Scott Dibble: the Senate medical marijuana bill is better, and here's why

dibble_reporters.jpg
Sen. Scott Dibble speaks with reporters
The fight for medical marijuana moves this week to a conference committee, where two very different bills must be reconciled into one package before dropping on Gov. Mark Dayton's desk.

Dayton has suggested that he's more inclined to sign the House version, which Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) reshaped into an "observational study," over the Senate version -- a prospect that alarms many patients and activists.

See also:
MN House passes medical marijuana bill with overwhelming support


Those concerns were highlighted Sunday by Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis). In a letter to Dayton and Melin, Dibble laid out how his bill -- which underwent extensive review and revision through the committee process -- would reach more Minnesotans in need and cost less while balancing the demands of public safety officials.

"Paradoxically," Dibble writes, "law enforcement is 'neutral' on the House bill, while standing opposed to the Senate measure, despite the fact that the Senate measure is far superior in addressing their ostensible concerns."

For instance, The Senate version makes it a felony for any patient caught diverting their own supply. The House version is silent on this issue.

Troubling to many supporters, as well as Dibble, is the House version's specification that a single company take care of manufacturing (from two distribution centers as opposed to Dibble's 55). They see this as an obvious monopoly and lament that, should this company suffer a power outage or fire, the entire program would be in jeopardy.

Thanks to law enforcement, the House version allows patients to consume marijuana only in oil or liquid forms, which are more expensive to process and less efficient carriers of the plant's medicinal elements. What's more, the House has elected to give Public Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger, who's opposed anything but a very limited research study, absolute control over the forms of marijuana made available. If he so chooses, Ehlinger has the power to delay the program until 2017.

"I fear that this is another pretext to simply doing nothing," Dibble writes.

Then there's the question of cost. The House version requires $5 million over the next three years, whereas the Senate version is designed to pay for itself while costing patients less money to register.

Dibble concludes his letter by warning that the House bill by itself could prove to be "inadequate and unworkable," though he concedes there might be a middle way.

Read the entire letter on the next page.

h/t -- Bluestem Prairie

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9 comments
AHomoSaysWhat
AHomoSaysWhat

i just smoked a huge bowl of purple nerple and am getting TURNT


Jake Lundgren
Jake Lundgren

Just another big old crap shoot once again. Really need to wait til Dayton is out. These knuckle heads are going to make a mess right out of the gates. Need a governor that can stand on his own two feet with out law enforcement controlling his thoughts. And someone that will put this fairly and forefront so a just and beneficial plan be put in place. Not some hacked to shit, minimal, pro felony charge police state satisfaction bullshit. I wish the worse ones off the right for this NOW, but this medicine needs to be available in all forms and for the multiple other reasons for its use. We need people off deadly pills, healthier lives and less destructive options to live a comfortable, healthy life.

godshands
godshands

@justplainbob @atrupar @marxjesse  Hse bill has pharmacists handing out mmj and they lose license? THAT helps no one and costs mn $5mil. Sen *IS* better.

calistair
calistair

@robert.moffitt @godshands@atrupar@marxjesse During session, the governor must sign or veto legislation within 3 days after transmittal (excepting Sundays), or it becomes law without signature. Legislation passed during the last three days of the session must be acted upon by the governor within 14 days of of session adjournment, or it is pocket vetoed.

robert.moffitt
robert.moffitt

@THAT_IS_NOT_TRUE @atrupar @marxjesse Since 1939, a Minnesota Governor's veto has only been overridden 14 times. Putting it another way, vetoes are 97% successful in this state.

So let's see where this goes next, shall we?

THAT_IS_NOT_TRUE
THAT_IS_NOT_TRUE

@robert.moffitt @godshands@atrupar@marxjesse

That is not true. The House and Senate can override the governor's veto.

We don't need his signature or approval at all.

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