Minnesota may have already legalized medical marijuana but it wasn’t until Monday that pain patients of the state finally had the opportunity to buy it. Even though the Minnesota state legislature legalized the drug for medicinal purposes in 2014, strict laws banned the plant form in favor of pills, oils and vapors.
However, to obtain those products patients had to fall under the nine serious conditions outlined by the state and obtain permission from their doctor. Monday marked the day in which intractable pain was added as a 10th condition. According to TwinCities.com, the state defines intractable pain as “pain that can’t be otherwise treated or cured.”
Manufacturers and patients are hopeful that the availability of the drug will bring down the high cost which currently runs patients more than $1,000 a month. Access to these drugs may also help lessen the dependency some have to addictive painkillers.
Despite the optimism carried by others, Maren Schroeder, who belongs to patient advocacy group Sensible Minnesota, doubts the program will make a difference in costs. Instead, her organization is fighting to allow patients to consume the plant form of marijuana.
The group even petitioned Minnesota’s health commissioner Ed Ehlinger to add post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition for the program next year.
Whether hoping for marijuana in plant form or pill form, Minnesota residents have been waiting for this day to come as more than 500 patients suffering from intractable pain registered for the program last month.
Back in December, the health commissioner announced the decision to include intractable pain as a qualifying condition and now what may seem like a regular Monday to any other person in the US, is a life changing milestone for the people of Minnesota.