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Medical Cannabis Program Key Dates
Medical cannabis legislation was signed into law in Minnesota on May 29, 2014.
Medical cannabis products became available for patients on the state’s Medical Cannabis Registry on July 1, 2015.
By March 2017, more than 5,000 patients were active in the Medical Cannabis Program. Other enrollment milestones:
- 10,000 patients, May 2018
- 20,000 patients, April 2020
- 30,000 patients, January 2022
- 40,000 patients, January 2023
Original qualifying medical conditions
This was the list of qualifying medical conditions when the program first started:
- Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting.
- Tourette's syndrome.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy.
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
- Crohn's disease.
- Terminal illness, with a life expectancy of less than one year, if the illness or treatment produces severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting.
Added qualifying medical conditions
Patients certified with these qualifying conditions became eligible to receive medical cannabis on the dates listed:
- Intractable pain, Aug. 1, 2016
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, Aug. 1, 2017
- Autism spectrum disorder and obstructive sleep apnea, Aug. 1, 2018
- Alzheimer’s disease, Aug. 1, 2019
- Chronic pain, Aug. 1, 2020
- Sickle cell disease and motor or vocal tic disorder, Aug. 1, 2021
- Irritable bowel syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder (will be effective Aug. 1, 2023)
Original delivery methods (forms of medicine)
When the program first launched, medical cannabis was available in pill, vapor oil, and liquid forms.
Added delivery methods
These delivery methods were approved on the month and year noted:
- Topicals (which are applied to the skin): December 2016
- Water-soluble cannabinoid multi-particulates (for example, granules, powders, and sprinkles): December 2019
- Orally dissolvable products (such as lozenges, gums, mints, buccal tablets, and sublingual tablets): December 2019
- Dried cannabis flower: May 2021
- Infused edibles (in the form of gummies and chews): December 2021
Medical Cannabis Dispensaries
- Minneapolis, Eagan, and Rochester: opened in July 2015
- St. Cloud, Moorhead, and Bloomington: June 2016
- Hibbing and St. Paul: July 2016
- Willmar: April 2020
- Hermantown: November 2020
- Blaine, Burnsville, and Woodbury: December 2020
- Mankato: April 2022
In March 2020, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-26, which gave the Office of Medical Cannabis temporary measures to protect the health and safety of medical cannabis patients, their caregivers, and Medical Cannabis Dispensary staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them:
- Patients could use telemedicine to consult with their Medical Cannabis Dispensary pharmacist.
- Patients and their caregivers could use curbside pickup to get medical cannabis.
- Patients could add a temporary caregiver without getting approval from their health care practitioner. Those temporary caregivers were not required to obtain a background check.
Most of the temporary measures became permanent thanks to the following program changes approved by the 2021 Minnesota Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Walz:
- Patients can continue to use telemedicine to consult with a Medical Cannabis Dispensary pharmacist.
- Patients and their caregivers can continue to use curbside pickup to get their medical cannabis.
- Patients do not need approval from their health care practitioner to add a caregiver; however, registered designated caregivers are still required to complete a background check.
- Patients ages 21 and older will have access to smokable medical cannabis, effective in spring 2022.
- A registered designated caregiver can support up to six medical cannabis patients at one time.