Advocates say legalized marijuana could help Minnesota medical cannabis program

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Minnesota Department of Health records show there are nearly 40,000 people in the state’s medical cannabis program and advocates tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS those medical cannabis patients could benefit from potential legalization of recreational marijuana.

Patrick McClellan is a medical cannabis patient and a long-time advocate, who also had input into the state’s medical cannabis bill which became law in 2014.  He told KSTP legalizing recreational marijuana could create more competitive competition and help drive down the costs of medical cannabis prescriptions which are not covered by health insurance and can cost up to $50 for an eighth of an ounce.

“We’re going to need full legalization for adult use in order to open up a market so that we do not have to pay these kinds of prices that we’re currently paying,” said McClellan. “Competition will be a great thing for this market.”

McClellan said there are only two companies licensed to sell medical cannabis in Minnesota, but if the state expanded the number of licensed companies for medical cannabis, those new companies could be in place and ready to sell both recreational and medical marijuana if the state approves recreational pot.

“We need to have more of these licenses because those companies will also be to sell to the recreational market,” said McClellan.  “So, if somebody holds a license to make and sell medical cannabis, they will be allowed to sell in the adult-use market.”

Legalized recreational marijuana is expected to be debated when the next legislative session begins early next year.