Judy Bjerke Severson is a woman who wants to live a normal life. She wants to be able to go out and see her friends and family, go to the grocery store, and even be able to sleep in her own bed. Unfortunately, she states that the intense pain from both fibromyalgia and back surgery issues, along with a painkiller-induced fog, Severson is no longer able to enjoy the things she once was. Luckily, though, Monday marked a bit of joy for her though as well as other patients of Minnesota suffering from intense pain. They are finally able to get their hands on medical cannabis. On Monday, Severson was the first to be seen.

“I could just cry I’m so excited,” said the 70-year-old woman. “I don’t enjoy this life I have right now.”

Increasing the list of qualifying conditions to add incurable pain is a very important development in the program that launched about a year ago. Minnesota’s state program is one of the most restrictive in the entire country. Both manufacturers and patients believe that this new addition is going to lead to the addition of thousands of patients, which will reduce costs that are currently over a thousand dollars for some, as well as reducing addiction to narcotic painkillers.

Those projections were supported by data from Minnesota indicating that almost five-hundred patients suffering from incurable pain registered just last month, which is the first month of registration a month before legal sales could begin. That is more than five times the number of people that signed up at around the same point a year ago. The Minnesota Legislature legalized medical cannabis in 2014. The restrictions, though, do not allow the plant form to be used. Only pills, oils, and vapors can be used for patients with one of nine serious conditions that have received a doctor’s recommendation.

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