House bill would remove key piece of medical cannabis law

Minnesota’s health commissioner would no longer have the authority to expand the use of medical cannabis, under legislation introduced Monday in the state House.

The 2014 law that created the state’s medical cannabis program allows the commissioner to add qualifying conditions. Intractable pain and post-traumatic stress disorder are additions to the original list.

Rep. Matt Dean, R- Dellwood, says the Legislature should make those decisions, not the commissioner. Dean, who opposed the 2014 law, doesn’t want any more additions.

“There is a slant toward expansion of legalization of marijuana, of different ways that you can get marijuana for different stuff,” Dean said. “That’s going to keep expanding until you can smoke it, until it’s legal for recreational use. That’s the glide path we’re on.”

Dean, who chairs the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, says he hopes to move quickly on the bill this session.

A separate House bill introduced Monday would add kidney disease as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis.

Rep. Rob Ecklund, DFL-International Falls, says he thinks it’s a worthy addition. Ecklund says people in his area travel 110 miles one way for kidney dialysis treatment.

“By the time they get home from treatment, they’re in a lot of pain and agony,” Ecklund said.