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Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Approved by House Committee

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #477)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

The Minnesota medical marijuana bill, HF 655 is on the move. In the bill's first House committee test, the Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday passed the bill on an 8-6 vote. It now heads for the House Public Safety and Civil Justice Committee.

A companion bill is the Senate is also moving. That legislation passed the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee on February 19 and is now before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth), lead sponsor of the House bill, hailed the vote as a victory for humane, common-sense legislation. "Politicians in St. Paul should trust physicians to know what's best for their patients," he said.

Among those who testified in support of the bill was Shannon Pakonen, whose son was pulled out of class and interrogated about his medical marijuana use by schoolteachers earlier this week. Pakonen went public with his medical marijuana use by testifying about it before a Senate committee about how he uses it to treat involuntary tics related to his Tourette's Syndrome.

"My son should not have to be treated like a criminal on the basis that he is my son," Pakonen testified, adding that this incident is precisely why Minnesota needs a medical marijuana law to protect patients and their families from harassment.

With both the House and Senate versions of the medical marijuana bill moving, and a new bill in New Mexico on the way to the desk of a governor who pushed to get it there, Minnesota could be on the way to becoming the 13th state to recognize medical marijuana. It's already the law in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

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)

I am a 32 year old disabled male. I was injured on the job. I was a night foreman at a production plant. I got hit in the back of the head by a semi-truck dock door. It fell off track and swung done and got me. I was in the hospital for 2 months. I had a subdural hematoma. I now suffer from spasticity of the legs. My legs hurt all the time, it's like someone is pushing their knuckle into my cavs. I have tried lots of different medicines(oxycoutin, morphine, and vicodin). Also a couple different doctors, with really no help. Now I self medicate by smoking marijuana to relive the pain. I really hope this bill goes threw, i have signing online petitions, sending emails, and writing letters to my congressman. I suggest everyone do the same.

Mon, 04/21/2008 - 10:27pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Do you have any links for online petitions. I am a 51 year old disabled female. I support this bill and will sign. I have written to my representitives already to help this bill pass.
Thank you

Wed, 04/23/2008 - 8:50pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)


Sat, 02/14/2009 - 1:25am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Some people need to take this issue seriously. people in real pain need to show that this helps them because it's not going to get passed from a pot head's point of view. so please- people with physical problems and need the help of marijuana, speak out.

Thu, 02/19/2009 - 11:52am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I have used it to help me with a number of issues, from joint pain and headaches, to anxiety and depression. It is a wonderful multi-use herb!

Thu, 02/19/2009 - 9:05pm Permalink
wishing they wuld (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I also understand what you are going through I suffer from chronic back pain, but the one thing that really gets me is both my parents went to prision for 10 years when i was 12 for rape,abuse ect,ect, and I lost all 5 of my sisters and brothers and was shuffled around the system until i was 18 because " people dont want older kids be happy that your brothers and sisters will have homes" I have been on so many meds it is crazy scince until I was intruduced to weed and I have to say that I had no longer axioty issues with being in the public, I sleep so much better and I am just in a positive mood with clearer thoughts with ut the excess junk, not to mention that weed works so much better than vicodens,perkisets, ocicotines that the doctors perscribe for my back, I am able to be functional when i smoke and not be doped up..funny thing to say but so true..I hope that they legalize it here in  MN I came from Mi and didnt check into this matter and have not smoked for fear of going to jail like my parents, so i am at the doctors disposal of constant pill shuffling...and the side affects are grusome

Fri, 10/07/2011 - 11:51pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The fact the alcohol is legal and marijuana is not, is a rediculous idea. That means that I can go to a bar, get drunk to the point where I am beligerant, do something stupid where I dont remember what I did, maybe I'll end up in jail. All that can happen but I cant legally sit in my house, smoke pot, and play video games, because of some stupid law that makes no sense whatsoever

Mon, 02/23/2009 - 11:19pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

well i have to say i pretty much agree with everyone else. and the PLANT has more uses then just to smoke or eat. i have to say that its funny how the state is raising cigarette prices to get money. i know more ppl that smoke marijuana then ppl that smoke cigarettes. and i heard a rumor (dont know if its true) that the state was looking at making the drinking laws diffrent for 18 year olds. well just to go back to the point already made, How many ppl DO you see getting high and wanting to get into fights and do stupid things? i have never seen it. THE ONLY REASON ITS NOT ALREADY LEGAL IS BECAUSE NOBODY CAN TAX IT!

P.S. dont be immature its a serious issue!

Thu, 03/12/2009 - 4:25pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

there are soooo many more uses then just the smokee. it may be outta ration but hemp, can virturally replace cotton and other more expensive cloth. per acre, corn or as we know as E85 gas, corn produces up to 15 to 20 gallons of bio metric fuel. thats alot of damn corn (corn is the mostly wide distributed food and we cant afford to tap into it for fuel since the demand is so large, it would be like 1932 all over again. marijuana on the other hand produces up to 28 to 32 gallons of bio metric fuel. the thing i think is, is if there were a way to say test how much budski's u just blazed on spot mabey they could somehow regulate it like alcohol. some what like a breath-a-lizer for buds cuz they cant see on sight how much u just consumed. and then add in all the medical benifits its just outrageous how the benifits outweigh the negatives for this plant of ours.
email me if u got any good coments or ideas
ur email will deffinitly be appreciated my fellow smokers
[email protected]

Wed, 03/18/2009 - 3:46pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I have been a smoker for about 4 years now. I use to think of it as this horrable thing that only stupid people did and that i would just drink beer and vodka and that was better. As I have grown and smoked more, I now know the true benifits. I smoke and sit around playing video games with friends or go for a hike with my gf, who doesnt smoke but doesnt care when i do(i know awesome right?) , but it is nothing that these opposers should worry about. No fights, no blacking out. whats wrong with it?
Now my mother, who has told me she made special brownies in college, has had more than 10 surgeries on her back in the last 3 years,+ total knee recunstrution. She is in so much pain that she had a morphine pump installed in her chest and takes pain killers ontop of that, I would love to see how pot would help her. She has trouble eating/keeping food down and cant sit for any amount of time. plus it would be awesome to light up and smoke a J with my mom!
Come on MN! Figure it out!

Wed, 03/18/2009 - 11:55pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

oh and she was injured by a drunk driver, who left the scene of the accident...enough said

Wed, 03/18/2009 - 11:56pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Potheads and wannabes thats all you are if you want this passed. Have fun watching the courts get bogged down with case after case of idiots and illegal organizations and clubs that fraudulently get and grow the "legal" weed. BTW pot generally can cause negative long term mood changes and dependency issues just like many other illegal or prescription drugs. Get a clue what to do, morons.

Thu, 04/09/2009 - 12:21am Permalink
lowell1956 (not verified)

You did not realy post this did you ,,It can't be true Yet I wonder who could get buy with leaving such profanity .This is not our Govener ...........This is a reply to a comment made by somebody naming them self as Tim Palenty some body clear this up for me,,, Lowell

Fri, 07/17/2009 - 5:08pm Permalink
crittercathy (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Come out of your cave it is 2009 read the research get informed because you are spewing right wing bs with no data to back it up -- Doctors want this are you a doctor -- lets hope no one you know is dying but if they are their last days on earth should be coherant so family can say good bye not drugged up on morphine or other opiates or your child doesn't get lukemia and it's not the treatment that kills them it's the starvation from the Chemo it gives an appetite so they can live thru treatment -- before you talk out your ass and call myself a nurse and many more qualified people morons show me your credentials and studies that show what you say is true till then get off this site and bother others !!!!!!

Mon, 07/06/2009 - 7:04pm Permalink
Christian Libe… (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

As an extreem fundimentalist Christian I would NOT use pot and DON'T recomend it. However the state has no right to tell people that they cannot grow or use marijuana. Our rights come from God not man. The origional laws to ban this substance were based on racial lies against mexecans and blacks. If we are to be a free society these laws and many like them need to be repealed.

Mon, 02/22/2010 - 12:14am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

there is actually no evidence in a scientific study that proves that marijuana is a mind or mood altering drug. even if the person is going through withdrawal it is very mild. that fact came from the United States department of health and human services. learn your facts before you open up your fucking mouth moron. look it up you fucking piece of shit. the only reason why this shit is illegal is because (im not trying to be racist) blacks and mexicans smoked it and a doctor in the sixties (who was racist) wrote a book on how bad it is for you. look up all the myths before you post something like that you dumb piece of shit. you know those anti-drug commercials, yeah they have to be pulled off of the air because more then 90% of them aren't true.

Thu, 04/09/2009 - 11:41am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

For those of you who are against it. I think next time you have a head ache, or sore muscles, try it... I swear you will feel better, you will see what all the fuss is about. It is a plant, not a man made drug. Not only does it have medical use, but hemp itself is an amazing thing. I just want to prove a point. Can't we all just get abong?

Thu, 04/09/2009 - 2:44pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Now, I get mad when people talk about playing video games and doing it for recreational purposes. Marijuana does more for me, than cutting my wrist, trying to take sleeping pills to the point where I won't wake up and more. Yes it helps arthritis, glacoma, multiple sclorohsis and more, but no one ever thinks about mental problems. To me, cutting is a mental problem. I can honestly tell you that marijuana has LITERALLY saved my life. If i hadn't been introduced to it about 8 years back, I would be dead. I know I would. Yes, I'm sure that your video games look cool when your stoned, but that makes you part of the problem and not part of the solution. You're giving them a reason to say "Oh, see, now kids are just going to sit at home smoking pot and playing video games. Is that where we want our future to go?", and half of America would believe it. Me, personally, I have never missed a day of work. Hell, I've come in on my birthdays and when I'm sick to work, so how much incentive does one need to actually get this bill passed? Marijuana saves peoples lives. We can go into the whole "why it's actually legalized" but no one cares. We could also go into the whole "It can be used for a number of resources", but no one cares. Stick to the issue.

Sun, 04/19/2009 - 12:09pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

It appears that this thread is still being read by some.

At this point (today) the house passed a bill for medicinal marijuana in MN. That being said, the governor of MN has committed to VETO this bill.

Now is the time to research this topic and send the message to our representatives.

Thu, 04/30/2009 - 12:09am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

This bill needs to pass this would make money by taxes and it would stop alot of tickets and i know alot of people more than what you think would be totally behind it. and you will get my vote along with many others if this passes, thank you! hopefully it passes.

Mon, 05/04/2009 - 11:33am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

i Think the person who wrote the we are idiots has no right to be talking if you dont smoke pot then you shouldnt even be on this web site!!!!! and obviously you have NO IDEA about marijuana and its purposes so yeah just stay out of it! and also it would be another way for the gov to make money off us and from everything i hear they need it and actually i would be more than happy to pay taxes on it cause then i no its actually going towards something that alot of people need.

Mon, 05/04/2009 - 11:38am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Although people may think that the Drug War targets drug smugglers and 'King Pins,' in 2007, 47.4 percent of the 1,841,182 total arrests for drug abuse violations were for marijuana -- a total of 872,720. Of those, 775,137 people were arrested for marijuana possession alone. By contrast in 2000 a total of 734,497 Americans were arrested for marijuana offenses, of which 646,042 were for possession alone.

(and it costs tax payers about $50 a day to keep all of them imprisoned)

"Tetrahydrocannabinol is a very safe drug. Laboratory animals (rats, mice, dogs, monkeys) can tolerate doses of up to 1,000 mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram). This would be equivalent to a 70 kg person swallowing 70 grams of the drug -- about 5,000 times more than is required to produce a high. Despite the widespread illicit use of cannabis there are very few if any instances of people dying from an overdose. In Britain, official government statistics listed five deaths from cannabis in the period 1993-1995 but on closer examination these proved to have been deaths due to inhalation of vomit that could not be directly attributed to cannabis (House of Lords Report, 1998). By comparison with other commonly used recreational drugs these statistics are impressive."

(so do your research, fucker)

"BTW pot generally can cause negative long term mood changes and dependency issues just like many other illegal or prescription drugs. Get a clue what to do, morons."

-Infinitesimal, compared to those of frequent opiate or alcohol use.

Wed, 05/06/2009 - 2:44am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

After our wonderful governor vetoed the bill that would give relief to people that truly need relief from side effects and pain of terminal illness, I am disgusted by this measure he took. I am a 51 year old who has lived in Minnesota most of my adult life. I have always thought as Minnesotan's to be some of the most progressive people by the way they live and the way they strive to help those in need. If someone is suffering due to a terminal illness, give them the relief they need. They should have the option of prescription medications for pain relief or anything that they choose to help with pain relief. The attitude of the governor's decision was based he said on all the law enforcements recommendations that it not be passed, due to the "criminal element that it would create". What a lame excuse by a bunch of people that are elected officials who know as well as we all do that the war on drugs is just a sink hole that money keeps getting tossed into that is never ending and never will be. Prescription medications pose a much more accountable threat, but then again, the drug companies commit millions of dollars every year to lobby for their drugs and are truly threatened by the premise that something that you could grow yourself might be just as beneficial to pain relief that the stuff they peddle. And as far as trusting our law enforcement people to make these decisions for the rest of us is totally a joke. This is proved by the number of people killed every year by drunk drivers in our state. How many of these highway homicides do we have to take before everyone sees the facts that alcohol is a by far bigger "drug problem that marijuana. But then again it takes someone with a mind that hasn't been completely brainwashed that alcohol is acceptable an marijuana smokers are the enemy. If marijuana was finally legalized, they might be able to finally fully focus their sights on issues like this and getting all the meth off the streets and the illegal guns that seem to have all of us responsible gun owners about to lose ours. What is truly needed in this state is people who think beyond political contributions and of bigger political agendas, such as our governor has, the possible presidential nomination. Way to go Tim! I only hope that your political life is short lived just because of the arrogance of the way you vetoed a bill meant to help ease the suffering of fellow Minnesotans. Shame on you.....

Thu, 05/28/2009 - 3:59am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Make it legal across the board and tax it, lets use this as a tool to correct our government budget problems

Fri, 05/29/2009 - 7:20pm Permalink
Dude (not verified)

I'm a daily smoker and have been for about 3 years...delt with anxiety problems my whole life and marijuana has helped me very much with my anxiety. Also was depressed for a while and when I started smoking it made me look at things in life in a much better way. Us Minnesotans rock! Nicest most friendliest people on earth and most people i know are smokers. I go to school and work full time and play sports year round and also coach and volunteer with other I guess im just a pothead loser....right?

Thu, 06/04/2009 - 2:41am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Marijuana reliefs my Depresion and my Anxiety,I have fibermyalga bad, lots off pain ,lots off class a narcotics ,,almost 3 years now .any head doctor knows IF your depresion Is bad enough It causes pain.. One hit and I.m off too do something ..doing something Is excersize mowing the lawn fixing one off my cars you realy cant write what you want on here, trust me I know Of course I can.t do this for fear off the ill soon be in a state run instatution Or just have a accident by my self Ive allready accepted death so whats the diff

Fri, 07/17/2009 - 4:31pm Permalink
Yung D (not verified)

I am 19 years old and attending college for teaching. I have been smoking pot for the past 3 years. I was wondering if i could receive your opinion. My parents are against anything and everything, smoking, drinking. I myself have never enjoyed drinking. But a buddy of mine introduced me to pot and i have loved ever since. My question is if my parents find out or if the time comes to tell my parents. What should i say?

Hemp should be legalized for the multi-purposes that this plant possesses. You can make paper, clothing, fuel, and etc. out of just one plant. I say legalize and tax marijuana. I'm sure your thinking that if we would legalize hemp that people would just grow their own and not buy. Thats why we would tax the hemp that goes into the paper, the cloths etc. and also tax recreational and medical hemp. Think about the multi-billion dollar industry possibly trillion dollar industry that would put America back on top.

Mon, 07/20/2009 - 4:00am Permalink
Jeremy Mount (not verified)

I'm not concerned with any one opinion. But to say a plant should be grounds for putting a person in the same jail as a pedophile or wife beater (That was probably drunk when he beat her, not high) is what bothers me. Why is it illegal? Because it's bad for our health? Should we regulate how much alcohol a person buys? Should we regulate how many packs of smokes you can buy? Why should a mans life be ruined because he smokes something??? Doesn't any one here think that is kind of freaky that we are letting our government do that to us?

Tearing a persons life apart because he smokes Marijuana is wrong. It's no crime to sit at home and enjoy a smoke.

I'm a mormon I don't even smoke and I think it's crazy.

Sat, 08/01/2009 - 8:37am Permalink
James R. (not verified)

Reading that medical marijuana has a chance in Minnesota makes me ecstatic. I remember getting so frustrated after being put on supervised probation(for blowing .025)(which is utter bullshit)because i couldnt smoke for a year and i started thinking why should i listen to these people who only care about their money and status, its my life, its only a plant that helps me live happily and causes absolutely no harm too others. Shit, i smoke weed because it helps my chronic depression, it gives me a reason to live and it helps me accept the world i live in. im just glad our government has stopped being an ignorant asshole about marijuana.

Tue, 09/08/2009 - 4:16pm Permalink
sasha (not verified)

love weed... helped me thru my toughest times.. instead of getting drunk like my friends and doing stuff and blacking out.. i can sit on my couch and just relax and ABLE to sleep after soo many months. and its not harmfull to others.. our actions atleast dont cause others their life. i have seen and heard so many stories with drunk drivers.. urrghh dont get me started... anyways i moved up here in MN last year. so have no contact here.. if someone can email me i would appreciate it .. dont know anyone here . [email protected] thx a bunch guys PEACE

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 12:01pm Permalink
tn1g (not verified)

anyone posting about alcohol being more of a drug and harming others while weed is nowhere near as harmfull and just great for relaxing would love this song. starts weird but listen through. the words are totally right. weed never hurt anyone. alcohol should be illegal .

Sun, 12/13/2009 - 1:59pm Permalink
Mr. Stereotypi… (not verified)

I guarantee you more than half of the people in any given town have either tried marijuana or smoke it regularly recreationally. If the bill doesn't pass, it isn't going to matter, because we're all just going to keep growing and smoking it...prohibition doesn't work, especially for a harmless substance like cannabis.

if it doesn't pass, we're going to do it anyway, so it might as well!
if it doesn't, then just carry on my fellow potheads, and keep smoking mother natures gift to mankind!


Thu, 01/07/2010 - 6:25am Permalink
Jack (not verified)

I'm 17 almost 18 and I suffer from depression. Why in the fucking world should I be taking anti depressants that fuck with me and make me an emotionless robot. When I smoke I feel like I used to before my depression. Confident, happy, and hopeful. Why in the hell is weed illegal? Seriously show me that weed is worse for you than tobacco or alcohol.I'd bet most prescription drugs are worse for you than marijuana
Wed, 08/04/2010 - 12:53pm Permalink

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