ST. PAUL — Marijuana edibles will be granted as an allowable medication under Minnesota's medical marijuana program beginning in August of 2022, the state Department of Health announced on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Health officials said gummies and chews would be granted as viable forms of medical cannabis, along with pills, vapor oil, liquids, topicals, powdered mixtures, and lozenges. The state will immediately begin a rulemaking process to determine safe processes for labeling, testing and packaging, the department said.

“Expanding delivery methods to gummies and chews will mean more options for patients who cannot tolerate current available forms of medical cannabis,” Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a news release.

The Legislature this year also voted to expand the state's medical-marijuana program to allow participants to use dried, raw cannabis for smoking. That provision is set to take effect in March.

The state's program allows Minnesotans with 17 approved medical conditions to access cannabis for medical use. While health officials this year considered adding anxiety disorder as a qualifying condition, they ultimately decided that there wasn't enough evidence to back up its addition to the program.

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“We received many comments from health care practitioners treating patients with anxiety disorder, and they urged us to not approve it as a qualifying medical condition,” Malcolm said. “We recognize that not everyone has equal access to therapy — which is considered the front-line treatment — but ultimately we concluded that the risk of additional harms to patients outweighed perceived benefits.”

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson, call 651-290-0707 or email dferguson@forumcomm.com