Governor Dayton seeks compromise in medical marijuana debate

By KBJR News 1

March 13, 2014 Updated Mar 13, 2014 at 5:40 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton says he's reluctant to legalize medical marijuana, downgrading any chance of the bill being approved this session.

The Governor talked with reporters Thursday before meeting privately with a group who say marijuana is the best treatment option for their sick kids.

Governor Dayton said he still stands by the concerns of law enforcement and medical professionals about legalizing the drug.

However, he said he doesn't want to see people in pain.

“Governor Dayton was grateful for the opportunity this afternoon to spend time with these Minnesotans, and hear their stories. Following the meeting, the Governor said it was difficult to see that so many good Minnesotans are enduring such pain and suffering," Gov. Dayton's press secretary, Matt Swenson, wrote in a statement.

A group of medical marijuana patients and advocates gathered in front of the Governor's mansion Thursday to urge for movement on the bill, with signs in hand.

The Governor met privately with 11 individuals and their families to discuss the benefits and dangers of legalizing the drug.

“During the two-hour meeting, Governor Dayton listened to the stories of each individual to better-understand their needs and concerns. The discussion also included a conversation about concerns that have been voiced by members of law enforcement and the medical community," Swenson stated.

Governor Dayton has said he will only support Representative Carly Melin's medical marijuana bill, if it has the approval of law enforcement officials.

A compromise bill offered over the weekend removing the option for patients to smoke the drug along with other concessions was still rejected by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.

The Governor says a compromise to legalize medical marijuana isn't yet out of the question for this session.

He has directed his top staff members to continue working with advocates and other groups to see if a compromise agreement can be reached this session.

Posted to the web by: Elsa Robins
erobins@kbjr.com