Minnesota to consider legalizing smokable pot for medical use
The state of Minnesota may be joining the long line of states that have already legalized marijuana flowers for medical use. While the move is long overdue, the Senate’s Health and Human Services Finance and Policy committee unanimously passed the first medical marijuana legalization bill since the idea was first introduced over a decade ago. The state’s Senate will now be tasked with passing the bill.
As the law currently stands, patients that require marijuana for medicine are permitted to take cannabis in pill or liquid form. It remains illegal to smoke marijuana. Though the bill passed the committee unanimously, it wasn’t done so absent criticism. Democratic State Senator Matt Klein acknowledges that the medical research on cannabis’ effects is scarce. However, he also recognizes that the opioid pandemic in our country is far more toxic than medical marijuana use.
The Senate is expected to pass the bill once it makes its way to the floor. Proponents for legalizing marijuana flowers note that it will make the entire program more affordable. Marijuana in liquid or pill form is more expensive to manufacture than growing and distributing the leaf. After the bill passes you will see many different types of marijuana strains available for purchase.
Legalizing smokable marijuana will do more than reduce costs and increase the number of people who can afford their medicine, it could also potentially slow down the opioid pandemic, as noted by Klein. Opioids are too often over prescribed for illnesses and pain that could easily be managed with cannabis. If we were to take the failing War on Drugs seriously, we could focus time and resources on opioid use reduction.
Instead, governments use time and resources to combat marijuana use, allowing for the opioid market to flourish. Patients in the past have indicated a preference to marijuana use over opioids, citing fear of addiction. Prescribed opioids oftentimes lead to harder drug use. Minnesota lawmakers are on the right track, but only more damage can be done if they don’t act quickly.