Legislature adjourns for 2013; medical marijuana to be debated in 2014
The Minnesota Legislature wrapped up year one of the 2013-2014 session on May 20, but not before a bipartisan group of Minnesota state lawmakers joined patients and advocates from Minnesotans for Compassionate Care for a news conference at the state capitol to announce the introduction of compassionate medical marijuana legislation. If you're a resident of the North Star State, please email Gov. Mark Dayton today and urge him to support this sensible medical marijuana bill.
Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) introduced HF 1818 in the House, and Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) introduced the companion – SF 1641 – in the Senate. The bills will carry over 2014, the second year of the biennium session. Both bills have the maximum number of sponsors allowed – 35 in the House, including 12 committee chairs, and five in the Senate, including two committee chairs. Minnesotans who want to help pass medical marijuana legislation should email their state senator and representative and ask them to support HF 1818/SF 1641.
Patrick McClellan of Burnsville talks to KARE 11 about using marijuana to treat his Muscular Dystrophy
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia already allow seriously ill residents to use medical marijuana with their doctors’ recommendations, and 65% of Minnesotans support a compassionate medical marijuana law. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Melin and Sen. Dibble, Minnesota could finally join these jurisdictions during the 2013-2014 legislative session. To learn more about the legislation, click here.
Finally, sign up for our Minnesota-specific action alerts to stay up to date on marijuana policy reform in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Minnesotans confront the war on marijuana
The Marijuana Policy Project has been busy making sure our members and supporters are aware of the need to reform our state and federal marijuana laws. In 2011, we had a couple of Minnesota-centric advocacy opportunities.
In May 2011, former Minnesota governor, and then presidential hopeful, Tim Pawlenty, spoke at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C. He spoke about the need for limited government and touched on his desire to take government out of health care. MPP legislative analyst, and Minnesota native, Robert Capecchi, was on hand to ask his former governor why, if he supports limited government, did he veto the medical marijuana bill in 2009. Here’s the video.
C’mon governor! You were the top executive. It was your job to tell law enforcement what the law is, not vice versa.
In addition to hounding the former governor, Robert Capecchi dropped by Fox 9 studios in Eden Prairie. In June of 2011, Fox 9 invited him on to discuss the just released Global Commission on Drug Policy report and why the war on drugs in general, and marijuana specifically, has failed. You can watch that interview here.
Learn about Minnesota's marijuana laws
In 2007, there were 11,629 marijuana-related arrests in Minnesota. Interestingly, only 66% of these arrests were for marijuana possession. Nationally, marijuana possession arrests in 2007 comprised 89% of all marijuana-related arrests. While the penalty for a first offense of possessing a small amount of marijuana in Minnesota is a $200 fine, having two ounces could land Minnesotans in jail for five years! You can learn more about Minnesota's marijuana penalties and enforcement by reading this report by Jon Gettman, Ph.D.