More than 100 health providers sign on to medical marijuana program in first week

Medical marijuana sold in MN will be smoke-free
Only smoke-free medical marijuana, such as those sold as pills, oils or tinctures at Minnesota Medical Solutions in Otsego, will be available for qualifying patients.
Jennifer Simonson | MPR News

One week in, more than 100 health providers have signed up to certify patients for medical cannabis.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 54 out of 104 health professionals who applied, including doctors, got the green light from the state to certify patients to receive medical marijuana for treatment of a qualifying condition, such as epilepsy or cancer.

It is unclear why 50 percent of the applicants haven't been certified.

Manny Munson-Regala, assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health, said it may take time to verify practitioners' credentials.

"It's probably a mix of different things," he said. "We want to ensure that they in fact have one of the appropriate licenses."

A physician, physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse who has primary responsibility to care for a qualifying patient is eligible to participate in the program.

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The numbers reflect the first week of registration, from June 1 to June 7.

So far, 27 patients have been certified by a state-approved practitioner to receive medical cannabis in pill, oil or tincture form, according to the health department.

Out of those, 11 have completed their online registration. Eight are approved to pick up medical cannabis by July 1.

The state keeps track of the numbers when doctors who verify their patients' qualifying condition set up accounts in the Office of Medical Cannabis' online system.

Munson-Regala said MDH recommends patients or providers call during the initial setup.

"Unfortunately, if a provider is unwilling to certify, we cannot direct patients to ones who will," he said.

There is no deadline to register for the program.