Minnesota Proposal to Increase Homegrown Cannabis Allowance for MMJ Patients

In a potential shift for medical marijuana (MMJ) patients in Minnesota, a bill currently under review in the state legislature proposes doubling the permitted number of cannabis plants for home cultivation to 16. This amendment, if passed, would grant patients and their caregivers the ability to cultivate twice the amount of plants allowed under the state’s recent recreational marijuana legalization law, which became effective on August 1 of the preceding year.

Minnesota first legalized medical marijuana in 2014, offering relief to patients diagnosed with specific qualifying conditions who could medicinally use cannabis with a doctor’s approval. Although the law permits approximately 41,000 registered patients to designate a caregiver for picking up medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries, home cultivation was not initially sanctioned.

Last year’s passage of the recreational marijuana legalization bill enabled adults to grow up to eight cannabis plants at home, with four of them being mature. The newly proposed bill (HF 3766), introduced by Democratic Representative Jessica Hanson, seeks to extend this allowance for registered medical cannabis patients to 16 plants. Moreover, the bill allows registered caregivers to grow marijuana on behalf of a patient.

Representative Hanson advocates for medical marijuana patients, emphasizing that many individuals with limited incomes cannot afford dispensary prices. Additionally, those with disabilities or other limitations often lack the means to cultivate cannabis independently. She argues that expanding homegrown cannabis access would enable more patients to benefit from Minnesota’s medical cannabis program.

Republican state Representative Anne Neu Brindley questions the necessity of Hanson’s bill, citing the existing allowance for all adults to cultivate cannabis at home under recreational legalization. She also raises concerns about the safety testing standards for homegrown cannabis, suggesting that caregivers may not possess the requisite expertise.

Hanson rebuts by highlighting the logistical challenges of subjecting all homegrown medical cannabis to testing, particularly given the current testing infrastructure limitations in Minnesota. She contends that imposing stricter standards for patients with disabilities would be exclusionary.

Leili Fatehi, a cannabis advocate and partner at Blunt Strategies, commends Hanson’s bill for addressing the financial burden faced by patients and advocating for patient-centered healthcare. Fatehi underscores the need for accessible alternatives for patients unable to cultivate cannabis due to health conditions or living situations.

The bill awaits further review by the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee.


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