Friday, December 18, 2015

I Have A Minnesota Workers Compensation Injury. Can I Receive Medical Marijuana For My Pain?

Earlier this year Minnesota joined others states in permitting the prescription of medical marijuana or cannabis by a medical doctor.  Initially medical marijuana was only permitted for certain diseases or conditions.  At the time the law was enacted in 2015 medical marijuana was not permitted to be prescribed for pain purposes alone.  This resulted in dozens of experts, health care professionals and individuals complaining and testifying before the Minnesota legislator that this exception was unfair and cruel.  Whereas narcotic and opioid drugs, that far more addictive are readily available, a safer treatment plan using medical cannabis is prohibited.  

After much debate the Minnesota Commissioner of Health approved the used of medical marijuana and cannabis to include "“intractable pain” (as defined by Minn. Stat. 152.125).  Above is the timeline for implementation of Minnesota's prescription of medical marijuana and cannabis for pain.  

Now that Minnesota has allowed for the prescription of medical cannabis for pain beginning the summer of 2016, the question remains what is "pain".  The statute attempts to define "intractable pain" but I assure you that we will spend the next few years determining what it actually means and how it should be applied to pain associated with work injuries.

 Subdivision 1. Definition. For purposes of this section, “intractable pain” means a pain state in which the cause of the pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated with the consent of the patient and 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. Reasonable efforts for relieving or curing the cause of the pain may be determined on the basis of, but are not limited to, the following: (1) When treating a nonterminally ill patient for intractable pain, evaluation by the attending physician and one or more physicians specializing in pain medicine or the treatment of the area, system, or organ of the body perceived as the source of the pain; or (2) When treating a terminally ill patient, evaluation by the attending physician who does so in accordance with the level of care, skill, and treatment that would be recognized by a reasonably prudent physician under similar conditions and circumstances.

At Atkinson Law Office we have already begun exploring the benefits of medical marijuana with our clients.  We expect to file our first claim shortly.  If you have suffered a Minnesota workers compensation injury, regardless of whether you believe you are receiving all of your proper benefits it would benefit you to contact our expert attorneys to discuss your claim.  This consultation is free.  Contact our office today at 651-333-3636.  We represent clients across the state of Minnesota and country who have sustained Minnesota workers compensation injuries.  Visit us today at