Mark Dayton signs medical marijuana bill [UPDATES]

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Photo by Jesse Marx
Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Carly Melin at the podium during today's news conference.
:::: UPDATE :::: This morning, Governor Dayton signed the bill into law.

"I thank everyone who worked together to craft and pass this legislation," the governor says in a statement. "I pray it will bring to the victims of ravaging illnesses the relief they are hoping for."

::::: UPDATE II ::::

You might have noticed Governor Dayton didn't hold any sort of elaborate signing ceremony for the medical marijuana bill. One big reason for that is advocates for the bill aren't totally happy with it. In fact, they're planning to deliver flowers to the Governor's Residence tomorrow morning at 11 on behalf of the thousands of seriously ill Minnesotans who won't be able to access medical marijuana under the state's new system.

From a statement distributed today by Minnesotans for Compassionate Care:
Approximately 5,000 Minnesotans will qualify for the new program, according to a legislative analysis of the House bill on which it is based. Gov. Dayton blocked a widely supported and more effective version of the law -- which would have allowed 38,000 seriously ill Minnesotans to access medical marijuana, according to a legislative analysis of a widely supported Senate bill. The governor promised to veto any bill, such as the Senate bill, that did not have the support of law enforcement associations. Law enforcement was neutral on the final bill, which included several restrictions upon which Gov. Dayton insisted.
"The new law holds promise for many seriously ill Minnesotans, but it also leaves many behind," Heather Azzi, political director of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, says in the statement. "Unfortunately, there are a lot of Minnesotans suffering from truly debilitating conditions who will not be allowed to access medical marijuana under the new law. The legislature must come back next session ready to expand upon this bill so that all Minnesotans who could benefit from medical marijuana are able to access it."

(Original post -- May 15) Less than two months ago medical marijuana seemed dead, at least as far as this legislative session was concerned. But during a press conference this afternoon, Scott Dibble and Carly Melin announced that the Senate and House have come together on a medical marijuana compromise. (Read the backstory here.)

Dibble said the compromise bill is based on the more restrictive House model. There will be eight so-called "alternative care centers" around the state. Qualifying condition for a "medical cannabis" prescription include cancer; terminal illness; glaucoma; HIV/AIDS; and Crohn's Disease. (Among others -- see the fact sheet below for more.)

See also:
New study undercuts law enforcement claims about medical marijuana

PTSD isn't included as a qualifying condition. Dibble indicated he isn't happy about that, but said, "It's a compromise... It's not a perfect process."

Patients won't be able to smoke or vaporize loose-leaf marijuana, but will have access to "whole-plant extracts," as Dibble put it.

Rep. Dan Schoen (D-Cottage Grove) characterized the bill as "the strictest and most regulated in the country" as far as medical marijuana goes.

Gov. Mark Dayton announced he'll sign the bill into law even before this afternoon's press conference even began. Here's the statement he released announcing his support:
"This bill is citizen government at its best. It has been led by parents, who deeply love their children, are anguished by their pain, and insist their government try to help them. As a father and grandfather, I both understand and admire their devotion.

"I also congratulate the bill's authors, Representative Carly Melin and Senator Scott Dibble, for their extraordinary efforts. I thank them for their willingness to bring together groups with very different perspectives and to work with them to achieve this result.

"Finally, I want to credit Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, who added his invaluable medical and public health expertise to the bill's final deliberations.

"I look forward to signing this bill into law. And I pledge that my administration, led by Dr. Ehlinger, will do everything possible to implement it as swiftly and successfully, as is possible."
:::: UPDATE ::::

Here's a fact sheet distributed by the Senate DFL communications staff providing more details about the compromise bill:

Medical Cannabis Fact Sheet by SenateDFL



:::: UPDATE II (4:15 p.m.) ::::

Sen. Branden Petersen (R-Andover), one of the members of the conference committee that's meeting as we publish this, just released a statement saying he "cannot support" the medical marijuana compromise.

"While this bill potentially brings much needed relief for some patients across the state, it leaves so many more without legal protections for using medical cannabis under a doctor's order," Petersen writes. "Specifically, the absence of intractable pain, veteran PTSD, wasting, and severe nausea in the list of qualified medical conditions is unacceptable... Too many Minnesotans will remain in unnecessary agony for the foreseeable future."

Petersen also criticizes the bill for its "prohibition on using cannabis in its natural state."

"Only allowing extracts administered via pills and oils ignores the volumes of research demonstrating the medical benefits of natural cannabis," he writes.

Here's the entirety of Petersen's statement, which pins most of the blame on Governor Dayton:

My Statement on Medical Cannabis Compromise by Sen_b_Petersen



To watch video of today's press conference, click to page two.


My Voice Nation Help
118 comments
Michael OC
Michael OC

Soon as this guy is gone we will be changing this BS...ON a good note some of the community will be able to have more of a fighting chance with cannabis.

Mc'Real Dtj
Mc'Real Dtj

Worst marijuana bill ever, not even the sick people will get it.. it will be to much of an hassle

Nathaniel Reynolds
Nathaniel Reynolds

This bill helps very few of those that really need it. If your going to help people stop the half measures and help people

Betty Raasch Carlson
Betty Raasch Carlson

There have been enough states legalize medical marijuana that we now need Federal government to legalize and come up with standard for everyone. Start talking to Federal legislators. Let us make it a point for the fall election. Even with states legalizing it still is against federal law.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

Dayton says he will be "praying that this will bring the relief they were hoping for"


sounds sarcastic  

Noel Barrick
Noel Barrick

If they could prescribe for chronic pain, there would be a decrease in numbers of people getting addicted to opiates. That's bad for business for some people... Between this and the Vikings Stadium deal, MN should be proud of it's pro-business governor....

Courtney Hannon
Courtney Hannon

Plant extracts only? No PTSD? What a bunch of garbage this is.

Jeremiah Welter
Jeremiah Welter

If ALL drugs were legal, my neighborhood would be a mess, I think.

Charles Barry
Charles Barry

I am 62 my pothead friends are professionals and smoked through grad school.

Jay Dee
Jay Dee

Into the stoned age.

Charles Barry
Charles Barry

I am a Democrat who wants big government out of my hookah, never hate, Peace and Love,

Charles Barry
Charles Barry

I said the same thing before I read yours lol

Nick Wimperis
Nick Wimperis

Legalization = Revenue Politicians love revenue. Do the math.

Charles Barry
Charles Barry

You mean into the stone age, (positive vibe)

Charles Barry
Charles Barry

They end up in the refrigerator, but don't beat up the spouse.

Charles Barry
Charles Barry

The State prohibition of marijuana laws are still as archaic as the prohibition of alcohol. Alcohol being the dangerous of the two. What gives them the right, not the power to decide what is good for the masses. Legalize all drugs.

Meloccin
Meloccin

I need PTSD as a qualifying condition. Anxiety meds don't work for me, and therapy helps only so much. This bill is bullshit. If they had taken the house's one, everything would be so much better for not just the people that need help, but also the taxpayers. The fact that Dayton and his people were chickenshit enough to pass the shitty one and not the other, speaks volume as to the level of power 'law enforcement' has over this.

Doogie Houge
Doogie Houge

Carlos Xavier, potheads don't end up in ER.

greenthinks
greenthinks

ust continue to ignore these jackasses. Criminalizing a plant good God at war with a plant! You cant make this sillyness up. And wait until the prices kick in you think this is going to becheap? NOOOOOO probably $3,000 per month extorted out of these sick childrens parents. A comedy of errors perpetrated by THE PLANET OF THE APES! At what point do they become self aware and embarrassed ? Not that much differance between the ape enclosure over at Como zoo and the legislature actually a 2% difference only the apes arent concerned with making money off of sick children...  and these asshats are making medical decisions with no medical training where is the equal protection under the law?

Wade Huesman
Wade Huesman

There was no reason for baby steps here. There are over a dozen states with great medical marijuana legislation to look at.

Wade Huesman
Wade Huesman

It also severely limits the forms in which a patient can consume it. No smoking. No flowers. Only pills and concentrates from a maximum of two manufacturers in the state. I am very disappointed in the bill.

Deanna Kepler
Deanna Kepler

I believe, like all things this is just a baby step to it being totally legalized. We must keep fighting and be patient. Politicians are cautious, but I am hopeful they will see the potential to help more peoplein the future.

Jeremiah Welter
Jeremiah Welter

Wow. If you're going to do it, do it all the way. I've seen posts saying it was just a publicity stunt basically. Most the people cheering prob don't know lots of suffering people will be left out. Hopefully it's a baby step to further legalization.

Heather Ann Wilmes
Heather Ann Wilmes

Basically everything. I think the only people eligible for medical marijuana are severely terminally ill folks

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

What a perfect way to prove what a bunch of scumbag hypocrites Republicans are.   Small government huh?   What a bunch of liars the Republicans are.   Medical Marijuana would never happen if the Republican fascists were still in charge.   Vote DFL and we will have full legalization in 2016.  

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

This is a great first step.  Now pressure politicians to put full legalization on the 2016 ballot.  

Nick Shmoo S
Nick Shmoo S

What a joke! As usual half ass laws to try and look good .

Meloccin
Meloccin

I will also say that I don't smoke pot for therapy or otherwise. Try another angle should you come at me with bullshit. :)

tylerperry420
tylerperry420

Im fucking done being patient, this should have been over with years and years ago. There is no valid argument at all, politicians are denying something they have no reason to withhold. Fuck this and fuck them, vote in November, vote for a third party cause these two dipshits just dont get it.

TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann 

Wait one moment, the DFL has FULL CONTROL of the state.  They did not need one republican vote to pass this.  

In fact, republican senator Brandon Peterson was pissed that Dayton and his cronies in law enforcement stripped the hell out of the bill.

So was this rant of yours packed full of lies or stupidity?


tylerperry420
tylerperry420

Bullshit DFL turned this bill into a joke. Ask Carly Melin (DFL), Erin Murphy (DFL), and gov dayton (DFL) what happened... They sunk it because of a law enforcement union had their ear.  Vote 3rd party any 3rd party and it will be legal within next year.  Neither of these parties give a shit about any of us they only care about getting reelected.  They got their headline and few will read the fine print to know that this bill is worthless.

greenthinks
greenthinks

@MicheleBachmann Not with Dayton in there Dayton has to go As in who would think that someone that grows up in a mansion rubbing elbows with the rich and politically powerful could ever possibly be out of touch with the common man???

tylerperry420
tylerperry420

Everyone who isn't within a year of death or has Crohns

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@tylerperry420 The DFL passed the bill.  Republicans and the Independence Party both had their chances to pass a medical marijuana bill and they couldn't get it done.   Mark Dayton and the DFL got it done.  I'm sure that is hard for your tiny brain to understand.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@greenthinks   Mark Dayton is the one signing the bill.  He hasn't been perfect on this but he is smart enough to change his mind.  I don't care about the process if the end result is the beginnings of a medical marijuana program.  The way government works is you start with something and then you improve it.  It's really easy to be like you and whine and complain.  Getting stuff done, like the DFL did, is hard.  

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