ST. PAUL, Minn - A key Minnesota lawmaker says she doesn't see a path forward for her bill to legalize medical marijuana after talks with law enforcement hit a standstill.
Democratic Rep. Carly Melin of Hibbing postponed consideration of the bill Tuesday hours before it was to be debated in the House Government Operations Committee. Melin says she offered concessions to police groups to try to get them to lift their opposition to no avail.
The compromise included offers to:
- Remove the option for patients to smoke medical marijuana
- Impose a penalty for the smoking of medical marijuana.
- Permit the use of a vaporizer to administer medical marijuana to a patient.
- Eliminate all ability for home or personal cultivation of medical marijuana.
- Replace "severe and debilitating pain" with "intractable pain" to further limit the number of patients who would qualify for medical marijuana.
- Require the Commissioner of Health to consult with law enforcement to set further public safety standards in implementation of the program.
Despite the concessions, Melin says law enforcement remains strongly opposed the compromise proposal.
"Governor Dayton has been consistent that his support of a medical marijuana bill is contingent on support from law enforcement.," Melin said in a written statement. "I have attempted to compromise with law enforcement over the past few months and offered several major concessions, but they have been unwilling to accept a proposal that would allow Minnesota to join 20 other states in permitting patients safe, regulated, and legal access to medical marijuana. I will continue to stand with Minnesotans who support the Compassionate Care Act and remain hopeful we can make progress, but right now we are at a stalemate with law enforcement and I don't see a path forward until the Governor changes his position."
Gov. Mark Dayton says he won't sign a legalization bill unless law enforcement is comfortable. An email message left with a leader of the state police chiefs association wasn't immediately returned.
Medical marijuana is allowed in 20 states and Washington.