At the stroke of midnight, medical marijuana was legal in Minnesota. Moments later, the state’s first cannabis clinic welcomed its first patients, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” said Kim Kelsey, holding up a small white pill bottle containing a week’s supply of cannabis pills outside. The Minnesota Medical Solutions clinic in downtown Minneapolis opened its doors just after midnight July 1 for a handful of clients, like Kelsey, who didn’t want to wait even a few more hours to start treatment.
Minnesota’s medical marijuana program is one of the most tightly regulated in the nation, and also the most clinical. Cannabis will be sold only in pills, oils or liquids, not as smokable plant material. The hope is that the manufacturers will be able to tailor doses, not only to different conditions, but to different patients and their needs. Minnesota’s medical cannabis program is open to patients suffering one of nine qualifying conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease or glaucoma. As of Friday, there were just 65 Minnesotans enrolled in the program, and many more searching for a doctor willing to certify them to participate in the program. Despite the long fight and slow rollout, the program’s first participants were jubilant.