MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The wait is over and people who’ve seen loved ones endure severe seizures and chronic pain are optimistic about the future and the state’s medical marijuana program.
One of them is Beth Hundley, mother of 3-year-old Harlow, who has epilepsy.
“There are, you know, not like books and books of research that’s been done, but there are tons of parents out there who have had success,” Hundley said.
The first people in line overnight Tuesday at the dispensary for Minnesota Medical Solutions were people who’ve worked for years to see marijuana legalized in Minnesota.
Like Patrick McClellan, who has severe muscle spasms from muscular dystrophy.
“It is important that we continue the fight to get every body included and that we get other conditions included, and we get physicians to certify the patients who currently qualify,” McClellan said.
You can’t buy the medical marijuana in Minnesota until a doctor certifies your condition and you complete the registration process with the state Health Department.
Kathy Engstrom says her teenage son has hundreds of seizures a day, due to epilepsy.
“If we can have relief from part of those, that could potentially increase his quality of life tremendously, and extend his life tremendously,” Engstrom said.
The staff at LeafLine Labs is now seeing patients at their Eagan dispensary.
They say the medical marijuana they produce specifically for epilepsy won’t be available for another two weeks.
Dr. Andrew Bachman, the chief medical officer at LeafLine, say his priority right now is optimizing treatment.
“We are patients first…always a patients-first organization,” he said. “These are complex medicines and complex preparations.”
There are nine approved conditions that doctors can certify. They include cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and glaucoma.
So far, only 223 doctors across the state are signed up to certify patients, and only 90 patients have completed the registration process.
There are only two state-approved growing facilities. Each will eventually have four dispensaries where patients can go and pick up their medicine.
It’s not clear how the medical marijuana will interact with other medications patients are already taking.
Patients say their doctors really don’t know, either. They will have to wait and see what adjustments need to be made as days and weeks go by.
That’s part of why some doctors are reluctant to get on board and certify patients so they can buy medical marijuana.