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Minnesota medical marijuana program to offer dried cannabis starting March 1

Patients and caregivers in the program will be able to consult with pharmacists about eligibility starting this month.

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ST. PAUL — Minnesotans in the state's medical-marijuana program will be able to buy dried marijuana flowers beginning March 1, the Department of Health announced on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

The option comes after a bipartisan group in the Minnesota Legislature last year supported the change that would give program participants the option to buy cannabis products that can be smoked. Supporters of the change argued that existing offerings, including oils and other distilled products, were too expensive.

Patients in the program will be able to schedule appointments with a pharmacist beginning Tuesday, Feb. 1, so they are eligible to receive the smokable cannabis when it becomes available.

Only Minnesotans 21 and older who are patients or caregivers registered in the Medical Cannabis Program will be able to receive the dried cannabis. And they'll have to provide proof of identification to purchase it.

Minnesota cannabis dispensaries will offer various strains of dried marijuana and cannabidiol in up to 90-day supplies.

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“Patients need to weigh the risks of smoking medical cannabis, including those related to secondhand smoke and lung health, with any potential benefits,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. “Smokable cannabis may not be right for everyone; patients should have a conversation with their health care practitioner for guidance.”

State health officials said they expected the Medical Cannabis Program's participation to surge with the new option coming available, based on the experience of other states. Prospective patients have to have certain conditions to be considered eligible.

The program in August is set to add cannabis gummies and chews to its list of medications available.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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