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Jul 01, 2016; 5:01 AM ET
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FOX 9 Minneapolis Headlines

Medical marijuana registration for pain patients now open in Minnesota

July 1, 2016 is a milestone day for medical marijuana in Minnesota. The date marks the one-year
anniversary of the state's medical cannabis program, and the much-anticipated opening of registration for intractable pain patients.

WHAT IS INTRACTABLE PAIN? Minnesota's medical cannabis law defines intractable pain as a condition "in which the cause of the pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated with the consent of the patient and in which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, no relief or cure of the cause of the pain is possible, or none has been found after reasonable efforts."

The authors originally left intractable pain out of the enabling legislation for a number of factors: First, there was the problem of defining intractable pain. Second, though no one would publicly admit it, they were worried about recreational users claiming they had intractable pain. Third, they didn't think they'd have the votes to support passage of the legislation if the condition was included.

Once patients with intractable pain are certified as having the condition, they can start receiving medical cannabis at patient cannabis centers starting August 1, 2016. The state expects the addition of intractable pain to increase the number of patients using medical cannabis, but there is no estimate of the number of potential pain patients at this time.

8 PATIENT CENTERS NOW OPEN: All 8 of Minnesota's medical cannabis patient centers, operated by LeafLine Labs and MinnMed, are now open. LeafLine's newest patient center is opening July 1 in St. Paul. The two suppliers have patient centers in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Rochester, St. Cloud, Moorhead, Eagan and Hibbing.

REPORT CARD: During the first year of the state's medical cannabis program, the Minnesota Department of Health didn't received any reports of serious adverse health events. About 90 percent of medical cannabis patients reported "mild to significant" benefits during the first three months of the program, according to the MDH survey. Only about 20 percent of patients reported side effects - the most serious being an increase in seizures in 4 patients. Survey results - Most medical cannabis patients in Minnesota report benefits

ABOUT THE MEDICINE: Medical cannabis in Minnesota comes in pill or liquid forms, and is not available as an edible or as a plant for smoking.

ONE YEAR AGO: On midnight on July 1, 2015, the first medical marijuana dispensary opened to Minnesota patients. Minnesota Medical Solutions opened its first dispensary on 9th Street, between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue, in downtown Minneapolis. VIDEO - Inside the first medical cannabis dispensary in Minneapolis

HOW TO REGISTER: You can learn more and register as a patient at http://www.health.state.mn.us/topics/cannabis/

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