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How Minnesota can fix its medical marijuana market

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.

Lawmakers can fix this, but they might have to look beyond their home state for solutions. A slew of proposals at the State Capitol could save the manufacturers money and help them lower prices. Patients say they do not go far enough.


Minnesota Gov. rips state republicans for rejecting cannabis legalization

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (Democratic–Farmer–Labor) said state Republicans need to actually look at cannabis legalization bills before they reject them, writes Calvin Hughes.


In debate over legal marijuana, Minnesota lawmakers consider forgiveness

If lawmakers legalize recreational marijuana this year, tens of thousands of Minnesotans are poised for forgiveness.

Under legalization bills introduced in the House and Senate, Minnesota would offer to clear people who have been convicted of possessing up to an ounce and a half of marijuana, as well as possession in a motor vehicle.

That could wipe clean the records of nearly 70,000 Minnesotans since 2010 alone, according to data the district courts provided to MPR News. But the total number is likely much higher: the bill directs the attorney general to go back indefinitely to find anyone with petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor marijuana possession offenses on their record who could be eligible for expungement.


Parolee sues Minnesota Department of Corrections over medical marijuana denial

Darrell Schmidt suffers from anxiety and PTSD. He’s also on parole. But his court-granted supervised release is in jeopardy, because he uses medical marijuana to treat his mental illness. Despite his state authorization to possess and consume medical cannabis in Minnesota, Schmidt’s parole officer threatened to revoke his parole over his use of the drug, effectively denying him access to his medication. Now, attorneys representing Schmidt are suing the Minnesota Department of Corrections over the denial. And they hope the case will set a precedent for future parolees who utilize medical cannabis treatments legally.


Minnesota lawmakers introduce legislation to legalize adult-use Cannabis

State lawmakers in Minnesota introduced legislation on Monday that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis by adults. The bills are sponsored in the Minnesota Senate by Sen. Melisa Franzen and Sen. Scott Jensen and by Rep. Mike Freiberg in the Minnesota House of Representatives.


Minnesota's senate majority is spouting misinformation about marijuana legalization

Legalizing cannabis is not on the agenda for Minnesota's Republican-controlled Senate, writes Calvin Hughes. 

While Minnesota's neighbor Michigan legalized recreational cannabislast November, residents of the North Star State shouldn't get their hopes up about legal weed any time soon. At least according to Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R).


Will Minnesota approve recreational marijuana in 2019?

It's a buzzy headline for Forbes: "These States Are Most Likely to Legalize Marijuana in 2019," with Minnesota as one of the top states on the list.

Forbes cites Governor-elect Tim Walz's stated support for legal weed as the chief reason, and points out Walz was the first to get a cannabis bill passed through a committee in Congress.

So is Minnesota really ready to let people light up?


Alzheimer’s added to medical marijuana treatment list in Minnesota

The decision to allow treatment of Alzheimer’s with medical marijuana in Minnesota is getting an unenthusiastic response from an organization representing Alzheimer’s patients.

“Much about its use in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is unknown,” said Sue Spalding, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota chapter. “Marijuana is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment or management of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Its potential effectiveness and safety profile have not been thoroughly evaluated.”


Legalize pot? Gov.-elect Tim Walz says Minnesota should

Going green could take on a new meaning in Minnesota if incoming Gov. Tim Walz has something to say about it.

As more states legalize marijuana, Walz says it’s time for Minnesota to follow suit. He’s argued that legalizing pot could bring in a new source of tax revenue if regulated properly, and it could reduce the number of people locked up for drug offenses.

“I just think the time is here and we’re seeing it across the country. Minnesota has always been able to implement these things right,” said Walz, who as a congressman pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical marijuana for military veterans.


Hemp could be big in Minnesota if it overcomes legal hurdles

John Strohfus is rehabilitating the outlaw of Minnesota agriculture. "People think this is new," said Strohfus, as he sifted hemp seed through his fingers at his Afton farm. "But the only thing new is that farmers can grow it now." Farmers like Strohfus are tiptoeing into the hemp market, planting fields in Woodbury, Afton, Dakota County and across the state. State officials are encouraging them, saying that hemp would stimulate the state's economy. Yet the growers are shackled by the fact that hemp — unlike any other crop — has a lingering reputation as a source of dangerous drugs. The plant is related to marijuana, which is listed in the same category as heroin and LSD by federal officials.


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