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Minnesotans Now Able To Smoke Medical Marijuana

Originally published Feb. 28

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Starting Monday, people in Minnesota's medical marijuana program will be able to legally smoke it.

In the past, dispensaries like Green Goods in Minneapolis could only offer patients cannabis in the form of pills, oils and topical products. Now, they can offer cannabis in its purest form: flowers, otherwise known as buds.

The change, which was the result of a bipartisan legislation last year, offers three major benefits to patients.

Firstly, when marijuana is processed into an oil or pill, it loses some of its medicinal properties. By smoking the plant, patients can get the full benefit.

Secondly, when cannabis is inhaled, the benefits to soothing chronic pain are immediate, whereas when taking a pill, patients might not feel the benefits for a few hours.

Thirdly, selling cannabis in bud form is significantly cheaper for patients.

"It gives patients a much more affordable access point to the medicine that cannabis provides," said Dr. Kyle Kingsley, the CEO of Vireo Health of Minnesota. "Many patients switching from our more standard products to flower will be able to able to save about 50% on a monthly basis to treat their various medical conditions."

According to Green Goods, patients have been asking for a while for cannabis flowers to be available. Additionally, more people have signed up for the medical marijuana program in anticipation of flowers being legal.

People in the industry believe that because flowers are so much cheaper for patients, it'll end up bringing down the costs for other, more expensive products.

To be eligible for Minnesota's medical marijuana program, an individual must get approval from a participating nurse, doctor or physician assistant and suffer from at least one of 17 qualifying medical conditions.

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