Veterans Stand Behind Considine’s Bill, Pushing for Easier Access to Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana can have numerous benefits for many patients throughout Minnesota, but many people have limited access to this substance. One vulnerable group fighting for greater access to medical marijuana is our veterans. Cannabis can greatly relieve many mental conditions that veterans experience, including pain management and post-traumatic stress disorder. Considine’s Bill, sponsored by Mankato lawmakers, could grant veterans easier access to the treatment they need.

The Current State of Medical Marijuana for Minnesota Veterans

In 2014, the Minnesota State Legislature passed SF 2470, legalizing medical marijuana in the state. While medical cannabis is a legal substance under Minnesota state law, the patients are still subject to strict regulations regarding acquisition and legal use. Since many insurance companies do not cover medical marijuana, these regulations make treatment expensive and wholly inaccessible.

Only patients who have a condition on the list of qualifying ailments can receive medical cannabis. In addition, Minnesota does not allow patients to access cannabis in its dried, flower form. Instead, patients must seek medical marijuana in pill form, which can be significantly more expensive than natural cannabis.

The process of purchasing medical marijuana in Minnesota can be very difficult. A patient will need to visit a qualifying health care practitioner and seek a prescription for cannabis. The doctor can only prescribe cannabis pills if he or she can verify that the patient suffers from one or more of the following qualifying conditions.

Qualifying Conditions

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than one year
  • Glaucoma
  • Seizures, including epileptic seizures
  • Cancer associated with severe nausea or vomiting, severe wasting, or severe and chronic pain
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including multiple sclerosis muscle spasms
  • Autism
  • Intractable pain

Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Veterans

The aftermath of serving in the military can have severe impacts on veterans. Many veterans suffer from mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression, after returning home. They can suffer severe injuries while in combat, leaving veterans with lifelong disabilities and chronic pain. These conditions can make life painful and difficult to navigate.

Medical marijuana can help with relieving the symptoms of many mental illnesses, especially anxiety and PTSD. In addition, marijuana reduces chronic pain and is an effective form of pain management that does not have the same addictive and dangerous qualities as opioids. Veterans can greatly benefit from marijuana for a number of reasons – but Minnesota’s list of qualifying conditions limits their ability to do so.

What is Considine’s Bill?

Currently, Minnesota has a very tightly controlled medical marijuana program and only allows patients to seek cannabis if they meet a set of very stringent requirements. This current state of medical marijuana can make the substance inaccessible to the populations who need this treatment, including Minnesota veterans. In addition, purchasing the medical cannabis that Minnesota allows can be very expensive – and insurance companies do not cover this treatment.

For veterans, obtaining the necessary prescription for medical marijuana can be a challenge. However, Considine’s bill will increase access to this program by allowing veterans to simply supply a letter from a doctor or a Veterans Affairs program to qualify for their necessary treatment – no qualifying conditions necessary.

While Considine’s bill does not cut down on the high cost of medical marijuana treatment in Minnesota, it will give veterans an easier path to seeking the treatment they need to recover. With the high amount of opioid abuse among veterans, medical marijuana is a preferable alternative to treat chronic pain in this population.

Currently, Considine’s Bill is making the rounds in the Minnesota State Legislature. Veteran constituents are hopeful that the bill will pass and they can enjoy easier access to the treatment they need to live fulfilling lives.

Contact Our Office

If you believe you’ve been wrongfully denied or reprimanded for the legal use of medical marijuana, contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys. Call (507) 344-8888 or complete a contact form online.