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Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Dies Without House Vote as Legislature Adjourns

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #487)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

A bill that would have made Minnesota the 13th medical marijuana state died for lack of a House floor vote before the state legislature adjourned Tuesday. A companion bill had passed the Senate earlier in the session, but even if the House had passed it, it faced a veto threat from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The bill, HF 655, would have allowed patients with specified chronic debilitating conditions to possess up to 12 plants and 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Patients would have been able to designate caregivers to grow for them. The bill also called for patients to register with the state after obtaining a written recommendation from a physician, registered nurse, or physician's assistant.

Although the Minnesota medical marijuana bill could not clear the final legislative hurdle this year, supporters said their success this year left them well-positioned for next year. Under the state's two-year session, next year's drive will begin with the legislation having already passed the Senate, and with the momentum of an unbroken string of committee wins.

"We are in a very strong position to pass this sensible, compassionate bill into law next year, and making sure that happens will be a top priority," said Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) in a press release from Minnesotans for Compassionate Care (MCC), a coalition of citizens, patients, medical professionals and others working to pass the bill.

"Passage of the medical marijuana bill in the Senate this year gave the effort incredible momentum, and I look forward to passing the House in 2008," added Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing).

Another legislative supporter, bill cosponsor and former House speaker Rep. Steve Sviggum (R-Kenyon) vowed to work on bringing Gov. Pawlenty around in the mean time. "I look forward to having a continuing dialogue with the governor about the need to protect seriously ill patients who use medical marijuana, and about the safeguards built into this legislation," he said. "I'm confident we will pass it when we return next year because it's the right thing to do."

Last month, New Mexico became the latest state to enact a medical marijuana law when Gov. Bill Richardson, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, signed a bill into law there. That gave some hope to MCC director Neal Levine. "As states like New Mexico continue to step forward and new research continues to document the relief that medical marijuana can provide for suffering patients, the momentum is overwhelming," said Levine. "No Minnesotan should fear arrest and jail simply for trying to stay alive, and I have no doubt that 2008 will be the year that protection for patients becomes law."

If that is indeed the case, Minnesota will join Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington as medical marijuana states.

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)

So you think that cancer patients belong in jail for relieving their suffering because some one, some place might drive under the influence of marijuana? If that's your rationale, shouldn't we be locking up everyone who takes a drink?

Oh, by the way, Kaiser Permanente has supported marijuana as a treatment option for AIDS wasting syndrome.

Sun, 05/27/2007 - 11:22am Permalink
Uzz Baldrin (not verified)

It's evident that MN lawmakers are willing to allow Doctors and Patients to use medicinal marijuana. Governor Pawlenty has said he will veto the bill, now that the 2007 session has adjourned he has a little more time to look at the facts rather than just tow the line with law enforcement. The Governor should take this opportunity to ask the medical community and the people he represents about this issue and he'll find the patients that might use mmj are regular, normal Minnesotans that have an ailment that requires a medicinal herb. To Governor Pawlenty...Look at this for what it is rather than what it isn't.

Uzz Baldrin
Marijuana News Channel

Tue, 05/29/2007 - 4:34pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Just so everyone knows, cocaine is also legal for medicinal purposes. The fact that marijuana is not, is just stupid.
From a legal drug dealer

Mon, 07/02/2007 - 12:26am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

All these Medications; Are becoming Popular for Cancer.....While These "American'" citizens have found a way to prevent and help cure cancer. But, the Government (Tim Pawlently) are Taking advantage of the Sick and Mentally Ill! Wow I don't know if you have thought this over but, I personally believe ; That they should make marijuana legal and get are United State Troops to fight for are right to become narcotic and stop mentally ill siturations, and also rapes the percentage would drop amazingly.

Sean Wilcox

Sat, 04/12/2008 - 6:04pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

To be completly honest, as a Medical Marijuana user for over a decade, driving under the influence of marijuana has zero negative effects, and if anything accutally helps and improves my concentration on the road. I cant think of how many times its probally even saved my life.

Mon, 03/09/2009 - 9:18pm Permalink

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