Minnesota Senate committee passes bill that would legalize unprocessed marijuana flower for medical use
For the first time in a decade, a proposed bill legalizing the use of unprocessed marijuana flower for medicinal purposes has passed a Minnesota Senate committee. Because this will allow it to be processed at a lower cost, the cost of medical cannabis will be significantly reduced.
Two hearings involving medical cannabis were held at the same time. The first concerned the question of allowing unprocessed plant material. The second hearing was to consider making opioid addiction a qualifying condition for medical cannabis in the State of Minnesota. Both bills passed.
Senator Chris Eaton worked tirelessly to get the bill passed regarding opioid addiction. A recent study conclusively shows that medical cannabis reduces opioid-related mortality in counties where it is allowed.
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More changes may be in store for the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Health is still considering adding anxiety as a qualifying condition. Dr. Jacob Mirman supports this change and is one of the experts involved in the work group.
Dr. Jacob Mirman testified during the hearing and voiced his support for the bill. Advocates for the bill think it will eventually gain full approval from the Senate.
Patrick McClellan told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he was surprised the bill passed on a unanimous vote in the Senate's Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee on March 1.
"I could never have imagined that it would pass with a unanimous vote," McClellan said. "I believe this is a historic moment in the Minnesota medical cannabis program, and it moves us one step closer to actually fixing what has been broken for years.
Use of the unprocessed marijuana flower will make medical cannabis much more affordable Currently medical cannabis/marijuana is only allowed in oral, vape and topical form. Use of the plant’s flower, or leaf is illegal. Allowing the use of the plant’s unprocessed flower will greatly reduce the cost of processing and make it easier for Minnesotans to afford and enter the medical cannabis program.
"I have to take nine additional medications, in addition to the medical marijuana pill, and it is very expensive and can be cost-prohibitive for many people," McClellan said. "The flower will really open things up, and it will allow someone like me to get rid of the nine other pills I have to take."
In a recent study the CBD compound from cannabis has been found to stop COVID-19 replication in lung epithelial cells, suggesting the plant medicine holds yet another astounding quality. However, COVID is not yet a qualifying condition in Minnesota.