Minnesota is often regarded as one of the most restrictive states when it comes to medical marijuana. Where else would you find the following ‘features’:
- The drug is available only in the form of tablets and liquids, and the plant is illegal.
- The state boasts just two manufacturers.
- Only patients with one of the thirteen severe conditions can enroll.
Nevertheless, here are 5 more facts that you need to know about Minnesota’s medical program right away:
Patients dropping out in huge numbers
The official figures from the Minnesota Health Department are rather startling. New patients are dropping out of the program in bunches.
More than 3,400 patients, 54% of the total participants, who enrolled in the program in 2017, did not re-enroll the next year.
Locating a certified medical marijuana doctor is difficult
Around 22,966 patients have ever enrolled in the Minnesota medical marijuana program. However, just 30 doctors have referred to around half of the patients to the program. The big deal, however, is the fact that a total of 1,479 doctors are authorized to certify patients! Where are the others hiding?
Another surprising statistic, as per the official data, the 10 doctors with the most number of enrollments have certified more than 37% of the total 22,966 patients. Only an unfathomable force might have a possible explanation for these numbers. On our part, we can just assume that either some doctors promote medical marijuana more than others or only a handful of doctors see all these patients with severe conditions.
Such figures may also be possible owing to an active online presence of a few doctors or some positive word-of-mouth. For instance, Life Medical Clinic in St. Louis Park lists medical marijuana on the home page of its website, while most of the others don’t. Notably, the Office of Medical Cannabis within the Department of Health does not provide a list of certified doctors to the public. So, as a patient, you are all by yourself!
Dispensaries are far-off rural areas
There are a total of 8 dispensaries in Minnesota. However, half of them are located in the Twin Cities Metro area. Thus, only 4 others will cater to patients living in other regions of the state.
Patients residing in the north-west and south-west corners of the state have to travel long distances to get their supplies of medical marijuana. For instance, a patient living in Bemidji, a north-western city in Minnesota, would have at least a 2-hour drive to the nearest dispensary, located in Hibbing. Similarly, a patient in Mankato would have to travel around 137 km to get to the nearest dispensary, in Manchester.
Choose medical cannabis or guns. You can’t have both!
Marijuana finds itself as a Schedule-I drug in the Controlled Substances Act. And under the federal law, any individual who is “an unlawful consumer or addict of any controlled substance” cannot legally buy or own a gun.
This rule applies to all medical cannabis patients as well, even if using medical marijuana is ‘legal’ under their respective state laws.
Kids can consume medical cannabis. But not at school!
As of December 31, 2018, a total of 499 children under the age of 18 were enrolled in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program. Out of these 499 – assuming their treatment is still going on — 224 kids are taking medical marijuana for Autism Spectrum Disorder and 155 kids are consuming it for seizures.
However, no matter the severity of the disease, children are not permitted to take their legal dose of medical marijuana to school. Parents are expected to schedule medicines for their kids accordingly; if absolutely necessary to feed the medicines during school time, parents need to first take their kids outside the school premises.
As far as medical marijuana is concerned, states like Minnesota and Ohio are lagging far behind their counterparts. Thus, there is a dire need to take measures that would make the medical cannabis programs more accessible, more successful at the earliest.