Minnesota next summer will open its medical marijuana program to patients who experience chronic pain, state Department of Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune. The decision could add thousands of patients to the state’s program, which has struggled with low enrollment and high prices since it was launched in July.
This change will make Minnesota the 19th state where people with intractable pain — pain that cannot otherwise be cured or treated — can legally use medical marijuana, the Associated Press reported. Of the states where medical marijuana is legal, just five do not include severe, chronic or intractable pain as a qualifying condition.
Ehlinger said in a statement that it was a “tough choice,” according to the AP. However, he said, “given the strong medical focus of Minnesota’s medical cannabis program and the compelling testimony of hundreds of Minnesotans, it became clear that the right and compassionate choice was to add intractable pain to the program’s list of qualifying conditions.”
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