How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card in Minnesota 2021

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In Growing Marijuana in Minnesota – MN Cannabis State Laws (2021) we gave a brief overview on how Minnesota residents can apply to their state’s medical marijuana program. Recreational marijuana is still illegal in the North Star State so if you are a patient with a debilitating condition and want to use medical marijuana, you have no choice but to get an MMJ card.

Overview of Medical Marijuana in Minnesota

In 2014, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton signed into law a bill that legalized the use of medical marijuana in the state. However, the law was quite restrictive, allowing medical marijuana for only nine severe medical conditions including cancer, severe epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, Tourette’s syndrome, ALS and Crohn’s Disease.

The list of qualifying conditions was eventually expanded, adding intractable pain in 2016, PTSD in 2017, then chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration in 2019. 

Initially, the law only allowed cannabis in liquid, oil, or pill form, which included whole-plant extracts and resins. In 2021, a bill that allows the use of raw cannabis for adults 21 and older was passed and set to take effect on March 1, 2022.

You can read up on the rules here: Minnesota Session Laws 2014, CHAPTER 311–S.F.No. 2470

Minnesota’s medical marijuana law allows registered patients to purchase a 30-day supply and this amount is determined by the pharmacist working for the state-licensed manufacturer. Home cultivation of medical cannabis is still not allowed in the state and patients may only get marijuana from a Cannabis Patient Center.

Qualifying conditions

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Autism
  • Cancer/cachexia
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic vocal or motor tic disorder *
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Seizures
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms
  • Sickle cell disease *
  • Sleep apnea
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette’s Syndrome

Even patients under 18 afflicted with a qualifying condition that needs medical marijuana can register for the program, as long as they do so with the help of their parents or legal guardians. 

Caregivers

Those who want to apply as a caregiver in Minnesota must be at least 21 years of age and have not been convicted of a felony drug offense. 

Why should you get a medical marijuana card in Minnesota?

Being a registered patient in Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Program is the only way a patient with a debilitating condition can legally buy and use marijuana in the state. 

How to get a medical marijuana card in Minnesota

The process of registering into the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program is fairly straightforward. Here are the steps on how to become a registered patient or caregiver in state:

For patients

  1. Consult with a health care practitioner licensed to issue a medical marijuana certification in Minnesota. Provide them your email address and a completely filled up Patient E-mail and Acknowledgement Form (PDF)
  2. Wait for your physician to send your Health Care Practitioner Certification to the email address you provided. It will have a link you’ll need to register online. 
  3. Prepare the following documents for upload:
    1. Government issued ID (state ID or driver’s license)
    2. If applying for discounted fees, provide proof that you are a recipient of Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability (including those transitioned to retirement benefits), medical assistance, MinnesotaCare, IHS, Railroad disability, VA dependency and indemnity compensation, or Veteran’s disability benefits.
  4. Within the application portal you may also add a designated caregiver. The caregiver will then receive instructions on how to register in their email.
  5. Pay the Annual Registration Fee with a valid credit card. 

For caregivers

  1. Once you receive the email with the registration instructions, proceed to provide the required information and documents that may include a government issued ID, driver’s license, or passport. Note: parents or legal guardians of minor patients need not apply as a caregiver.
  2. Complete a criminal background check through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. You will need to provide the following:
    1. A filled out Designated Caregiver Background Check Informed Consent (PDF)
    2. A check for $15 to pay for the background check, payable to: MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
    3. An empty envelope addressed to: “Office of Medical Cannabis PO Box 64882 St. Paul, MN 55164-0882” with a postage stamp on it. This will be used by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to send the background check results to the Office of Medical Cannabis.
  3. Send these to the following address:

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
CHA Unit

1430 Maryland Avenue E
St. Paul, MN 55106

Applications are typically processed within 30 days and the cost of registering is $200 but this can be reduced to $50 if you can provide proof that you are a recipient of certain benefits. Once you are approved, you may visit a Cannabis Patient Center to get your medical marijuana. However, you must also fill out a Patient Self-Evaluation Form that can be found in your registry account before you buy more cannabis.

Frequently Asked Questions on Getting a Minnesota Medical Marijuana Card

Why do I need to medical marijuana card?

Since recreational marijuana is still illegal in Minnesota, patients who need cannabis for their debilitating conditions must apply for a medical marijuana card.

Who is eligible for medical marijuana card?

Patients in Minnesota who have at least one qualifying condition may get a recommendation for medical marijuana.

Why would I want a medical marijuana card?

A medical marijuana card is the only way patients, adult or minor, with a debilitating condition can purchase and use cannabis in Minnesota.

How long does the process take?

Applications into the Minnesota’s medical marijuana program typically take 30 days to be approved.

How much does it cost to obtain a medical marijuana card?

It will cost $200 a year to be a medical marijuana cardholder in Minnesota, but those who are recipients of certain financial aid from the government may be able to get in at a substantially reduced fee.

How many plants can I grow with medical marijuana card?

Home cultivation of medical marijuana is still not allowed in Minnesota.

How much marijuana can I keep with medical marijuana card?

Patients registered in Minnesota’s medical marijuana program may purchase a 30-day supply and this amount is determined by the pharmacist working for the state-licensed manufacturer.

Conclusion

If you’re an adult or minor patient in Minnesota who needs medical marijuana for your debilitating condition, you have no choice but to register into the state’s medical cannabis program. It can be costly at $200 a year, but those who are recipients of certain financial aid from the government may be able to get in at a substantially reduced fee. It is likely that this will be the situation for quite a while given the slow progress of marijuana reform in the state.

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