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Minnesota OKs medical cannabis for chronic pain, eye disease

Minnesota is expanding the state’s medical marijuana program to include chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration as conditions that can qualify for treatment, state health officials said Monday.

Posted: Dec 2, 2019 12:19 PM
Updated: Dec 2, 2019 8:42 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota is expanding the state’s medical marijuana program to include chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration as conditions that can qualify for treatment, state health officials said Monday.

The state Department of Health also said it would allow more sites where patients can access medical cannabis. The changes take effect in August, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

Minnesota’s medical marijuana program began in 2014. Originally, only nine conditions were on the list, but now it covers such conditions as obstructive sleep apnea, post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer.

Sensible Change Minnesota, a group trying to change marijuana policy in Minnesota, sought the addition of chronic pain. A doctor’s diagnosis of chronic pain will be required. It could be easier to certify than intractable pain, which was added to the program a few years ago.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the added conditions give more people more ways to deal with debilitating illness.

“The bottom line is that people suffering from these serious conditions may be helped by participating in the program, and we felt it was important to give them the opportunity to seek that relief,” Malcolm said in a statement.

Maren Schroeder, policy director for Sensible Change Minnesota, said doctors have been hesitant to certify intractable pain cases because that carries a specific legal definition by which pain cannot be removed but only managed and other options have failed to achieve results.

“This will give doctors a little more comfort in getting their pain patients into this program as well as helping those patients qualify,” Schroeder said.

Residents petitioned to include the new conditions this summer. Those requests were reviewed by a citizens panel and Health Department staff. Four conditions were rejected: anxiety, insomnia, psoriasis and traumatic brain injury.

As of October, nearly 18,000 patients were certified for the state's medical marijuana program. Minnesota’s program is considered relatively restrictive because patients are not allowed to get marijuana in leaf form or ingest it through smoking.

Pills, vapors, topical ointments and liquid gels had been the only forms people could obtain through licensed manufacturers. Starting next summer, new delivery methods will include water-soluble cannabinoid, such as powders or sprinkles, and products such as lozenges, gums, mints and tablets.

In addition, LeafLine Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions — the two licensed manufacturers — will be allowed to open a combined eight more centers in Minnesota. The Health Department said the proposed centers are in Blaine, Burnsville, Duluth, Golden Valley, Mankato, Rogers, Willmar and Woodbury.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60898

Reported Deaths: 1698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19271835
Ramsey7572265
Dakota4414106
Anoka3683114
Stearns289320
Washington212845
Nobles17646
Olmsted173223
Scott155919
Mower11012
Rice10328
Blue Earth9185
Wright8845
Carver8613
Clay78440
Sherburne7238
Kandiyohi6961
St. Louis55319
Todd4262
Lyon4253
Freeborn3591
Steele3482
Nicollet33713
Benton3203
Watonwan3080
Winona26116
Beltrami2400
Crow Wing23514
Le Sueur2201
Martin2075
Chisago2011
Goodhue1969
Otter Tail1943
McLeod1810
Cottonwood1780
Becker1571
Pipestone1579
Polk1534
Waseca1480
Itasca14712
Douglas1441
Carlton1370
Unassigned13441
Pine1290
Dodge1270
Isanti1250
Murray1221
Chippewa1041
Morrison921
Wabasha920
Brown892
Faribault870
Jackson860
Meeker852
Rock850
Sibley832
Koochiching773
Pennington751
Cass722
Mille Lacs713
Renville645
Fillmore630
Lincoln580
Grant553
Swift531
Roseau520
Yellow Medicine520
Pope480
Houston420
Aitkin401
Norman400
Kanabec361
Redwood360
Wilkin343
Hubbard330
Marshall290
Mahnomen271
Wadena270
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake210
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse110
Lac qui Parle70
Cook50
Kittson30
Lake of the Woods20

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48781

Reported Deaths: 929
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10309207
Woodbury371952
Black Hawk312766
Linn237588
Johnson209619
Dallas188535
Buena Vista179412
Scott171814
Dubuque167631
Marshall144426
Pottawattamie132526
Story116614
Wapello90033
Muscatine84748
Webster8017
Crawford7283
Sioux6343
Cerro Gordo62517
Warren5641
Tama55129
Jasper47826
Wright4721
Plymouth4629
Clinton3973
Dickinson3814
Louisa37814
Washington29810
Boone2583
Hamilton2461
Franklin24110
Bremer2267
Clarke2013
Carroll1921
Emmet1924
Clay1901
Shelby1841
Hardin1810
Des Moines1792
Marion1730
Poweshiek1598
Benton1561
Jackson1561
Allamakee1554
Floyd1552
Mahaska13917
Cedar1331
Guthrie1325
Jones1302
Buchanan1271
Henry1254
Hancock1222
Butler1212
Madison1212
Pocahontas1152
Lee1143
Lyon1132
Delaware1121
Humboldt1111
Cherokee1081
Harrison1071
Clayton1043
Taylor980
Iowa971
Winneshiek971
Page940
Kossuth910
Monona910
Mills890
Sac850
Jefferson840
Palo Alto840
Winnebago840
Calhoun832
Osceola830
Fayette820
Grundy791
Mitchell780
Union771
Cass741
Monroe737
Lucas684
Worth660
Montgomery594
Davis572
Chickasaw540
Appanoose493
Howard490
Fremont420
Greene410
Van Buren371
Keokuk351
Adair300
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur230
Ringgold221
Wayne191
Adams160
Unassigned60
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