Updated on May 11, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
The Minnesota Department of Health added chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration as new qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program. Under state law, the new conditions will take effect in August 2020.
Patients in Minnesota diagnosed with one of the following severe, debilitating, or life-threatening medical conditions, are afforded legal protection under the Minnesota Medical Marijuana law, as per SF 2470:
The state of Minnesota considered including dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, and anxiety to the list of qualifying conditions but these conditions were rejected.
SF 2470 was approved and signed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, on May 29, 2014, removing the state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana, by patients possessing the medical recommendation from their physician, stating that he or she may benefit from the medical use of marijuana.
In August 2016, the Minnesota medical marijuana program was updated — patients diagnosed with intractable pain are now eligible for qualification.
Some medical marijuana patients will claim they have a doctor’s prescription for medical marijuana, but marijuana prescriptions are in fact illegal. The federal government classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug. Therefore doctors are unable to prescribe marijuana to their patients, and medical marijuana patients cannot go to a pharmacy to fill a prescription for medical marijuana. Instead, medical marijuana physicians will supply patients with a medical marijuana recommendation in compliance with state law.
According to Minnesota medical marijuana law, the Commissioner of Health will license two in-state manufacturers for the production of all medical cannabis within the state of Minnesota. All medical cannabis distributed by manufacturers must contain a maximum of a 20-day supply of the dosage, determined for each patient.
Please note: Minnesota has defined “medical cannabis” as any species of cannabis plant, delivered in the form of either liquid — including but not limited to, oil; pill; or a vaporized delivery method that does not require any marijuana flower or plant form.
Patients who meet Minnesota medical marijuana qualifications were in danger of losing access due to the actions of two former executives of a company accused of shipping an estimated $500,000 worth of cannabis oil to New York. Shipping marijuana products across state lines is a violation of federal law. As a result, the company may be forced to shut down. The alleged shipment occurred in 2015.
Legislators were attempting to not only revoke the license of the company but also assess a $1 million fine. This would be a crippling blow that could very well force the company to go out of business. This would also seriously damage the medical marijuana program in the state, not only from a practical standpoint but a political one as well. Patients would have a harder time obtaining their therapeutic cannabis, while opponents of the medical marijuana program would have more ammunition to support their arguments.
But this is not the only disturbing development regarding the Minnesota medical cannabis program. An editorial that appeared in a Minneapolis newspaper on March 31, 2017, highlighted how difficult it can be for people suffering from intractable pain to obtain medical weed.
The writer of the editorial, a medical marijuana patient herself, wrote that people suffering from severe pain find it very difficult to find doctors who can recommend therapeutic cannabis. She also estimated it would cost her nearly $2,000 just to comply with state regulations — and that doesn’t even include the cost of cannabis.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we fervently hope patients meeting medical marijuana qualifications in Minnesota ultimately find it much easier to obtain the medicine they need in order to relieve their suffering. Check back with us often for updates as well as how to obtain a medical cannabis card if you are a resident of the state.