positive changes, Minnesota still has much to do to sufficiently meet patient needs.

Under the state's COVID emergency plans, Minnesota authorized medical cannabis businesses to continue operating, extended patient access through curbside pickup and home delivery, permitted telemedicine for physician evaluations, and extended existing enrollments. ASA recommends permanently extending these features to facilitate greater patient access, ease of access, and reduce cost and physical burdens on patients.

ASA encourages state lawmakers to authorize medical use of cannabis flower for patients, as flower is often the most affordable form of medical cannabis. Whole-plant cannabis also provides patients with a delivery method for cannabis' complex system of cannabinoids and terpenes, which can provide a more comprehensive treatment than isolating a single plant compound for a manufactured product. ASA also encourages Minnesota to authorize patients to cultivate cannabis at home, which will help drive down the cost of obtaining medicine, improve access and reduce travel burdens.