MEDICAL MARIJUANA: House and Senate reach a deal - KMSP-TV

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: House and Senate reach a deal, Dayton says he'll sign

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Negotiators in the Minnesota House and Senate have reached a deal on a medical marijuana bill that mirrors the House version that passed last Thursday, and Gov. Mark Dayton says he looks forward to signing it into law.

The deal paves the way for Minnesota to become the 23rd state to allow patients to access marijuana for medical use. Under the new compromise, two manufacturing facilities would operate in Minnesota, and medical marijuana would be available to registered patients on July 1, 2015.

“I look forward to signing this bill into law, and I pledge that my administration -- led by Dr. Ehlinger -- will do everything possible to implement it as swiftly and successfully, as is possible," Dayton said in a news release.

One of the bill's authors, Sen. Scott Dibble, mentioned the deal is a compromise, and that it left out certain qualifying conditions such as PTSD.

Follow Fox 9's Tim Blotz for live action from the announcement @TimBlotzFox9.


Unlike other states that have adopted medical marijuana legislation, Minnesota patients will not be allowed to smoke the plant and may only access cannabis if they qualify for a doctor-recommended study.

Under the new law, patients with the following conditions will be considered:
- Cancer
- Crohn's disease
- Glaucoma
- MS
- Seizures
- Tourette's
- Terminal illnesses with less than a year of life expectancy

Marijuana will only be available in pill or liquid form, and may be vaporized.


Advocates for medical marijuana have had a long journey this session, but along the way, the parents of children with severe forms of epilepsy not only changed minds, but also changed votes.

"I'm happy to be a flip-flopper on this issue," Rep. Rod Hamilton said. "I've also said, 'Only a fool and a dead man never change their mind.'"

The advocates took their appeal to the governor's doorstep after it appeared the effort would dissolve amid a stalemate with law enforcement, but enough minds changed to reach a compromise to allow doctors to approve cannabis under strict limits -- and those limits are what won the support of the state's Department of Health.

"What I'm so pleased about is that this bill allows us to collect some information so that we learn more and more about the benefits of medical cannabis," Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said.

For parents, they are looking forward to getting their children a new medical option.

"It's taken every part of me not to cry right now," said Jeremy Pauling, whose daughter suffers from Batten disease. "It's been a long road, but now, I can get my daughter the medicine she needs."


“This bill is citizen government at its best. It has been led by parents, who deeply love their children, are anguished by their pain, and insist their government try to help them. As a father and grandfather, I both understand and admire their devotion.

“I also congratulate the bill’s authors, Representative Carly Melin and Senator Scott Dibble, for their extraordinary efforts. I thank them for their willingness to bring together groups with very different perspectives and to work with them to achieve this result.

“Finally, I want to credit Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, who added his invaluable medical and public health expertise to the bill’s final deliberations.

“I look forward to signing this bill into law. And I pledge that my administration, led by Dr. Ehlinger, will do everything possible to implement it as swiftly and successfully, as is possible.”


The Minnesota House passed its version of the medical marijuana bill by an 86-39 vote on Friday.

The Minnesota Senate passed its medical marijuana bill last Tuesday, by a 48-18 vote. The House bill -- seen as a more restrictive bill than the Senate version -- faced a gauntlet of nearly 50 potential amendments before a vote.

The House and Senate bills share one major characteristic: No smoking of medical marijuana in Minnesota. The House bill would only allow marijuana to be used in pill, liquid, oil or vapor form.

Minnesota would become the 23rd state to adopt compassionate use legislation.

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