Medical marijuana bill stalled in the legislature

By KBJR News 1

March 11, 2014 Updated Mar 11, 2014 at 7:13 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A bill, legalizing medical marijuana in Minnesota, is stalled in the legislature.

The bill's sponsor postponed the measure's second hearing Tuesday following continued opposition from law enforcement.

There has been agreement on some of the changes made to the bill, but not enough to get full law enforcement support as yet.

That lack of consensus forced Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) to pull the bill from today's House Government Operations Committee meeting.

Rep. Melin said she feels she's made major concession by offering to remove the option for patients to "smoke" medical marijuana, and imposing a penalty for those who do smoke the drug.

Her revamped proposal also eliminates the ability for patients to grow their own marijuana.

Despite the concessions, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association says the bill doesn't go far enough to ensure marijuana doesn't get into the wrong hands through its availability and transportation.

"The proposal still allowed for transportation of marijuana plant material. Law enforcement believes that 'legal' transportation of marijuana would immediately and easily be abused as cover for illegal transportation and sale," Champlin Police Chief Dave Kolb, co-chairman of the MN Chiefs of Police Association, wrote in an email.

The association does say the discussions with lawmakers have been good, and a lot of progress has been made.

"If you look at those people that have been at the table, the fact that the pill form and liquid form has people giving the heads up, the OK, there is no doubt it's come along way. If you look back to 2009 when this first started, there was no doubt people have moved on their opinions as well as the general public," said Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay.

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association also says it wants a detailed list of the conditions in which patients would be prescribed medical marijuana.

Rep. Melin said she doesn't see a path forward until the Governor Mark Dayton changes his position on medical marijuana. The Governor has said he won't sign a bill unless law enforcement supports it.

The measure passed the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee last week.

Written by Kevin Jacobsen
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