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Minn. Senate Panel to Continue Medical Marijuana Hearing

Updated: 04/10/2014 6:05 PM
Created: 04/10/2014 5:32 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson

Medical marijuana has not yet been snuffed out in Minnesota.
    
A Senate committee on Thursday started to consider a bill that would legalize the use of marijuana to treat patients with certain ailments.
    
The hearing comes as hopes for legalization are smoldering after advocates and Gov. Mark Dayton could not agree on the proposal's contents.

Parents shared compelling testimony with lawmakers Thursday, hoping to sway opinions in favor of the bill.

"We've tried every medicine that is out there for Amelia," said Angie Weaver, whose 7-year-old suffers from a form of Epilepsy. "We are not criminals. We are law abiding citizens. We are just parents asking you to help our daughter."
    
Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, is sponsoring the bill that would allow licensed medical practitioners to prescribe marijuana to patients with maladies such as cancer, epilepsy and debilitating pain.
    
Those patients would receive a card enabling them to buy medicinal marijuana from approved dispensers, or patients could grow up to 12 plants themselves.

Department of Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger also testified Thursday, saying although he supports the bill's goal, the Department of Health cannot support the law just yet.

"Despite its good intentions, Senate File 1641 creates a risky shortcut for a substance of variable quality and strength, putting doctors in a very tough spot," he said. "Our view is that legalization of cannabis for medical use should be undertaken with deliberation and caution."

The Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing will continue discussing the bill after the Legislature returns from its Easter/Passover break. Lawmakers begin their recess Thursday evening and reconvene April 22.


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