New Minnesota laws taking effect this week

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(ABC 6 News) – A host of new Minnesota laws went into effect Aug. 1, with many revolving around medical care.

Starting this week patients can purchase medical cannabis in gummy form at dispensaries across the state such as Green Goods in Rochester. Not to be confused with Minnesota’s recent hemp-derived recreational edibles, medical cannabis edibles can have up to 10mg of THC.

Also new this week, physician assistants (PAs) have more control in the medical field. Before this law, PAs were limited in what they could do without a doctor working alongside them. The new law gives them more authority to manage and assess patients, and administer drugs like naloxone (narcan) to stop an opiod overdose.

Experts in street medicine say this will save lives.

Lastly, another new law bans insurance companies from charging organ donors more for disability or life insurance policies.

"For most of us it’s very difficult to be told ‘your insurance isn’t going to cover something like this,’" said Mary Wilder, a living kidney donor and executive director of Gift of Life Transplant House in Rochester.

Gift of Life says more than 100,000 people in the United States are on a transplant waiting list. 85% of the people on that list are waiting on a kidney.

"What that means for them is that they wake up tomorrow morning with hope in their hearts," Wilder said of the new law.

Representative Kaohly Her (DFL- St. Paul) lives with kidney disease and sponsored this bill to help increase the number of living kidney donors.

"My hope is that this removes a barrier so that people will get tested to see if they are matches. Our rates of donation of organ and marrow will increase because of this," Her said.

An in-depth list of laws that went into effect Aug. 1 can be found here.