MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This Wednesday is the first day Minnesotans can pick up medical marijuana prescriptions.
But the state’s program is getting off to a rocky start.
Patients and their families say the program has been very difficult to sign up for. To date, only 65 patients have been able to get state approval to pick up their marijuana.
When the Legislature passed the medical marijuana bill in 2014, patients and families cheered the fact they would finally have the opportunity to get medical cannabis.
But with the law about to take effect, patients are saying the structure of the program is creating barriers.
Under the Minnesota law, patients can’t register themselves. Their doctor has to register for them.
Then a state-regulated pharmacist prescribes the pot.
Individual doctors, as well as large medical groups, are saying they don’t like passing off their patients to someone else for the prescription.
They also say they fear they could ultimately be responsible if something goes wrong.
As a result, patients are being turned away by their own doctors and are struggling to find a medical professional who will sign them up.
Jessica Hauser, a mom who led the fight for the bill, is fortunate.
Her 3-year-son, Wyatt, suffers from a rare form of epilepsy and his doctor signed him up right away.
Hauser was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.
“I am very optimistic that doctors will get on board and very hopeful that that will happen sooner than later,” she said. “A few things that patients can do and parents of patients can do is continue to be your own best advocate, do your research.”
Hauser said she has an appointment to pick up Wyatt’s cannabis oil on Wednesday.
State officials have urged patience, saying other states have also had slow rollouts.
But for the patients who have one of the conditions that the Minnesota law says qualify for medical cannabis, continuing to wait and suffer is something they have endured far too long.
To see a full interview with Jessica Hauser, watch the video above.