AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) – In 2014, Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill into law legalizing marijuana for the treatment of severe medical conditions.
However, according to the Department of Health, 54 percent of patients who enrolled in the medical marijuana program in 2017, did not re-enroll the next year.
Tonight, the group Minnesota Veterans for Cannabis held a town hall meeting talking about why the program has struggled.
Minnesota is one of a few states with a medical marijuana program to not allow the plant to be used which has driven manufacturers costs up.
Many patients have left the medical marijuana program and turned to the black market or prescription opiods due to the processed pills and oils being too expensive.
Minnesota Veterans for Cannabis says that veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain have benefited from cannabis as a safer alternative to opiate use. They hope to make it more affordable and available.
“I myself have struggled opioid addiction and thanks to cannabis, I was able to kick it. I’ve had friends who are personally affected. People are dying,” said John Jones, Minnesota Veterans for Cannabis outreach coordinator.
The advocacy group works for the legalization of cannabis as well as the addition of more dispensaries in the state, in order to give better access to rural patients. They will hold a town hall next month in Red Wing before another in Winona in December.