ST. PAUL, Minn. - House DFL leaders joined with parents of children suffering from painful diseases to announce a compromise bill that would legalize medical marijuana.
The legislation, sponsored by State Representative Carly Melin (DFL- Hibbing), is a scaled-back proposal that would set up a medical cannabis clinical trial that would allow children and adults suffering significant and painful illnesses to participate. Qualifying conditions include epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, MS, ALS, Tourette's syndrome and Crohn's disease.
Melin's bill also includes the option of a state-based manufacturer of medication if no federal source of medication is available.
"Our goal since the beginning has been to provide needed medicine to Minnesotans and children who are suffering and deserve a better chance at a good life," Melin said in a written release. "I am pleased that we have developed a proposal that can provide real relief for Minnesotans who need it and that has a strong chance at getting signed into law."
The biggest obstacle to getting Melin's previous bill through was objection by Minnesota's law enforcement community. The new version responds to concerns by calling for only one state-based manufacturer of medical cannabis products operating under strict Health Department supervision, and allowing access only to patients approved for the medical trial. Grow-your-own dispensaries and no smoking of medical marijuana would be allowed.
"All along our goal has been a compromise that provides needed medicine to children and Minnesotans who need it while responding to concerns from law enforcement and the health community," said House Speaker Paul Thissen.