Minn Lawmakers strike deal on medical marijuana legislation

By KBJR News 1

May 15, 2014 Updated May 15, 2014 at 11:21 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Minnesota Lawmakers struck a deal Thursday on a bill legalizing medical marijuana. The compromise measure has the support of Governor Mark Dayton, who says he'll sign the legislation.

There may be an end in sight to a long journey for Hibbing's Angie Weaver and her family.

"This is going to change my daughter's life and thousands of lives in Minnesota," Weaver said during a news conference in St. Paul.

Weaver joined lawmakers Thursday as they unveiled a compromise medical marijuana bill promising to ease the pain of her eight year old daughter, Amelia, who suffers from Dravet syndrome.

"What that means for Amelia is she's having 30 to 50 seizures a day," Weaver said.

The legislation, authored by Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) and Representative Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing), calls for a patient registry, two medical marijuana manufacturing facilities and eight distribution centers across the state.

"The fact we were able to come together with an agreement is going to be signed into is thrilling for a lot of people who have been fighting very, very hard through blood sweat and tears in order to get something done this session," said Rep. Melin.

Patients suffering from Cancer, Chron's Disease, or Terminal Illness would be able to obtain medical marijuana in pill, oil and vapor form.

Smoking marijuana would not be an option.

"All along It cannot be doubted or denied that we shared very core and very fundamental values and goals," said Sen. Dibble.

Lawmakers say the path to a compromise has been a roller-coaster and admit the measure won't help everyone.

"There are folks who may not get what they need from this proposal," Sen. Dibble said.

The path to an agreement even won over opponents of the measure, like Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake).

"I've said only a fool and a dead man change their mind. A phone call and an office visit is what it takes, " Rep. Hamilton said.

The measure also calls for the creation of a research task force made up of 23 people.

Governor Mark Dayton says he will sign the legislation, should the legislation be approved by the Senate and the House on Friday.

Proposal Breakdown

Conditions included in measure:
Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting; Glaucoma; HIV/AIDS; Tourette’s Syndrome; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy; Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; Crohn’s Disease; and Terminal illness, with a life expectancy of less than one year, if the illness or treatment produces severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting.

The registry's annual enrollment fee would cost patients $200.

A person found guilty of transferring medical marijuana to a person other than a registered patient would face a potential $3,000 fine, along with jail time.

Written by Kevin Jacobsen
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