Minnesota To Add Edibles To Medical Cannabis Program

Minnesota is preparing to expand the number of delivery form options in its state medical cannabis program.

On Wednesday, December 1, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced it will allow cannabis-infused gummies and chews as approved medical cannabis delivery methods next year.

The current list of approved medical cannabis delivery forms includes pills, vaporized oil, liquids, topicals, powdered mixtures, and orally dissolving products like lozenges.

According to MDH, it will begin drafting requirements for labeling, safety messaging, packaging, and testing this month, and the new delivery method will become effective on August 1, 2022.

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm says expanding delivery methods to include gummies and chews means more options for patients who cannot tolerate other forms of cannabis currently available.

In March 2022, registered patients will be eligible to use smoked forms of cannabis, having gained the Minnesota Legislature’s approval in 2021.

MDH says rulemaking for dried raw cannabis is currently in process.

Qualifying for Medical Cannabis in Minnesota

When the Minnesota Legislature approved the state’s medical cannabis program, the law included nine qualifying conditions for patients.

The list has since grown to 17 as the Commissioner of Health considers new conditions each year.

Though Commissioner Malcolm did not add any new conditions to the list during 2021, MDH did conduct a formal petition and comment process to gather public input on potential qualifying medical conditions and medicine delivery methods.

According to MDH, petitioners have requested that anxiety disorder be added as a qualifying condition since 2016 without success because of a lack of clinical evidence and a desire to avoid unintended consequences.

MDH says Commissioner Malcolm requested that the MDH Office of Medical Cannabis conduct an in-depth review in 2021.

The review included a research review of anxiety disorder as a qualifying medical condition.

In addition to a lack of scientific evidence to support cannabis’ effectiveness in treating anxiety disorder, MDH says health care practitioners also expressed concern.

“We received many comments from health care practitioners treating patients with anxiety disorder, and they urged us to not approve it as a qualifying medical condition,” says Commissioner Malcolm. “We recognize that not everyone has equal access to therapy—which is considered the front-line treatment—but ultimately we concluded that the risk of additional harms to patients outweighed perceived benefits.”