Minnesota medical cannabis patients could pay up to $1,000 a month out of pocket

medicalCannabis.jpg
unitedpatientsgroup.com
Will it be cheaper just to get cannabis on the black market? Maybe Governor Dayton was right...
Barring U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for marijuana treatments between now and next summer, Minnesota medical cannabis patients will have to pay entirely out of pocket for their medicine, Manny Munson-Regala, the state employee tasked with overseeing the rollout of the program, tells us.

"Until it's FDA approved [insurance companies] aren't going to pay for anything," Munson-Regala says. "All of these patients are paying out of pocket, and that's a big reason why we want to be sure they get good information about what works and what doesn't, and we have good standards around the composition of the cannabis we're getting."

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Asked how much the out-of-pocket costs might be, Munson-Regala says, "It tends to be related to the effectiveness per dose, and it depends on your condition and what composition you're purchasing. But from what I understand, [in other states] the average monthly expense for a patient is a couple hundred bucks up to $1,000."

The FDA has approved medical marijuana trials for conditions including epilepsy, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, intractable pain, and Crohn's disease, among others, but it's doubtful any of the trials will be completed by July 2015, when Minnesota's medical marijuana system will be introduced.

"With states that are going toward full medical cannabis, we're saying we can't wait that long, we need to provide folks with relief today," Munson-Regala says. "And that's where it gets kinda tricky, and that's why you're getting a lot of noise from health care providers about why they're hesitant to take part in the program -- they don't have the standards they normally rely on, so if you want to think about what Minnesota is doing, we're trying to bridge the gap between the full FDA system and somewhere where patients are on their own."

In part, that means making sure patients are provided with the most thorough information possible about the cannabis extracts they'll likely pay out of pocket to purchase.

"If you're gonna be spending a couple hundred dollars to $1,000 you want to know what you're buying is good for your specific condition," Munson-Regala says. "I think we're going to learn a ton over the next couple years about what works, what doesn't, and it might get to a point of really saying, for this condition you need this specific version of cannabis in this form. Then some of that is going to be patient preference -- some prefer edibles, some vaporizers, heck, there might be patches some day."

In terms of how the state will procure cannabis, Munson-Regala says the state has "a requirement under the law to see if there's any federally available source."

"The way the bill is structured, we go to the feds first, and if they're unable to be an adequate source of medical cannabis, then we have until December of this year to register a manufacturer," he continues. The manufacturer "would be private, they could be entirely for-profit, they could be a nonprofit -- it's another process that's being fleshed out right now."

If the feds can't come through with sufficient medical cannabis -- currently, the Ole Miss campus is home to the country's only federally run medical marijuana grow-op -- then "we'll have to tell interested parties sometime by late summer, 'Here's what we're looking for in terms of an application, and here's what we're looking for in terms of the potential rules of the roads,'" Munson-Regala says.

"We'll probably have an 'interested parties conference' where you might hear folks say, 'I want to grow,' others want to do distillation, others distribute," he continues. "One of the benefits of having a conference and meeting in one place is you can imagine, given the way we've set this up, coalitions or consortiums or partnerships will develop."

From there, the state will have to figure out some sort of dispensary system.

(For more, click to page two.)



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38 comments
Jennessa Lea
Jennessa Lea

This issue is something I brought up in my testimony. But my wasting rare illness isn't on the "list" anyway and I wouldn't participate in the program as is anyway if my illness was. Take a peek at my testimony. http://youtu.be/EWdmbxUCO6A

Shawn Taylor
Shawn Taylor

How does Dayton control what the FDA does?

Justin Ford
Justin Ford

Governor Dayton should be held accountable when someone who is pursuing marijuana for medical purposes gets laced product and suffers because of his ignorance.

alexxkinney
alexxkinney

Minnesota needs to open up the marijuana gates or it is just gonna create turmoil and impoverished disabled people will only be abused by the idea otherwise. That's my opinion. Give the people some cookie dough while you're baking your cookies. If cookie dough makes you sick. Don't eat Ben and Jerry's. ;)

alexxkinney
alexxkinney

Medical marijuana is wholistic health medicine. Natural medicine. Ever been to a local natural medicines shop? Same concept. The herbal part of marijuana has that natural health feeling you can also find that in edibles. We all know the benefits of sativa indica and hybrids. cbds and other cannabinoids. California has creams that can be used topically and patches too. Minnesota government is right for doing intense research but should also not deny the immediate need of what the nation knows now as medical marijuana. It does have a future it can be now but all ideas need to be accepted when approaching the drug to fully understand it.

Tim Thorn
Tim Thorn

I think marijuana falls beyond herbal remedies. It has undisputed medicinal cures, not just symptom relief. I'm not adhering with how Dayton signed the law into effect. It's obvious he has no understanding of how government and laws work. I'm simply stating that out wouldn't matter if he signed full legalization into law. Insurance companies still would not fund it's use. This isn't a Dayton issue, it's a government and insurance issue. If insurance coveted it they would lose their subsidies and tax breaks. This article is misleading. All I have to say is follow the money trail. As much of a douche that Dayton is...

Amanda Rae
Amanda Rae

The FDA does not evaluate herbal remedies.

alexxkinney
alexxkinney

Minnesota want a grower that has a Cali med card that's reciprocal to Minnesota? Alexxkinney@gmail.com f$&( the Feds.

alexxkinney
alexxkinney

Cali med card is reciprocal to Minnesota..

alexxkinney
alexxkinney

Minnesota should just do what Colorado is doing they got legalization at every level this isn't a competition this is health care open up dispensaries and start selling like we do in the rest of the 21 states. Patients are obviously demanding it. Dayton needs to recognize this now my card is reciprocal to Minnesota so Minnesota I want my weed now!

Cindy Petree
Cindy Petree

haha I can guarantee I will not be taking pills or inhaling it,easier to smoke

Tim Thorn
Tim Thorn

My point is that he does not have control over the FDA. This is happening in other states too, it was just not mentioned in this article.

Jason Port
Jason Port

If I get arrested, can I use.... Dayton said to buy it on the street.. as my defense ?? : )

Jason Port
Jason Port

I wouldnt really mind, If Dayton was more specific on exactly what street to buy it on ... Im completely out.

Noel Barrick
Noel Barrick

Hmmm.... "This doesn't have anything to do with Dayton. This had everything to do with insurance companies being in bed with government." 1. Dayton is governor of MN. That's a big part of government. 2. He has shown how he is "in bed" with business people (Wilf's), as well as law enforcement unions. It's not too far of a stretch to think he may be in bed with insurance companies, as well. 3. What Nathan said.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

As I understand it, enough weed to stay high for a month costs closer to $100 than $1,000 right now, on the street.  Those needing high-quality marijuana should make friends with a military veteran or an older blue-collar worker and they'll be just fine.

The next step is actual legalization.  Then we can get the criminals out of the marijuana industry, seriously weaken street gangs, convert the current "danger premium" into public revenue, and slash spending on prosecutors and para-militarized cops and the prison-industrial complex.  That, of course, is where the real resistance to legalization lies ("Lies" being the operative word).

Keeping marijuana out of the hands of the pharmaceutical industry will be crucial, as well.  If they get sole control, they'll synthesize it, remove all healing aspects, jack up the price, add side-effects, and transform it from a cure to another instrument in illness-maintenance.

Once the sky doesn't fall with the pseudo-decriminalization we have now, the next step will be full legalization.  It'll happen soon.

alexxkinney
alexxkinney

I'm in California. My name is Alexx Kinney. I'm a famous Minnesota dj. I've worked for Colorado dispensaries and now live in California. I'm confident that I could grow medical marijuana privately for Minnesota right away. Patients growing their own marijuana is how other states alleviate what would be insurance costs. when you are a grower you get weed for cheap or free. You can then be a caregiver and provide friends with affordable meds. Maybe the Feds should look into making that happen for people nationwide. I'd like a qp a month and all the good stuff too. Minnesota you'll have to understand you can't have cake without cake mix eggs oil so why would it be ok to descriminate on raw cannabis/marijuana? What about reservations how are they going to protect natives from federal law dealing with marijuana as well? Is Minnesota really looking at this accurately or should I just be the governor?

alexxkinney
alexxkinney

I'm in California my name is dj lexx I'm a famous Minnesota dj. I've worked for Colorado dispensaries and now live in California. I'm confident that I could grow medical marijuana privately for Minnesota right away. Patients growing there own marijuana is how other states alleviate what would be insurance cuz when you are a grower you get weed for cheap.

Hanni Kenny
Hanni Kenny

I pay out of pocket already. No fucks given.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

Obviously the next step is full legalization on the 2016 ballot.   Colorado is making millions and watching their crime rate plummet.    Minnesota can't be a stupid state that is behind the times.   We need to legalize before Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois.   That will create millions in extra revenue from tourism.   Also, in the next 20 years marijuana will be legal throughout the United States.   A farming state like Minnesota needs to be among the leaders at making money off of this cash crop.



Also, if you think a person should be locked in a cage because they want to smoke a plant you are a monster.   People's lives are being ruined because of this evil war on drugs.


This bill is a first step.  Now the DFL needs to do the right thing.  Voters need to show them we support politicians that take bold steps.   Marijuana should be legal.  Medical Marijuana should be cheap and easily available for those that need it.  The voters need to keep pushing these politicians in the right way.   Dayton was opposed but caved when the voters put pressure on him.  Reward Dayton for being smart enough to change his mind.  Reward the DFL for taking the lead on this.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  This issue isn't solved, the DFL has taken the first step.  It's up to voters to make them take another.  

Sarah Lawl
Sarah Lawl

Fuck Dayton! Fuck his reelection too! I rec smoke and will continue to do so. Annnnnnd.....will look for the nearest person that qualifies to buy it and then give them the money to buy it for me. ERRMAHGERRRD! ITS BREAKING THE LAW! Oh well...change the law then. Where there is a will there is a way. I will smoke/ vape til the facking cows come home. Law enforcement can kiss my ass right along with the politicians who are NOT working FOR THE PEOPLE!!!

Tim Thorn
Tim Thorn

I do agree on that part. Law enforcement is not here to create laws, only to enforce.

Nathan Conley
Nathan Conley

This has everything to do with Dayton. The house and Senate democrats were fully willing to support full medical access. Dayton came in and "required" law enforcement support. He "required" medical supervision. His bed. Lay in it.

Tim Thorn
Tim Thorn

This doesn't have anything to do with Dayton. This had everything to do with insurance companies being in bed with government.

Nathan Conley
Nathan Conley

Well in fairness, that's what Dayton told people to do. :-)

Ron Peck
Ron Peck

Could of helped people. Nice work Dayton.

Nathan Conley
Nathan Conley

Just another example of the stunning failure that is this law. Thanks Dayton!

GretavonOtto
GretavonOtto

Government screws up anything they touch, even weed. I like my dealer far more than I like the government weasels. Get some seeds and grow your own.

Gary
Gary

@swmnguy Ha! Seriously -- I could smoke blunts for days and not come close to going through $1000 worth of weed in one month. Glad to know people in charge of this type of thing know exactly what they're talking about!

Gary
Gary

@MicheleBachmann This is a very progressive state, so the fact that there's so much opposition to legalization is confusing (to say the VERY least). A DFL candidate needs to step up and take a bold stance on legalization sooner rather than later, otherwise, Minnesota will indeed be left behind on this issue. Colorado proves every single day there's nothing to be afraid of here.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

Dayton changed his mind and passed something.  Better than any other governor we have ever elected.   You can't punish Dayton for taking the first step.  Republicans had 8 years and they didn't do shit.   Independence Party had 4 years and they didn't do shit.   The DFL had 4 years and they passed medical marijuana.  Give them 4 more and see what happens.    Cynical whiny complainers like you are why nothing ever gets done.   Did you call Mark Dayton's office?   Did you call your legislator?    I doubt it.  Phonies like you are only good at complaining.  

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@Gary @MicheleBachmann I think they will.  Medical was dead in the water but some politicians wouldn't let it die.   Rep. Carly Melin and Sen. Scott Dibble are heroes and deserve a lot of credit on this.     Obviously the first plan is going to be flawed.  That's why we need to keep demanding improvements.  

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