Proposed bill would expand Minnesota medical cannabis to more manufacturers

State Sen. Mark Koran, R-North Branch, introduced a bill Tuesday that would clear the way for more manufacturers in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program which is regulated by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Koran told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS adding at least two more medical cannabis producers into the program could help increase production, promote more competition and possibly drive prescription prices down, especially for those patients who now use cannabis flower, or bud, for treatment.

“There could be a lot of benefits to adding two more medical cannabis producers by 2024,” Koran said. “More competition can lead to better prices for patients and then we have to ask ourselves, ‘What does success look like?’ so that we are careful to not dilute the market.”

Dr. Stephen Dahmer, chief medical officer of Green Goods, said since the flower option started March 1, data shows “our average unit price dropped by nearly 30%.”

Dahmer said he does not think adding more licensed companies to the medical cannabis program is needed and defended the pricing.

“Forty-five dollars is not too off the market — a little bit, as the illicit market would be $35. Again, you’re getting a trusted product dispensed by pharmacists from a trusted company that’s gone through the system,” Dahmer said. “A huge market difference between what you’re receiving at a cannabis patient center than on the illicit market. Ideally, we would love to approach that illicit market costs because, again, patients should not have to buy cannabis on the street.”

Koran’s proposed bill has bipartisan support but has not yet had a committee hearing.