Dear Senior Legal Line:
I heard recently that the state of Minnesota legalized medical marijuana. I have many medical conditions and I’m wondering if there is a process to apply or what conditions qualify for a prescription. Where do I start?
As more states begin to recognize cannabis in the medical field, it is wise to understand the process in your own state. Currently, there are eight cannabis patient centers in Minnesota. These eight cannabis patient centers distribute all the medical cannabis in the state.
In order to get a prescription for medical cannabis, you first need to be a legal Minnesota resident. Also, the law requires that a licensed health care professional certify that you have one or more qualifying medical conditions. Some of those conditions are HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, Tourette syndrome, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and others. You can find a complete list of qualifying conditions at the Minnesota Department of Health website at www.health.state.mn.us.
Once your healthcare provider has certified that you have a qualifying medical condition, you will receive an email from the Office of Medical Cannabis. In this email, you will receive a link that will walk you through the steps to register and enroll in the medical cannabis program. During the registration, you will fill out some forms. At this time, you will also pay a fee for enrollment in the program. The full fee is $200. If you receive certain incomes or government benefits, you may be eligible to pay a reduced fee of $50. You will also learn about the cost of the cannabis product. Currently, insurance does not cover the cost of the actual cannabis product.
Once you’ve completed the information, you will be scheduled to visit a cannabis patient center where a pharmacist will review your information and make a recommendation for type and dosage of cannabis. When you visit the cannabis patient center, payment for any cannabis will be due that day, paid to the cannabis patient center.
The cannabis patient centers are located in Bloomington, Eagan, Hibbing, Minneapolis, Moorhead, Rochester, St. Cloud and St. Paul.
Once you are in the program, you will need to be recertified by your healthcare provider every year and pay the enrollment fee.
There are many types and strengths of medical cannabis currently offered in Minnesota. Some types include oils, sublingual sprays, and capsules. The department of health website has a full list of products, types, and costs. Cost of these products range from just over $30 to just over $300. It’s smart to discuss your options with your doctor and see if the cannabis program will be helpful to you, and also affordable.
This column is written by the Senior Citizens’ Law Project. It is not meant to give complete answers to individual questions. If you are 60 years of age or older and live within the Minnesota Arrowhead Region, you may contact us with questions for legal help by writing to: Senior Citizens’ Law Project, Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota, 302 Ordean Bldg., Duluth, MN 55802. Please include a phone number and return address. To view previous articles, go to: www.lasnem.org. Reprints by permission only.