Public to help decide if intractable pain should qualify for medical cannabis perscriptions

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The Minnesota Department of Health wants to know whether or not you think it should add another condition to the list of those that qualify for cannabis prescriptions in the state's program.

MDH plans to hold community sessions to elicit opinions on whether intractable pain should be a condition that qualifies for a medical marijuana prescription, a press release states.

The state statute defines intractable pain is described as:

 “A pain state in which the cause of the pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated with the consent of the patient and in which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, no relief or cure of the cause of the pain is possible, or none has been found after reasonable efforts.”

Medical marijuana became legal in Minnesota on July 1, and as of Aug. 20, 640 patients have been certified to get medical marijuana with 361 approved to pick it up.

Right now a limited number of conditions qualify for medical cannabis including HIV/AIDS, ALS, seizures and Crohn's Disease among others.

The statue that passed in 2014 tasks legislators to decide whether intractable pain should be added to that list by Jan. 1, 2016.

The first public meeting is scheduled for Aug. 26 in Rochester. Other sessions will be offered in Willmar, Hennepin County, Moorhead, Mankato, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Woodbury, St. Paul, Bemidji and St. Cloud. A schedule is available online.

In addition to public comments, an eight-member advisory panel will help guide the decision.

Public input can also be submitted through a public comment form online, or during the advisory panel meeting on Thursday, Sept. 3. That meeting runs from 4 - 9 p.m. with public input starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Minnetonka City Council Chambers at 14600 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka, MN, 55345.

Information about the state's medical cannabis program will also be made available at community meetings. The St. Cloud Times reports other topics such as patient registry, research, lab testing and health care practitioners will be addressed.

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