Commissioner hears from public on expanding medical cannabis

Published 10:12 am Tuesday, November 10, 2015

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s health commissioner will hear what the public has to say about expanding the state’s medical marijuana program to include patients suffering chronic pain.

Dr. Edward Ehlinger is expected to hear today in West St. Paul from advocates of medical marijuana who say it’s their only hope of pain relief.

A panel of medical experts has recommended against expanding the program to include chronic pain beginning next year. It’s up to Ehlinger to make that decision by Jan. 1.

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Of the 23 states that allow medical cannabis, only Minnesota and four others do not allow it as a pain treatment. The Health Department said of 417 people who have sent written comments on the proposal, 388 favored putting pain on the list of qualifying conditions.