Ryan Faircloth / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Members of a task force charged with evaluating Minnesota’s medical cannabis program say the group is ineffective and poorly run. It didn’t even meet for a two-year stretch. The state set up the task force when it legalized medical marijuana in 2014. State law said the group would hold hearings to assess patient experiences, access and other issues. The program is not working for many of the patients who need it. High prices have pushed many patients into the black market and the state’s two growers have lost millions because of a strict tax structure.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s medical marijuana program has struggled for years as the flaws in its design have caused issue after issue. New patients are leaving the program in droves, turning to the black market or prescription opioids because they cannot afford the processed pills and oils that are legal. Growers are losing millions because of a strict tax structure written into the law.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota’s medical marijuana program is often called one of the most restrictive in the country. Why? The drug is available only in the form of pills and liquids; the plant is illegal. There are just two manufacturers. And only patients who have one of 13 severe conditions can qualify. Actually, those are just a few of the reasons. Here are five more things you may not know about the medical cannabis program.
ST. PAUL - Katy Cummins-Bakko was wrapped in a haze that confined her to bed. Her husband was downstairs in their St. Paul home with friends and she could hear the chatter of life, just out of reach. Her heart pulled toward the living room but she could not join them. It was not her connective tissue disease, which can trigger pain or dislocation with each step, that kept her bedridden. It was the nearly 200 milligrams of OxyContin and Oxycodone she took each day to treat it.
What is it and who can use it? In Minnesota, medical marijuana is available in the form of pills, liquids and vaporizable oils; the plant form is illegal. Only those who have one of 13 severe conditions can enroll in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program. Some of those conditions include intractable pain, muscle spasms, cancer or terminal illness, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder. See the full list here .
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ST. PAUL — Patti McArdell needs medical marijuana to ease her aches and depression, but she has to pay $400 out of what little money she has each month to get it. Paul Johnson would have to spend at least three times that to treat his intractable pain, so he buys his marijuana illegally at half the price.
ST. PAUL - Veterans who want to enroll in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program could skip a pricey first step under a new House bill. Under current law, those who want to enter the program must first find a doctor who will certify their qualifying condition. This can cost a few hundred dollars. The federal VA health system does not let its doctors certify veterans for medical cannabis. Veterans must seek out another doctor and pay out of pocket.
In the first stop of her presidential campaign, Minnesota’s U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar went where Hillary Clinton came up short: Wisconsin. More than 300 people packed into a coffee bar and bicycle repair shop in Eau Claire to hear from the self-proclaimed “senator next door.” The importance of Wisconsin was not lost on Klobuchar, who told the crowd she will campaign in places that Democrats “didn’t focus on enough in the last few years.” Clinton chose to not visit Wisconsin during the fall 2016 general election and ended up losing it by less than one point.