Sunday, June 28, 2015

Medical marijuana comes to Minnesota this week

As medical marijuana rolls out this week, sickest scramble for access - - Jennifer Brooks:

June 28, 2015 - "The first registered medical marijuana patient in Minnesota toddled across sunlit grass and into his mother’s arms.

"Three-year-old Wyatt sputtered happily as Jessica Hauser swung him up, up into the air to settle on her hip.

"Then Wyatt’s eyelids fluttered and his head thumped against her shoulder as he sagged in her arms. Another seizure. One of hundreds that rip through his developing brain daily, endangering his life, unchecked by all the epilepsy treatments the family has tried.

"Wyatt suffered seven seizures in the time it took his parents to explain why they’ve already booked an appointment to buy cannabis oil for their son this Wednesday, the first day it will be legal.

"'No seizures. Doesn’t that sound good?' Jessica crooned to her youngest.

"Minnesota joins 23 other states bucking the federal laws that still classify cannabis as a dangerous, addictive substance with no possible medical worth. But launching an entire industry from scratch — in a year — hasn’t been simple.

"Doctors have balked at helping patients sign up for the program; two-thirds of physicians in a June survey by the Minnesota Medical Association said they planned to opt out. Patients, who can’t sign up for medical cannabis until their primary doctor, nurse or other health care provider certifies that they have a qualifying condition, have searched frantically for second opinions....

"As of Friday, the number of patients approved to buy medical marijuana stood at 65, out of 139 who have been certified and have begun the registration process.

"Meanwhile, 203 health care providers have registered with the state and are ready to certify. It’s a start, said Michelle Larson, director of the Office of Medical Cannabis. For months, her office has been repeating the mantra: This is not a race, this is a rollout.

"But her staff feels for the frantic patients who call in to their office, searching for a doctor willing to help them sign up."

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