ST. PAUL — Medical marijuana patients in Minnesota won't have their enrollment in the state's medical cannabis program expire until after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday, March 31.

The governor in an executive order extended enrollments in the program until Aug. 1 or 60 days after the state's peacetime emergency ends, whichever is later. The move is aimed at keeping patients with compromised immune systems at home and reducing demand on the state's health care system, Walz said in the order.

Patients in the program will also be able to send a caregiver to pick up their medication under the order and those aiming to enroll may talk to a medical provider remotely, over the phone or in a video call, to determine whether they qualify. Dispensaries will have the option to provide curbside pickup under the order.

The executive order, along with another order addressing first responder licensing in the state, was the latest effort to respond to the growing pandemic in Minnesota. The Department of Health on Tuesday announced that 629 Minnesotans had tested positive for the illness and 12 died from the illness or from complications from contracting it. So far, 19,780 people in the state have been tested for COVID-19.

And in a separate executive order, Walz extended the licenses of peace officers, firefighters and security officers whose licenses were set to expire and waived continuing education requirements during the peacetime emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

Without the change, peace officers, firefighters and security guards could be ineligible to continue their duties. And Walz in the executive order said it was critical to allow the officers to keep working during the crisis. Peace officers and firefighters with licenses set to expire on June 30, will see the date pushed back to Jan. 1, 2021. And security professionals will see their licenses be extended 60 days after the end of the peacetime emergency.

"During this peacetime emergency, compliance with licensing and continuing education requirements has become burdensome, and in some cases impossible, as many of the entities tasked with operations related to testing and education are not currently open or offering these services," Walz wrote in the executive order. "To ensure that our peace officers can fully support Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic, the POST Board must have the authority to appropriately modify licensing and continuing education requirements given the present constraints on the licensing and continuing education process."

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status. If this coverage is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism by clicking on the subscribe button in the upper righthand corner of the homepage.