Minneapolis City Council close to throwing support behind medical marijuana

marijuanaplant.jpg
Coleen Danger
Minneapolis Councilman Andrew Johnson is one of those rare characters in the medical marijuana debate, playing both politician and patient.

He was diagnosed only a few years ago with an extreme form of glaucoma in both eyes, he says. Before major surgeries, his doctors have prescribed conventional medicine to decreased pressure, one of which had the potential to be fatal.

"Our legislators allowed me to be on a drug that could kill me, but not medical marijuana," Johnson says. "I have, as a result, less vision in my eyes."

SEE ALSO: When will medical marijuana be legal in Minnesota?

The 29-year-old councilman may has a unique problem, but he's not alone in his support of medical marijuana. The Minneapolis Intergovernmental Relations Committee is all set Thursday to add the issue to its legislative agenda. If it's approved by the council, city lobbyists at the state Capitol will be directed to work with lawmakers to get an upcoming bill passed that allows qualifying patients to use marijuana.

A report submitted by those lobbyists takes a favorable view of marijuana as a remedy for the pain caused by certain ailments, including glaucoma. It goes on to state:
Although opponents of medical marijuana have raised concern about increased marijuana use among adolescents, a recent study showed that medical marijuana laws in Montana, Rhode Island, Michigan, and Delaware did not affect frequency of adolescent use of marijuana.
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Mpls Councilman Andrew Johnson
Minnesota's medical marijuana bill could come up at the state committee level as soon as this week and is expected, in both the House and Senate, to get a proper debate by the end of this short session.

The loudest voice of opposition remains the state's top cops and prosecutors who have the ear of Gov. Mark Dayton. They produced a paper in 2009 arguing that the pain and suffering experienced by cops and prosecutors in combating drug dealers is equal to that experienced by patients with debilitating and terminal illnesses.

"I don't think our support is going to change the statewide bodies representing law enforcement," says Minneapolis councilwoman Elizabeth Glidden, who chairs the intergovernmental committee. "But hopefully there can be a way to continue conversation about the bill, and in a way that it can be drafted to satisfy concerns."

Although many of the concerns of law enforcement have actually been addressed in the current bill, top officials still refuse to come to the table and talk meaningfully with supporters.

As a glaucoma patient, Johnson is affected by the bill personally. But he's also pushing for medical marijuana on behalf of patients like himself and their doctors.

"For our state legislators to say they can't use one of the tools in their tool box is simply wrong," he says.

Johnson and another council member -- Lisa Bender, a cancer survivor -- could testify in St. Paul on the physical toll of conventional medicines.

-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to jmarx@citypages.com

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60 comments
Brian Steidl
Brian Steidl

I think for chronic pain it would do wonders. Also taking it out of the shadows is blow against criminals and violence.

cyborg6971
cyborg6971

Why even bother with the medical aspect of the whole thing and legalize it. Why phuck around? Minnesota used to be a trailblazing state with people who took stock in the overall big picture. Now it seems we are in a police state, controlled by mental midgets who have no earthly right to be in charge of a remote control. Mark Dayton needs to sow up his vagina and leave it up to the people of the state not what police or sheriff's think.

Wini Von Bago Johnson
Wini Von Bago Johnson

they are so dumb here. they should have passed an All OK bill. but no. they had to drag it out over years and years after everyone proved it was harmless. and how many incarcerations later...why keep it illegal, BECAUSE IT MADE THEM MONEY. THEY HAVE NO CONSCIENCE WHAT SO EVER, AT ALL!

Ross.
Ross.

I'm for marijuana being used to treat certain health problems. Compared to other drugs which could be used marijuana's side-effects probably are not any worse and its benefits likely much greater. The downside is that the most likely outcome of legalizing it is that many people will suddenly develop "health issues" to try to get a prescription from their doctor. This would happen more with marijuana (relative to legal alternatives) because it is already such a big part of certain sub-cultures. All considered though medical marijuana is likely a good thing. 

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Tony, I have no idea what you are talking about.

Gary Maki
Gary Maki

pot rx changed my life for the better!

Tony Wegleitner
Tony Wegleitner

and tell me that youd rather she took a pill, which she did.

Tony Wegleitner
Tony Wegleitner

go watch charlottes web. its short dont worry your crazy head ;)

Jason T. Turner
Jason T. Turner

The cops' and prosecutors' pain and suffering? What a dumb argument... That can be easily eliminated by decriminalizing pot.

npaetznick
npaetznick

What we've all been waiting for. :D

em3662
em3662

do research! Go to creditable sites.... Mayo Clinic, John  Hopkins, etc.  It has proven over and over again to help in several areas of health.  BUT because it is illegal my brother with a stage 4 brain cancer will not use it...  I am not talking about pot/weed to smoke and get high!  I am talking about created strains used for particular medical needs.  People abuse pharm drugs EVERYDAY... I hope people get out of there one way thinking and do research...  Not much money to be made vs pharm co.  This is beyond a JOKE!

TC4L
TC4L

I thought Weed was legal years ago.  Buying different kinds of weed is literally as easy as buying a Porterhouse at Cub. 

Keith Krupp
Keith Krupp

We've had MedPot in CA for some time now. It's all good. There was a pot doctor in my office building for a a year or so. The elevator was the happiest place on Earth.

Kevin Green
Kevin Green

Why do people think that they or the government needs to profit off of other peoples suffering??? For something that grows like a weed ?

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Fuck cops and prosecutors. Who watches The Watchmen??

greenthinks
greenthinks

And the weak excuse they use that marijuana has been showing up 100% more in fatal car accidents is an attempt to skew the statistics... it ignores the fact that traffic deaths have fallen drastically in all of these states because people have been using marijuana instead of alcohol . Jim Backstrom is one perpetrator of these dishonest attempts to mislead the public. All this shows is that the use of marijuana has risen in the states that have legalized it , nothing points to marijuana as a cause of these fatalities or even a contributing factor. The fact that metabolites can stay in your system for a month  doesnt mean that you are under the influence of the drug a month after use. 

Cody Anderson
Cody Anderson

Our governor Vetoed this twice. He is a dumbass clearly stuck in the reefer madness era. I would prefer to see this stuff legal And the police go after the real criminals...such as meth/coke pushers, rapist and murders.... you know things that matter to our societies safety. It shouldn't cut revenue streams at all to the government machine. ....There are plenty of serious offenders that can be locked up for longer terms.

Elisa Maria
Elisa Maria

Ayurveda is absolutely not a "SCAM", Chris.

greenthinks
greenthinks

Why does city pages sit on the sidelines when Marijuana has been proven to not only treat cancer but appears to  be the miracle cure for cancer we have been spending billions of dollars looking for? It does a hell of alot more then give you the munchies.  

The liquor industry opposes it and the police all for nefarious and self serving reasons. 


Isnt having the Govenor of a state required to get the ok from the police to sign a bill the very definition of a police state?

Jesse Etzler
Jesse Etzler

Our Government and pharma is too money hungry and selfish to accept the truth

Teresa Henderson Lulf
Teresa Henderson Lulf

The pain for cops and prosecutors is equal to that of debilitating and terminal patients? For shame to make that comparison

Jessica Ernst
Jessica Ernst

It is obscene that known carcinogens and toxins are allowed to be used but a natural substance with nearly no side effects (of which are okay, munchies, relaxation, sleep,etc.). I can say I would benefit from medical marijuana for several reasons, migraines, stress, upset stomach. They need to stop making otherwise law abiding citizens into bad people who do "drugs".

Kiya Jae
Kiya Jae

And exceeded $5 million dollars the first week of sales

Kiya Jae
Kiya Jae

Colorado made $1 million dollars the first DAY of sales.

Tony Wegleitner
Tony Wegleitner

Colorado made 1 million dollars the first week of sales. There's plenty of money but not for the cops that's the catch

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Do pharmaceutical companies own marijuana? I think you guys are veering off the topic at hand.

Tony Wegleitner
Tony Wegleitner

Everyone doubting medical Mary jay. Search YouTube for "charlottes web" her story may show you ignorance is the only thing stopping us

Jane Keenan
Jane Keenan

Because big pharma hasn't figured out a way to get the same levels of money from herbals? No R&D $$. No big profits.

Tony Wegleitner
Tony Wegleitner

Nothing matters but $$$. And the cops will lose alot if this gets passed. No argument against this is valid , because of alcohol . It's legal and kids drink and sometimes the consequences are fatal . Pot CANNOT be fatal, but no matter what anyone does , it really doesn't matter because the deduction lies with people who have too much to lose if it gets passed. It's sad that even if majority of us want it, one person/one perspective can shit all over it.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

OK Chris. Marijuana easing pain for the terminally ill is a scam. Thanks for disproving modern science.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Why exercise and use herbal remedies when you can take a pill for everything instead? This is Democrat/Republican logic.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

The more progressives you elect the more progress you make as a society.   If Republicans were in charge of anything right now instead of debating medical marijuana we would be watching as they try to take our voting rights away or they try to pass a gay Jim Crow law like they did in Arizona.  Republicans are a party of crazy bigots these days who waste time and money.   Progressives like the Minneapolis City Council make the world a better place.  

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Ross.  its the doctors job to tell me what my illness is, no need for fabrication



vonlogau
vonlogau

@greenthinks Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Police and Peace Officers Federation (cop union) is the Shadow Governor.

vonlogau
vonlogau

Cannabis as a natural plant cannot be patented.  Drug companies make most money off their patented medications.   Many of those patented drugs are wonderful and almost miraculous; but many also have serious risk of severe side effects.   Cannabis is safe, effective, and unpatentable, which is why the drug companies want it to stay illegal and they contribute money to anti-marijuana propaganda advertising to keep "reefer madness" going.

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann You're only thinking of the old crusty republicans. My republican rep supports medical marijuana. Most people under 35 don't care about pot at all. Marijuana divides people by age way more than by party lines. Just wait another 10 years for the last of the "greatest generation" to die off and the republicans will be done with religious crusades and marijuana prohibition. Maybe I'll finally join them then.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Even progressives on the city council that make restaurants located South of Lake follow the 70/30 food/alcohol law? Or let me guess: only republicans want local neighborhood businesses to fail or not start up at all? Oh wait. There are no republicans in the Mpls City Council, haven't been for years. But there are 12 dems and one green....

TC4L
TC4L

@vonlogau @TC4L  CP needs to learn to take a joke. Too  many bitter people on here. 

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@mingtran  Boring poorly informed ming.  Don't respond to me anymore.   It is pointless to debate with you since you are a poorly informed Fox News bleating sheep.  

vonlogau
vonlogau

@TC4L @vonlogautoo many of some kind of people, perhaps.  how about my friend who was wounded by a grenade in Vietnam and has permanent nerve damage with intractable pain . . .  a criminal since he uses cannabis for relief.   He's not bitter, not really, and naturally you wouldn't be either, in his place.    Lots of bystanders like to criticize me for not seeing the joke.   I guess my sense of humor is skewed by my sympathy for innocent victims of unjust laws, and i just don't have the imagination to see the entertainment value in it.   So I will add "bitter" to the epithets of "angry" and "arrogant" and "pseudointellectual" that I have collected from wiser and funnier and smarter bystanders.   Color me properly humbled by your superior wisdom.

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

@digitalprotocol @midwestexplorer81Oh bullshit. 50% of Americans do not think Earth is only 6000 years old. Where was that poll done? A nursing home? Or maybe Minneapolis public school where people don't know how to read lol.  30% of people don't even have a religion anymore according to the Star Tribune.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@midwestexplorer81 what about the latest polls


50% americans believe the earth is 6000yrs old


church is full of little maggots ready to perpetuate the establishment


money=power

religion=money

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

@digitalprotocol @midwestexplorer81No the religious right is dying. What you are hearing now is their last stand and their dying screams. They know they are no longer the majority and now they are even losing majority within the republican party which is why they're getting more aggressive.  Mark my words, 10 years from now the republican party won't be anything like it is now. Younger conservatives realize government can't be small if it regulates your personal lifestyle.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@digitalprotocol No, you need to be more precise. What am I misinformed about?

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@mingtran   Boring.  You sound stupid claiming a Republican is progressive when they are passing Jim Crow laws for gay people.  You defend Michele Bachmann ming, you are a fraud about politics.  You are poorly informed and don't read the news.  Boring.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Awesome dodge. The only progressive politician in the country has an "r" in front of gis name. You know who he is

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