Minnesota Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced

By KBJR News 1

May 2, 2013 Updated May 2, 2013 at 7:58 PM CDT

St. Paul (NNCNOW.com)-- One Northland lawmaker has sparked the conversation to bring marijuana legalization to Minnesota.

In the United States, 18 states and the District of Columbia have permissible and legal marijuana use with a doctor's consent, something that Rep. Carly Melin wants for Minnesota.

The proposed legislation would allow people with a doctor's recommendation to purchase small amounts of marijuana from non-profit dispensaries across the state.

For her, the idea of legal marijuana for medical purposes isn't a democrat or republican issue.

"It's about the people and it's about the families that could benefit here in Minnesota," said Rep. Melin at a news conference Thursday.

Her bipartisan bill allowing doctors to prescribe patients cannabis was inspired by people like Joni Whiting, and her daughter.

"The pain she was experiencing was imaginable and the nausea was so severe that it became difficult for her to eat," said Whiting.

Entering the last months of her life, Joni's daughter tried marijuana and it worked.

"She'd be eating nothing for days," said Whiting. "She was then eating three meals a day using marijuana and keeping the food town."

The end-of-life relief is what state Rep. Tom Hackbarth signed on for--his wife is terminally ill.

"Quality of life is what we're taking about in those final days," said Rep. Hackbarth.

But despite the combined 40 sponsors of Melin's bill, not all in Minnesota are on board.

Rep. Bob Barrett says the legislation is a misguided attempt to curb medical aliments and marijuana is the second most dependent drug used in the United States. Even DFL Governor Mark Dayton won't support it citing law enforcement opposition.

Representative Melin expects the bill to be debated in the 2014 legislative session.

Zach Vavricka

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