Minnesota OKs using medical pot for pain

The Minnesota Health Department says it will expand the legal use of medical marijuana to cover people with intractable pain.

The department's top leaders announced their decision Wednesday after several meetings around the state to gather public input.

"The relative scarcity of firm evidence made this a difficult decision," Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said in a statement.

"However, given the strong medical focus of Minnesota's medical cannabis program and the compelling testimony of hundreds of Minnesotans, it became clear that the right and compassionate choice was to add intractable pain to the program's list of qualifying conditions," Ehlinger added. "This gives new options for clinicians and new hope for suffering patients."

Lawmakers restricted medical marijuana's use to a handful of conditions when they approved it, a circumstance supporters of the drug say has held down the program's enrollment and led to higher costs for those using it.


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