Minnesota Expands Medical Cannabis Program

The Minnesota Department of Health expanded its medical cannabis program by increasing the number of qualifying conditions, the methods of delivery and the number of patient centers. These changes will not impact the state’s ban on flower and medical cannabis edible products.

The MDEH approved chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration as conditions that patients can use to register for the medical cannabis program on August, 1, 2020. The state rejected four (4) other proposed conditions including anxiety, insomnia, psoriasis and traumatic brain injury due to a lack of new scientific evidence.

Minnesota’s medical cannabis program is growing with 17,961 patients enrolled as of September 2019. The number of patients increased by 36% since October 2018. It is not clear how many of the 5.61 million Minnesota residents will use the new qualifying conditions to register with the medical cannabis program.

Minnesota also approved new medical cannabis products. The state recognized that patients who vaped may want an alternative delivery method. The DPEH approved two new forms of delivery. These include water-soluble cannabinoid multi-particulates (for example, granules, powders and sprinkles) and orally dissolvable products. The new delivery methods will expand product offerings in the state that are produced by in-state manufacturers.

The MDEH also indicates that the two medical-cannabis manufacturers, Leafline Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions, are now able to create enough product to double the state’s patient cannabis treatment centers. Both manufacturers opened four cannabis treatment centers in 2019. Minnesota expects to open eight additional patient treatment centers in Willmar, Mankato, Golden Valley, Rogers, Woodbury, Blaine, Duluth and Burnsville in 2020.

Minnesota’s medical cannabis continues to grow in a controlled manner. The market’s size will follow the approval of new qualifying conditions. the question is whether adequate scientific evidence can be produced within the next year to get anxiety, insomnia and other qualifying conditions over the regulatory hurdle.

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