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Minn.: Chronic pain to qualify for medical cannabis; new “Be Heard on Cannabis” dates

At long last, Minnesota plans to include chronic pain in its medical cannabis program. Unless the legislature overturns the Department of Health’s recent decision, chronic pain will be a qualifying condition for medical cannabis beginning in August 2020. The department also approved adding macular degeneration, effective next August. Qualifying patients must register with the state and submit a medical professional’s certification to access the program.

While “intractable pain” has been included in Minnesota’s program since August 2016, the restrictive definition leaves many pain patients behind. Finally, chronic pain patients will not be left to needlessly suffer or be steered to far more dangerous treatments. We’re grateful to our allies at Sensible Minnesota for spearheading this and other petitions to expand Minnesota’s medical cannabis program. MPP contributed a letter in support.

Upcoming “Be Heard on Cannabis” Community Conversations

In other news, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler’s “Be Heard on Cannabis” listening tour is continuing.

Maple Grove "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: TOMORROW, Thursday, December 5, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Maple Grove Government Center, 12800 Arbor Lakes Pkwy N, Maple Grove, MN 55369

Austin "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Saturday, December 7, 11:00 a.m.
Where: Austin City Council Room, 500 4th Ave NE, Austin, MN 55912

Rochester "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Saturday, December 7, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Heintz Center at the Rochester Community and Technical College, 1926 Collegeview Rd E, Rochester, MN 55904

South Minneapolis "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Wednesday, December 18, 7:00 p.m.
Where: East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center, 2307 17th Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

Shakopee "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Wednesday, January 29, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Shakopee VFW, 1201 3rd Ave E Shakopee, MN 55379

For a list of the hosts and panelists who will lead each community conversation, along with other cities "Be Heard on Cannabis" will visit, check out Rep. Winkler’s "Be Heard on Cannabis" webpage. And stay tuned for updates to the list.

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Medical Marijuana

Minn. patients and health providers: Help expand the medical cannabis program​

Submit a letter of support if you could benefit from allowing oral uptake delivery or from adding chronic pain or TBI to the program.

Minnesota's medical cannabis law started as one of the most restrictive in the nation. Thanks to the hard work of our allies at Sensible Minnesota and the voices of patients and providers, it has steadily been expanded via the Department of Health petition process. Intractable pain, PTSD, autism, and other conditions have been added administratively to include tens of thousands more patients.

Sensible Minnesota is now focused on expanding conditions to include chronic pain, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and to allow oral uptake delivery. If you are a patient, caregiver, family member, healthcare provider, or someone else who could benefit from the addition of these conditions or delivery method, please consider providing a letter of support by the end of the day on Friday, July 26.

The National Academy of Sciences found there is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis relieves chronic pain. Adding "chronic pain" would allow thousands more patients to qualify who do not fall under the restrictive definition of intractable pain.

Oral uptake delivery — which can be done with gums, lozenges, or mints — permits patients to absorb cannabinoids through the mucosal lining of the mouth. This means the patient doesn't need to swallow the product, which can take far longer to get into the bloodstream to provide relief.

If you are a pain or TBI patient who has already received benefit from medical cannabis, please consider providing a letter to share your story.

You can submit your letter of support using Sensible Minnesota's online form or via email to petitions@sensible.mn. If you have questions or would like more information, please reach out to petitions@sensible.mn.

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Medical Marijuana

Minn.: Alzheimer’s approved for medical cannabis, other conditions rejected

Yesterday, the Minnesota Department of Health approved adding Alzheimer’s disease as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis, but rejected opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, traumatic brain injury, and insomnia.

Many thanks to Sensible Minnesota and to all the advocates and health professionals who were involved in petitioning to expand the program! Their dedicated work (with an assist from MPP) also resulted in the addition of intractable pain, PTSD, autism, and sleep apnea.

Under state law, Alzheimer’s disease patients will be able to apply for medical cannabis starting next summer.

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Medical Marijuana

Minnesota patients with autism and sleep apnea now qualify for medical cannabis

Last November, the Minnesota Department of Health approved adding autism spectrum disorders and obstructive sleep apnea as qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program. Under state law, the additions take effect the following summer.

Starting on July 1, 2018, patients with a doctor’s certification and either of those conditions could begin registering for the program. They can start accessing medical cannabis no sooner than August 1. Our allies at Sensible Minnesota offer one-on-one assistance to patients who need help navigating the process. Learn more here.

Congratulations to Sensible Minnesota and to all the advocates and health professionals who were involved in petitioning to expand the program!

Sensible Minnesota is now working on petitions to expand the program to include opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, and insomnia.

If you are a Minnesota medical professional who might be willing to add your voice to the petition, contact Sensible Minnesota at 952-529-4420 or by email.

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Medical Marijuana

PTSD Patients Can Now Access Medical Marijuana in Minnesota

Last year, MPP helped local advocates at Sensible Minnesota with their successful petition to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the state’s medical cannabis program. Patients suffering from this condition were able to enroll in the program last month, and starting August 1 they will be allowed to access medical cannabis.

Every year, the Minnesota Office of Medical Cannabis accepts petitions to add new conditions, and this year was no exception. This year’s petitions were due this week, and MPP and Sensible Minnesota again submitted paperwork — including for nausea, Alzheimer’s, and autism. Thanks to everyone who shared their story with us to help build the case. Before deciding whether to add the condition, a review panel will hold a public hearing.

While Minnesota has a comprehensive medical marijuana program, it remains one of the most limited — and costly — in the country. One of the most significant remaining flaws is that patients are not permitted to consume whole plant (flower) cannabis.

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