A battle is underway in Minnesota, where Gov. Mark Dayton is standing in the way of an otherwise widely supported medical marijuana bill because he does not want to upset his friends in law enforcement.
The governor is under intense pressure to support the bill, but time is running out in the legislative session, so we are cranking up the heat with an aggressive TV ad that will begin airing tonight throughout Minnesota. It features St. Paul mom Angela Garin and her five-year-old son, Paxton — who suffers from a rare condition that causes hundreds of seizures per day — calling on Gov. Dayton to stop blocking the legislation. It should make waves because the governor is currently under fire in the media fortelling patients and parents like Angela to just find medical marijuana on the street!
A group of local medical marijuana patients and advocates gathered in front of the Minnesota governor’s mansion Thursday to deliver a very large and provocative “get better soon” card to Gov. Mark Dayton, who is recovering from hip surgery. The governor is currently holding up a widely supported bill that would allow seriously ill Minnesotans to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it because it is opposed by some law enforcement officials.
Following a brief news conference hosted by Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, patients, their family members, and supporters signed the huge greeting card which was then delivered to the governor.
Gov. Dayton has said he will only support the medical marijuana bill, HF 1818, if it has the approval of law enforcement officials, who he instructed to work with the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Carly Melin, to reach a compromise. Rep. Melin met with leaders of law enforcement organizations this week, but they steadfastly refused to support workable medical marijuana legislation, resulting in Rep. Melin temporarily removing the bill from the House Government Operations agenda.
The governor took notice. After meeting with advocates, he has promised to try to work out a compromise.
Late on March 4, the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Policy Committee approved HF 1818 in an overwhelming, bipartisan vote. The compassionate bill will be heard next in the House Government Operations committee.
HF 1818, sponsored by Rep. Carly Melin, would allow Minnesotans who suffer from specified conditions to legally obtain, possess, and use marijuana with their doctors’ recommendations. It also creates a state-regulated program to dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients in a timely and safe manner. The Minnesota Legislature passed a similar proposal in 2009, only to see then Governor Tim Pawlenty veto it.
Earlier today, a bipartisan group of Minnesota state lawmakers joined patients and advocates from Minnesotans for Compassionate Care for a news conference at the state capitol to announce the introduction of a bill that would allow people with serious illnesses to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) introduced HF 1818 in the House, and Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) introduced the companion – SF 1641 – in the Senate. Both bills have the maximum number of sponsors allowed – 35 in the House, including 12 committee chairs, and five in the Senate, including two committee chairs. If you live in Minnesota, please email your state senator and representative and ask them to support HF 1818/SF 1641.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia already allow seriously ill residents to use medical marijuana with their doctors’ recommendations, and 65% of Minnesotans support a compassionate medical marijuana law. Urge Gov. Dayton to join this growing majority.