Last Update: February 9, 2015
Legislature back in session, efforts to improve medical marijuana law introduced
The Minnesota Legislature is back in session. Last year, as a core member of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, MPP helped Minnesota become the 22nd medical marijuana state. Unfortunately, the law is far from perfect. However, patients, advocates, and their families are committed to working with legislative leaders in order to sensibly improve the law moving forward.
Legislation that would allow all Minnesotans, not just registered patients, to present evidence of medical need to use marijuana at trial has been introduced in both the House and the Senate. While this medical defense would not protect individuals from arrest and prosecution, it would at the very least allow them to tell the judge or jury that they use marijuana for medical purposes. If you are a Minnesotan, please email both your state representative and your state senator today in support of this bill.
In addition to the medical defense bill, Sen. Branden Petersen has introduced legislation to add chronic and intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions for the medical cannabis program. Marijuana has proven incredibly beneficial for individuals suffering from severe pain, and it is far less addictive than the drugs that are commonly prescribed to combat these ailments. And unlike opiate-based medications, marijuana has never caused a fatal overdose. Ask your lawmakers to support adding these conditions today.
Please be sure to sign up for our Minnesota-specific action alerts to stay up to date on marijuana policy reform in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Our work to make sure that all seriously ill patients who can benefit from medical cannabis have reasonable access to the form of medicine that can best help them is not done.
Statewide television ad campaign highlights the need for medical cannabis in Minnesota
On April 2, 2014, MPP and Minnesotans for Compassionate Care began running television commercials across the state highlighting just one of many Minnesotans, and his mother, who could benefit from passage of a compassionate law. You can watch the ad here.
On April 8, we began airing a second ad featuring Patrick McClellan (above), who has found that medical cannabis alleviates his debilitating spasms far more safely and consistently than prescription medications. If you’re a Minnesotan who would like to help Angela’s family, Patrick, and many others in similar situations, email your lawmakers regarding their support — or lack thereof — and encourage them to continue to help protecting all the suffering who can benefit from medical cannabis.
Are you a patient or supportive medical professional?
If you are a patient with a serious medical condition who could benefit from medical marijuana, the loved one of a patient, or a supportive medical professional, please email [email protected] to get involved.
Learn about Minnesota's marijuana laws
In 2012, there were 12,051 marijuana-related arrests in Minnesota. Sixty-two percent of these arrests were for marijuana possession. While the penalty for a first offense of possessing a small amount of marijuana in Minnesota is a $200 fine and mandatory drug education, having two ounces could land Minnesotans in jail for five years! These arrests hit minority communities the hardest. According to data from the ACLU, African Americans in Minnesota are nearly eight times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as their white neighbors! You can learn more about Minnesota's marijuana penalties and enforcement by reading this report by Jon Gettman, Ph.D.