MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Senate committee to vote Thursday - KMSP-TV

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: No SF 1641 vote before Easter-Passover break

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Efforts to legalize marijuana for medical use stalled in the Minnesota House, and any action on a Senate version of the legislation must wait until after the Easter-Passover holiday break.

A public hearing on SF 1641, a bill introduced last May, was held Thursday before the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing.


Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) amended the bill to no longer allow home growing of marijuana plants. The bill would require users to have a registered ID card and would limit them to 2.5 oz of "usable cannabis."


Jessica Hauser told the committee her son, Wyatt, suffers 100 seizures each day, and she's seen medical marijuana help similar patients. She said she doesn't want to leave the state, but will if the Legislature doesn't pass a medical marijuana law.

"I'm begging you, the lawmakers of this state, to make this drug available," Hauser testified.

PHOTO: Jessica Hauser testifies before Senate committee


Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger told senators "the trust of the health care system is based upon rigorously-tested drugs," and he's worried the medical marijuana bill under consideration creates a "risky short cut" to full testing.

"21st century physicians don't want to provide 19th century medicine," Ehlinger said.

Ehlinger said some preliminary tests show CBE medical marijuana only works in 10 percent of children with epilepsy – the same group of patients that were a catalyst in Gov. Mark Dayton's push for passage of compassionate legislation this session.

For these reasons, Dr. Ehlinger asked senators to reject SF 1641 until thorough scientific testing is done on medical marijuana. Sen. John Marty (DFL –Roseville) told Dr. Ehlinger that he understands his desire for perfect science, but questions whether certain patients can wait.

Ehlinger said there are about 171 clinical trials on medical marijuana, and a trial here could get underway in about 6 months. Sen. Dibble refuted the commissioner's claim, saying there is no way a trial could get underway in 6 month with current legal barriers.


Dr. Jacob Mirman was one of the first to testify at Thursday's hearing.

"People don't die from marijuana," he said, adding that marijuana is safer than Tylenol and Advil, and less addictive than other drugs.

Mirman admitted there's not enough research on medical marijuana, but said that's due in part to its illegal status.


The bill mirrors one that has stalled in the House following resistance from law enforcement, and would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana so that patients could use it to treat the following conditions:

- Cancer
- Crohn's disease
- Debilitating pain
- Epilepsy
- Glaucoma
- Hepatitis C
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Seizures
- Severe nausea
- Severe, persistent muscle spasms
- Tourette's syndrome

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