Skip to main content

Minnesota medical marijuana users will soon be allowed to smoke it

The Minnesota Legislature approved the change to the state's program, and Gov. Tim Walz has signed it into law.

Minnesotans who rely on medical marijuana to treat a myriad of conditions will soon be able to smoke the plant. 

Gov. Tim Walz signed the omnibus health and human services bill into law this week, which includes a provision to expand the state's medical cannabis program that was created in 2014, with qualified patients allowed to buy the drug starting in July 2015. 

The state's program, though, is one of the most restrictive in the country because it only allows patients to use the drug in liquid, oil and pill forms — smokable medical marijuana is banned (a provision that was needed to get lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton to approve the program). 

Since the start, many patients have criticized the law for being overly restrictive and have said the cost of the non-smokable forms of medical cannabis is a major barrier (it's not covered by insurance).

But now, starting no later than March 1, 2022, patients will be able to buy the smokeable flower form of the plant, which supporters say will make the medical cannabis program more affordable and accessible. 

Prior to getting Walz's signature, the Minnesota House approved the policy-only conference committee report to the omnibus bill on May 17 — the last day of the session — on a 77-57 vote, Session Daily says. The Senate also approved it on a 66-1 vote. 

Much of the debate on the massive 500-plus page bill last week focused on the proposed changes to the medical cannabis program. Some, including Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, said allowing people to smoke medical cannabis would lead to recreational marijuana being legalized and should be dealt with in a standalone bill, Session Daily said.

However, proponents of the bill, including some Republicans, said it's not about legalizing the drug but about affordability for patients in need, some of whom are forced to buy the drug illegally because the state's program is so expensive. 

“It is not our goal to make this a path to legalization,” Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, said during the Senate debate on the bill last week, according to MPR News. “It’s a goal to make this available to people with a medical need who cannot afford it. So, we hope we’ve reached the right balance.” 

The House did approve a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults on a historic 72-61 vote on May 13. The bill did not get a single hearing in the Senate, where Republicans oppose it.

Follow Bring Me The News on Twitter

The updates to the state's medical cannabis law could go into effect before March 1, 2022, if a procedure is in place for the testing of dried raw cannabis from the state's medical cannabis manufacturers. 

When that happens, Minnesota will no longer be the only state with a medical marijuana program that bans the smoking of the drug, MinnPost notes. As of May 18, 36 states allow medical cannabis while 17 states and the District of Columbia allow recreational marijuana, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 34,453 people are actively enrolled in the state's medical cannabis program for one of at least 15 qualifying conditions

When the program started, there were nine conditions that qualified a patient to receive medical marijuana. Health officials are also considering additional qualifying conditions.

Next Up

walz flanagan lorie shaull flickr

Gov. proposes 'Walz Checks' for most Minnesotans

The governor wants to use $700 million of the state's surplus to fund the payments.

Hutch crash booking photo

Walz, Flanagan call on Hennepin Co. sheriff to resign

"I would say that it is time for him to resign," the Lt. Gov. said.

line 3 enbridge portage lake hubbard county mn tony webster flickr

Months after missing deadline, Enbridge says Line 3 aquifer breach is fixed

The company told Bring Me The News it "successfully stopped the flow of groundwater" at the site.

canada bodies found

Baby, teenager among 4 found dead along MN, Canada border

Authorities believe all four froze to death.

unsplash roller rink skates CROP

Former roller rink, tennis courts will become new sports hub

The Wooddale Fun Zone has been closed since spring of 2020.

hibachi daruma

Popular hibachi food truck opens second Twin Cities restaurant

The much-anticipated Daruma opens for takeout Thursday evening.

20211128_Vikings_49ers_REG12_0144 (1)

What changes are coming to the Vikings' offensive line?

Once again, Minnesota has work to do to figure out its interior spots

Kris Ehresmann

One of Minnesota's key COVID-19 leaders is retiring

Kris Ehresmann has given more than 30 years of her life to public health in Minnesota.

summit beach park orono

Plan to develop Orono park on hold after Daytons object

The Dayton family donated the land to the city for the park in the 1970s.

covid nurse doctor hospital wikimedia commons

Child from Twin Cities, school staff member die from COVID

Both deaths were reported by the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday.


3 clippers will deliver snow to Minnesota through Tuesday

Clippers move through Friday night, Saturday night and again Monday.



SD judge strikes down voter-approved marijuana legalization amendment

Voters approved the constitutional amendment in November, with recreational marijuana set to become legal in July. Legalization advocates plan to appeal.

Screen Shot 2020-03-31 at 11.27.08 AM

Coronavirus: $12M in federal funds going to food shelves to combat hunger

Gov. Tim Walz revealed his plan to use coronavirus relief funds to combat hunger in Minnesota last month, and it has now been approved.

Minnesota study finds marijuana helps patients during cancer treatment

A study examined the experience of more than 1,000 patients.

Minnesota's medical marijuana can be rubbed into your skin

Leafline Labs is launching a topical medicated cream.