Minnesota governor's medical marijuana flip-flop - KMSP-TV

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Gov. Dayton's 'regret' and latest stance

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday clarified his stance on medical marijuana, urging all stakeholders to work toward passing compassionate legislation this session.

"My comment yesterday, in which I referred to 'the advocates who want to legalize medical marijuana and be able to smoke marijuana plants and leaves…' was in no way intended to refer to victims of terrible diseases or their parents, who I was trying to help," Dayton said in a statement. "I regret that my words were unclear."

MORE: Full statement from Gov. Mark Dayton

The fact is, the latest proposed legislation removed smoking as an option and even offered to add penalties for those who would smoke medical marijuana.

Rep. Carly Melin, assistant majority leader and the chief sponsor of the bill in the House, said she believes she has the votes to pass H.F. 1818 in both the House and Senate this session.

FOR THE CHILDREN

The governor said a new proposal to make medical marijuana available to children suffering from intractable seizures has the support of his administration, Minnesota law enforcement, the Mayo Clinic and the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota.

'SMOKE AND MIRRORS'

Families advocating a medical marijuana bill criticized Gov. Dayton for stalling legislation, and called his compromise "smoke and mirrors."


PHOTO: Medical marijuana advocates at the Minnesota Capitol

Just weeks earlier, advocates appeared optimistic following a one-on-one meeting with Dayton that prompted him to immediately direct staff members toward a solution.

"Two weeks ago, I met with some of those parents, as well as some adult sufferers, and was deeply moved by their anguish. My Commissioner of Health, Chief of Staff, and other advisors made a sincere effort to find a legal means to make a form of ‘medical marijuana' available to children and youths, who might benefit from it.," Dayton said in a statement. "I regret that this proposal was rejected."

Despite his renewed support for narrower, compassionate legislation, Dayton said "there's no shortage of evidence regarding marijuana's negative effects on individuals and communities," listing the following:

- Marijuana can disrupt learning and impair memory;

- Marijuana can exacerbate mental illness;

- Marijuana can increase blood pressure, heart rate, and heart attack risk;

- Using marijuana during pregnancy can harm a baby's brain development;

- Marijuana can impair drivers, causing automobile crashes that kill or injure innocent people….'

"Despite these valid concerns, my administration has worked with stakeholders on all sides of this issue to find a compromise solution that can pass during this legislative session," Dayton said. "I urge stakeholders on all sides of this issue to work together on this proposal, agree on a compromise that can pass in the Legislature this session, and provide relief this year to children who will otherwise find none if we instead choose to engage in finger-pointing, and a protracted political debate."

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