Minnesota Senate panel approves
Medical Marijuana Bill
The Minnesota Senate Committee on State and Local Government approved a bill Tuesday that would provide legal access to medical marijuana for people with specific debilitating medical conditions. The legislation was referred to Judiciary, which will hear testimony on Wednesday, April 30.
"We're pleased to see this important legislation is moving forward so quickly in the Senate," said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. "Legal access to medical marijuana cannot come soon enough for seriously ill Minnesotans and their families."
SF 1641, sponsored by Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, glaucoma, and severe, debilitating pain to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The Minnesota Department of Health would issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients and establish a tightly regulated system of alternative treatment centers and quality control labs.
"States and localities around the country have proven that regulating medical marijuana works," Azzi said. "People suffering from debilitating conditions like cancer, AIDS, and epilepsy deserve safe and legal access to medical marijuana. That is what this legislation would provide."
The Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing approved the measure last week. A companion bill in the Minnesota House of Representatives, HF 1818, received approval in March from the Health and Human Services Policy Committee. Both bills have the maximum number of sponsors allowed - five in the Senate, including two committee chairs, and 35 in the House, including 12 committee chairs. Six additional House members have signed copies of the bill in order to demonstrate their support.
Three out of four Minnesota residents (76%) support making medical marijuana legal for seriously ill people whose doctors recommend it, according to a St. Cloud State University Survey released in January. Only 20% are opposed.