As a follow up to our coverage on Minnesota marijuana policy, we wanted to bring you the latest on what is going on in the State right in America's heartland. Will Minnesota marijuana legalization happen in 2017?
To set the stage, medical marijuana became legal in Minnesota on July 1, 2015 after a bill full of restrictions and regulations passed the State Legislature in 2014. Last year, the state added intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is set to be added to the list towards the end of the summer. However, just a couple months ago in February (2017), two Minnesota marijuana bills were introduced to legalize for adults 21 and over in an effort give voters a chance to bring recreational marijuana to this State.
Medical Marijuana Inc. recently wrote an article that specifically addresses why further legalization of cannabis in this state is so crucial.
According to a new study conducted by Minnesota’s Health Department, patients are receiving significant benefits from their medical marijuana treatments. The study, utilizing patient surveys and other data, investigated the reported benefits during the first full year of Minnesota’s medical marijuana program. The state-regulated program launched on July 1, 2015. The data used for the study ran through June 31, 2016.“Based on this evidence from the first year, Minnesota’s approach is providing many people with substantial benefits, minimal side effects and no serious adverse events,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger, in a statement.
Minnesota marijuana has also been getting a lot of attention in the cannabis policy arena because of the discussion about collaborating with neighboring Iowa on marijuana policy. As explained in an editorial from the Des Moines Register:
Minnesota’s problem is financial: Medical marijuana sales were launched there in July 2015, and the state is now home to two licensed manufacturers. Combined, the two companies have lost $11 million in just two years of operation. Lawmakers there believe the problem is related to the restrictions they put in place to limit the medical conditions for which marijuana extracts can be used — the pool of potential customers in Minnesota is just too small. Iowa’s problem is more complex. There are similar, unjustified restrictions in place that prevent medical marijuana from being used to treat numerous medical conditions, and there are also limits on the potency of the oils that can be used. But the more immediate issue is that the state has yet to develop or enact the rules and regulations necessary to clear the way for manufacturing and distribution in Iowa.
As a result, legislative leaders in the two states have attempted to piece together a system that will enable Iowa residents to travel to Minnesota to buy medical marijuana. In theory, Iowa will give Minnesota the customers it needs, and Minnesota will give Iowa the product it needs.
Clearly, the public is ready for it, as was recently evidenced by a find from police in Minnesota...Maplewood Police posted a photo to Facebook showing marijuana separated into 111 bags, each containing 1 gram of cannabis, after the bags were found in a donation to local second hand store (HA!!). My guess is that no one will come forward to be reunited with this find, but it certainly shows that Minnesota marijuana is already here- will Minnesota marijuana legalization happen in 2017? We shall see.