ROCHESTER, Minn. - Medical cannabis is a touchy topic. Dr. Kyle Kingsley, the CEO of Vireo Health and Minnesota Medical Solutions, says the drug positively impacts patients.
"I opened my mind to cannabis-based on a single patient, it was a gentleman who was shot in the back during one of the Gulf Wars, horrible muscle spasm in his legs and back, essentially what helped him when he was in California, he just smoked some cannabis, he was on opioids," Kingsley said.
Cassandra Sheehan suffers from a rare bone disorder, she tells me she pays $600 a month for medical cannabis.
"I don't work, I'm on disability so that obviously with a one-income family, it makes it very difficult," Sheehan said.
Cassandra says her story is proof - that medical marijuana can transform a life.
"The cannabis has definitely helped," Sheehan said. "I was on a lot of medication before this and I stopped taking all of my medications but one," Sheehan said.
But the drugs don't come cheap. Dr. Kingsley has his own ideas on controlling costly prices.
"The biggest thing we could do in Minnesota to control costs is including flower or bud as a treatment option for our patients, that's the best way to control costs," Kingsley said.
It would mean patients like Cassandra can live without chronic pain and without breaking the bank.
"I think it could help more people if they had more access to it and it was cheaper so they could easily get it and we need more doctors that support it as well," Sheehan said.
MinnMed will be opening four new locations next year to increase access to patients. Their location on East Circle Drive is reducing costs for Minnesotans - there's a 50 percent discount for new patients and a 30 percent discount off some of their most popular products.