Pain patients are driving the plea to expand Minnesota's medical marijuana program
Published on Oct 15, 2015
Minnesota is one of the few medical marijuana states where chronic pain is not on the list of qualifying conditions. Pain patients make up 93% of Colorado's medical marijuana customers, and 71% of Arizona's. Minnesota currently only has 9 conditions that qualify for medical marijuana including terminal illnesses, seizure disorders and Crohn’s disease. The state currently only serves 618 patients due to the strict qualifications, but expanding the program's qualifying conditions could bring in tens of thousands more. While the patients are limited, medical marijuana shops are seeing the lack of sales, but with hopes of an expanding program there is potential for the business to grow.
Just months after the first Minnesota cannabis clinic opened its doors, Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger is debating whether to add intractable pain to the shortlist of conditions that qualify Minnesotans to legally medicate with marijuana. Pain patients like 2-year-old Elisa — born with a rare genetic condition that causes her skin to blister and tear — make up the majority of patients in many of the states with medical cannabis programs.