Minnesota’s first medical marijuana patient center opened at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, one minute after the new law took effect in the state.
Three patients showed up to Minnesota Medical Solutions (MinnMed) at 207 9th Street South in Minneapolis and left with their prescriptions before the sun came up. MinnMed is one of 8 dispensaries across the state, operated by two companies selected to grow, process and distribute it.
At last count, 65 patients statewide have been cleared and are eligible to receive prescriptions. Doctors are required to certify a patient has one of 9 qualifying conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, severe muscle spasms, seizures, Crohn’s Disease and glaucoma.
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Minnesota has the most restrictive medical marijuana law in the country – no smokable forms of the drug are allowed.
Patrick McClellan received his first dose in the form a vaporizer pen. He’s with Minnesotans for Compassionate Care and has a rare form of muscular dystrophy.
“Like with any other medication, there will be some tweaks to it. There will be some time for patients to get used to the medications, time for the doses to be correctly established, just like any other medication,” he said.
MinnMed in Minneapolis will reopen 10 a.m., bolstered with extra staff in the coming days to handle its first patients. Two dispensaries will be up and running as the new law launches, including LeafLine Labs in Eagan. Each company will eventually operate four locations slated to open in St. Paul, St. Cloud, Rochester, Hibbing, Moorhead and one somewhere in the north metro.
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LeafLine's medicine not suitable for epilepsy patients
Dr. Andrew Bachman, LeafLine's chief medical officer, said their medical formulas aren't suitable for treating epilepsy and they're currently in the process of reformulating. LeafLine will still see patients for all qualifying conditions on Wednesday, and will have medicine available for the other 8 conditions.
"During our final preparations, we determined that our medicinal formulation for epilepsy was not to our exacting standards for treating this condition. We are now actively reformulating this medicine. As a result, we proactively reached out to five epilepsy patients who had scheduled appointments this week and informed them that we would still be happy to see them for one-on-one consultations, but that medicine for this condition would not be available immediately. We anticipate this medicine being ready by the end of July, if not sooner. Each patient was understanding of the situation and appreciative that we were taking the utmost care to only deliver safe, consistent and high quality medicine. All patients have rescheduled their initial appointments with LeafLine Labs.
Importantly, and to be clear, we are still seeing patients starting tomorrow for all qualifying conditions, and have a full compliment of medicine available for the additional eight qualifying conditions. We will always put patients first, and that means getting it right, always. We are excited to usher in a new era of healthcare and bring relief to those who have been suffering too long," Dr. Bachman said in a statement.