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Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Approved By Second House Panel

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #478)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Members of a Minnesota House committee Monday voted to approve a medical marijuana bill despite the objections of law enforcement. The House Public Safety and Civil Law Committee approved the bill, HF655, on an 11-8 vote. It has already passed the House Health and Human Services Committee and is now headed for the House Finance Committee.

A Senate companion bill passed the Senate Health, Housing and Family Committee a month ago. It currently sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana upon obtaining a recommendation from a doctor and registering with the state. But in an effort to address law enforcement concerns, the public safety committee amended the bill so that individual patients cannot grow their own supply. Instead, sanctioned nonprofit organizations would be permitted to grow up to 12 plants and 2.5 ounces per patient.

The law enforcement contingent was out in force at the committee hearing. "Immediate and obvious areas of concern include existing conflicts with federal law, the potential for youth access and abuse, and the potential for this action being used as a platform for legalizing marijuana on a larger scale," Mitch Weinzetl of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association told KARE TV 11 News in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

"Smoking is harmful to the human body in any form, and it's particularly harmful with marijuana, which has significantly more dangerous chemicals than tobacco," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.

But while committee members attempted to ease law enforcement worries by amending the bill as noted above, they seemed more moved by the testimony of patients like Don Haumont, who suffers from liver cancer and other ailments. He told lawmakers only one thing helps: marijuana.

"I ate more, I gained weight, I felt healthier, I felt that I could take care of myself, I could do things," he said. "I could work and be productive." A former California resident, Hauman said he could smoke legally there. "And then when I moved here, it was harder to obtain and the quality was less," he said.

While law enforcement and Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) oppose the bill, it is gathering bipartisan support in the legislature. "It's more of a left and right coming together, which I think is a very good bill and one Minnesota should become the 13th state to pass," said Rep. Steve Sviggum (R-Kenyon), who once opposed such a measure.

Eleven states have working medical marijuana programs. New Mexico is about to become the 12th once Gov. Bill Richardson (D) signs the bill that passed there last week.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

"See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food. (Genesis 1:29)

Has the USA started a war on seed-bearing plants or do they agree with Genesis 1:29…?

Torah Sparks: Vayikrah from Manhigut Yehudit
And if a person sins... though he knows it not, he is guilty. (Leviticus 5:17)
“One who knows for certain that he transgressed, brings a sin offering; one who doubts if he transgressed, must atone with a guilt offering. Why does the one who has perhaps not transgressed require the more valuable offering? Because his regret is not as complete.”

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”
- Thomas Jefferson

Fri, 03/23/2007 - 5:31pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

"It is the right of every citizen,when goverment becomes evil,is to remove that goverment,and install a new one"-Thomas Jefferson

Tue, 03/27/2007 - 2:41pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

"Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one"
Thomas Jefferson

Mon, 04/16/2007 - 8:54am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Let me be the first, and last to say that.

Quit messing with our heads...the straight bible shit...bullshit quotes.
I know you're trying to be helpful with your witty quotes and phrases, but you know what?...These words you use are only powerful if we believe them.

I for one "old man" don't. Try a new way to think about your world. "Marijuana is good for pain relief, but it has to be high grade plants." Not that poorly grow Mexican shit

Wed, 11/12/2008 - 6:41am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

did you know that the decloration was written on hemp. it can be used as a fuel, made it clothes and rope. it is stronger than cotton. if we could grow it we could cut deforestation in half. IT DOESNT EVEN CONTAIN ANY THC!!

Fri, 02/13/2009 - 1:02am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

We do not support a Governor who has such disregard for his constituent's civil rights. It's time to rid Minnesota of Tim Pawlenty. He's become Pawlenty annoying and disrespectful to our state!

It is of extreme importance that Minnesotans become educated on Instant Runoff Voting. The Democrats as well as Republicans do NOT want this as it breaks the 2 party grip that has kept this country in absolute fear when it comes time to cast a vote. With Instant Runoff Voting no vote is thrown out. People no longer have to vote their fears but rather their hopes. A vote is cast for each individual in the order preferred by the person who is voting. With this system the people have a far greater say as opposed to the corporations who virtually OWN the current ruling parties.

Sun, 05/24/2009 - 1:24am Permalink

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