Legislators in the state of Minnesota recently voted to allow the expansion of its medical marijuana program, which will permit patients to smoke the dried flower.
The state of Minnesota has allowed the use of medical marijuana since May 2014 when then-Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law a legislation that legalized cannabis for the treatment of several medical ailments, including Crohn’s disease, ALS, Tourette’s syndrome, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and cancer. Despite this, it only permitted the use of the plant in pill, oil and liquid forms.
Medical marijuana activist Patrick McClellan stated that this latest move was an important change. He noted that it would also make it easier for him to afford the medication, as the cost of liquid marijuana was on the higher side. McClellan suffers from a rare form of muscular dystrophy and uses marijuana to manage it.
Maren Schroeder, who also uses medical marijuana, revealed that she had to part with $250 every month for medical marijuana and noted that she was excited to have the smokable option. She explained that this was because she could obtain the plant legally, adding that this meant that the product she would consume had been tested in labs and wasn’t contaminated with herbicides, pesticides or mold.
The state’s allowing the use of the unprocessed marijuana plant is also expected to decrease the cost for patients in the medical marijuana program, which will make the product more accessible.
Senate Health and Human Services Committee chair Sen. Michelle Benson asserted that the change would help many patients. During a debate in the Senate earlier this week, Benson had explained that the committee’s objective was to make the plant available to individuals with a medical need who couldn’t afford it.
The medical marijuana law is scheduled to take effect once a system for testing the dried raw marijuana from the existing manufacturers in the state has been established, or by March 1 next year.
Ryan Winkler, the DFL House majority leader who backed the full-legalization effort, heralded the medical marijuana change. He stated that by allowing the use of dried raw marijuana, which was cheaper to produce, the cost of existing products would decrease.
However, not everyone seemed to be on board with the idea. For instance, Rep. Tim Miller opposed the medical marijuana provision in the House, claiming that the move wasn’t entirely honest and hadn’t gone through the right channels.
As the state’s medical cannabis program expands, patients and the entire state will benefit in the same way as the states that have enacted laws deemed relatively investment-friendly for operators such as Hero Technologies Inc. (OTC: HENC). The more operators a state has, the more competitively priced cannabis products are likely to be.
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