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  • D.H. Reilly

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries May Be Coming to Coon Rapids and Mankato Soon

Dispensaries May Be Coming to Coon Rapids and Mankato Soon

Although Minnesota’s medical marijuana program has gotten off to a slow start, the stars are starting to align in the North Star State, and there has never been a better time than now to get a Minnesota Marijuana Card.

One sign of the better days to come is that local communities are continuing to open their arms to medical marijuana, and that marijuana providers are continuing to open new businesses in return.

Developments in Coon Rapids and Mankato, for example, indicate that Minnesota’s medical marijuana market is only poised to grow, and lower prices should be on the horizon.

Minnesota Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Poised to Increase by 15%

The legal path has been cleared for two more cannabis patient centers to open their doors in Minnesota. And while that may not seem like a big deal, it does mean a more than 15% increase in the number of cannabis patient centers across the state. It’s also an encouraging sign that better things are ahead for the state’s medical marijuana program.

It’s Unanimous: Mankato’s City Council Votes for Medical Marijuana

Mankato is putting out the welcome mat for medical marijuana. In fact, on July 26, their city council voted unanimously to change a city ordinance banning cannabis business so that it complied with state law and cleared the way for the opening of a patient center.

“If a dispensary is looking to locate in Mankato, it is possible that this modification in the ordinance would make it feasible for them to sell medical cannabis consistent with Minnesota law,” Mankato City Manager Susan Arntz told KEYC, Mankato’s CBS/Fox affiliate.

Arntz told KEYC that the city has not received any applications for a dispensary, but that they did receive an inquiry recently.

It’s Also Unanimous: Coon Rapids Also Votes for Medical Marijuana

A little less than a week earlier, Coon Rapids’ city council passed a similar change in their local marijuana ordinances.

Coon Rapids voted July 20 to amend their city law to allow the opening of cannabis patient centers there. The council also voted to amend the city’s vaping laws. Previously, the city only allowed FDA-regulated items to be consumed in vape form, but an exclusion has now been made for medical marijuana, which falls outside of the agency’s jurisdiction.

The city won’t have to wait long for a company to apply to take advantage of their new approach to cannabis. Leafline Labs plans to open a cannabis patient center at 2700 Main St. NW.

Off to a Slow Start, Minnesota’s Medical Marijuana Program is Showing Signs of Growth

Minnesota’s medical marijuana program hasn’t exactly done gangbusters business since opening in 2014.

“There’s been a lot of money invested and there hasn’t been a lot of money made in this market with less than 20,000 patients annually,” Jay Westwater, then-CEO of Green Goods told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 2019.

And much of that slow start has been attributed to the state’s restrictive medical marijuana law. Minnesota has one of the nation’s most restrictive programs, limiting the amount of competition among cannabis providers and the available product options, both of which have led the state receiving national attention for its high marijuana costs.

Beware of Falling Prices!

But that restrictive program has begun to loosen up as of late in ways that should lead to lower prices at the dispensary. First, PTSD, autism, sleep apnea, sickle cell disease, chronic motor or vocal tic disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease have all been added to the list of qualifying conditions since the law’s passage.

Second, the program was recently expanded to allow for the sale of marijuana flower in cannabis patient centers. And that should mean lower prices due to lower production costs, as marijuana in flower form doesn’t require all of the costly processing needed to produce the medicine in other forms.

Dr. Kyle Kingsley, the CEO of Green Goods, told KARE 11, Minneapolis’ NBC affiliate, that “The biggest short-term effect is that you have these new very affordable products in the form of flower that are coming in. With flower you can generally get close to the same medicine, or even the same exact medication in some circumstances for around half the price."

And expanded qualifying conditions and the lower cost of marijuana flower should drive up participation in the state’s medical marijuana program, which should in turn drive costs down even further.

As Kingsley told KARE, “Minnesota’s been very demand-limited, very few patients per capita, and [the increase in patient participation is going] to allow operators to scale up and drive down pricing.”

Sign of the Times: No One Wants to be Left Out of the Relief

And as more Minnesotans treat their qualifying conditions with medical marijuana, driving down prices, it seems likely that even more Minnesotans will opt to get their cards, perpetuating future expansion of the program and continued cost declines.

The recent actions taken by the Coon Rapids and Mankato are likely to foreshadow the continued growth of Minnesota’s program, as individuals are eager to enjoy all of the relief that affordable medical marijuana can offer, and as cities scramble not to miss out on the financial benefits.

Jared Moffat, of the pro-legalization advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project, told Newsweek that “Legalizing cannabis for adults has proven to be a wise investment. Not only are states seeing the benefits of a regulated market and far fewer cannabis-related arrests—they're benefitting in a direct, economic way, too.”

“Before legalization, money from cannabis sales flowed through an underground market that endangered public safety and disrupted communities," Moffat told Newsweek. "But now, we see all across the country that revenue from the legal cannabis industry is supporting schools, health care, and a range of other beneficial public programs.”

What are You Waiting For? Find Relief and Help Bring Down Costs!

If you have one of the qualifying conditions recognized by Minnesota, why not find out if medical marijuana is right for you?

Reserve an evaluation today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our highly qualified doctors just as soon as we’re cleared to see patients.

You’ll meet with your doctor virtually in a telemedicine appointment using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Not only that, but you’ll even save $25 off the cost of your appointment!

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