State News : Minnesota

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Heacox Hartman


Minnesota’s Health Commissioner recently authorized a significant expansion of medical cannabis usage in the state of Minnesota to include those with “chronic pain.” Currently, the most common qualifying condition to be eligible for medical cannabis is a diagnosis of “intractable pain.” Minn. Stat. 152.125 defines intractable pain as pain that “cannot be removed or otherwise treated” and that “no relief or cure of the cause of the pain is possible, or none has been found after reasonable efforts.” The narrow nature of this definition limits the number of patients who can become qualified for medical cannabis under this category.

On the other hand, chronic pain is a much broader category than intractable pain, which is more generally defined as intolerable pain that cannot be addressed with other remedies or medications. Chronic pain includes many more conditions that may be caused by work injuries than “intractable pain” does. The change will take effect in August 2020.

Minnesota is currently one of 33 states that has legalized medical cannabis. Patients are still required to become certified by medical providers to receive cannabis from one of two licensed manufacturers – Leafline Labs or Minnesota Medical Solutions. The Minnesota Legislature voted to increase the number of storefronts to 16 – with new locations of both manufacturers planned throughout the state of Minnesota. Medical cannabis in Minnesota is currently permissible in inhaled and pill forms. However, it will also soon become available in water-soluble powders and sprinkles as well as in dissolvable lozenges and mints.

To note, this expansion will also include those suffering from age-related macular degeneration for eyesight. However, the expansion still does not authorize medical cannabis usage for those with anxiety, insomnia, or a traumatic brain injury – as there is a lack of scientific evidence to support these. The full Minnesota Department of Health Press Release is found below.