MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Advocates line up 100 doctors, clergy in supp - KMSP-TV

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Advocates line up 100 doctors, clergy in support

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Those fighting to legalize marijuana for medical use in Minnesota were back at the Capitol with reinforcements on Tuesday to tell lawmakers many medical professionals -- including the Minnesota Nurses Association -- are on board.

Minnesotans for Compassionate Care says it has lined up 100 doctors and clergy members who support medical marijuana, and the advocates say they won't give up on passing a bill this session.

"I am a pastor, and my scripture speaks harshly to those who ignore the pain of the suffering," Kathy Schuyler, of Duluth Congregational Church, said.

A group of families of children with epilepsy has spearheaded the initiative, and one of them is the Hausers.

Families of children with severe forms of epilepsy stand in support of medical marijuana on April 22, 2014.

"You know, he's actually having a pretty good morning today, but he still has hundreds of seizures every day and we need this," Jessica Hauser, mother of Wyatt Hauser, told Fox 9 News. "We need it now."

Specifically, the Hausers say they need lawmakers to pass a pair of bills allowing restricted cannabis use for debilitating medical conditions, particularly an extract known as CBD. Yet, Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger testified that the drugs have not undergone strict FDA testing -- especially on children with epilepsy -- at a Senate hearing just two weeks ago.

"In one state, it appears that only 20 percent of children respond positively, and significant side effects are now being recognized in many children," he said.

In a recent resolution, the Minnesota Medical Association decided that: "Until such time as marijuana is approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration, the MMA cannot support legislation intended to involve physicians in certifying, authorizing, or otherwise directing persons in the area of medicinal marijuana outside of scientific clinical trials."

The MMA also called on the FDA to review the illegal status on marijuana so that it can be studied in more clinical trials.

Advocates, however, disagree -- and they point to other states where medical marijuana is legal as proof.

"When we look to doctors in other states, we see high numbers of support from the medical community," Heather Azzi said.

The head of the Minnesota AIDS Project took to the microphone to say it is "critical" that medical marijuana legislation clear the Legislature, and advocates say the Minnesota Nurse's Association is also in support. 

Bill Tiedemann, executive director of the Minnesota AIDS Project speaks at the Minnesota Capitol on April 22, 2014.

However, at the end of it all, Gov. Mark Dayton has the final word, and he has been reluctant to lend support to any effort that does not have approval from law enforcement.

"That's the objective here is to legalize marijuana," Dayton said. "The Senate bill allows smoking marijuana, and I think that's not good public policy."

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