ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota is expanding the state’s medical marijuana program to include chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration as conditions that can qualify for treatment, state health officials said Monday.

The state Department of Health also said it would allow more sites where patients can access medical cannabis. The changes take effect in August, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

Minnesota’s medical marijuana program began in 2014. Originally, only nine conditions were on the list, but now it covers such conditions as obstructive sleep apnea, post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer.

Sensible Change Minnesota, a group trying to change marijuana policy in Minnesota, sought the addition of chronic pain. A doctor’s diagnosis of chronic pain will be required. It could be easier to certify than intractable pain, which was added to the program a few years ago.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the added conditions give more people more ways to deal with debilitating illness.

“The bottom line is that people suffering from these serious conditions may be helped by participating in the program, and we felt it was important to give them the opportunity to seek that relief,” Malcolm said in a statement.

Maren Schroeder, policy director

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