Last Update: September 23, 2014
Legislature approves, Gov. Dayton signs medical marijuana legislation
On May 29, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bipartisan medical marijuana proposal that was crafted by a House and Senate conference committee. This makes Minnesota the 22nd state to exempt some of the very sick and their caregivers from penalties for using marijuana with a doctor’s certification. The law is far from perfect, primarily due to the governor’s decision to cater to the demands of law enforcement. However, patients, advocates, and their families are committed to working with legislative leaders in order to sensibly improve the law moving forward. If you are a Minnesotan, please email your lawmakers regarding their vote to either allow or prevent the severely ill in Minnesota to use marijuana with their doctors' certifications.
Despite the unnecessary limitations of the law, Minnesota’s medical marijuana program should bring relief to thousands of Minnesotans who suffer from a variety of serious illnesses. Two manufacturers will be certified in 2015, and each will have four distribution points spread across the state by July 2016. Unfortunately, patients will only be able to access marijuana in an extracted form, not the natural flowers, and the law requires patients and their doctors to participate in an onerous and costly study. The compromise also blindly prohibits patients with intractable pain, wasting, and nausea from legally using medical cannabis despite good science showing it works for these terrible ailments.
Thank you to Heather Azzi and Minnesotans for Compassionate Care for leading the efforts in the North Star State as well as our strong, bipartisan group of legislative sponsors. Thanks also to all of the doctors and faithleaders who supported the legislation, including Dr. Sue Sisley, Dr. Steve Jenison, Rev. Catherine Schuyler, and Rev. Al Sharp. Most importantly, however, were the dozens of patients and their families who came out to support compassionate legislation. This bill would never have come to fruition without their determined, savvy, and fierce advocacy.
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, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.