41 patients approved to pick up medical marijuana when it becomes legal next week


With a little more than a week until medical marijuana becomes legal in Minnesota, only a few dozen patients have been approved to pick up the drug.

The Minnesota Department of Health says 41 patients have been OK'd in the registry, according to numbers released Monday. Last week, only 14 patients had been fully approved to pick up the drug.

Medical marijuana will be legal in Minnesota in liquid or pill form on July 1 for patients who have one of nine qualifying conditions such as glaucoma, seizure disorders, ALS or cancer.

A doctor must certify that the patient has one of those conditions – but that's been a problem for some patients seeking to register with the program.

Many doctors remain "cautious" about the program because they’re worried that some of the drug’s affects are still unknown or because they’re nervous about violating federal law, which still bans medical marijuana. So many have said they won't be registering with the Office of Medical Cannabis.

As of Monday, 187 health care providers have registered, with 176 of them authorized to sign patients up for the program. The state Department of Health does not make the names of the providers public.

The first two patient cannabis centers will open in Minneapolis and Eagan on July 1.

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