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Despite Gov. Dayton's claims, medical pot supporters willing to play ball [UPDATE]

Gov. Mark Dayton took to WCCO radio this morning to say that his proposal to research medical marijuana hasn't gotten any love from the advocates of broader legalization. He put the prospects of passing it between "slim and none."

However, those same advocates plan to add part of the Dayton proposal as an amendment and are open to compromising on some points. They contend that the governor's version of a medical marijuana program -- despite his assertions -- would help no one in the immediate future.

See also:
Gov. Dayton proposes replacing medical marijuana bill with health studies

Rather than green-light a distribution system for a range of qualifying patients, Dayton is advocating that access to marijuana be forestalled while the state pumps $2.2 million into Mayo Clinic research of CBD -- the non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that has been shown to control infantile seizures in liquid extracts.

His proposed health-impact study, slated to end in February 2016, would draw on the "concerns identified by community representatives and the experience of other states with current medical cannabis programs." Those representatives would make up a 21-person advisory council and include pols, patients, caregivers, counselors, one prosecutor, and three cops.

"I would be more than happy to incorporate the governor's study into my medical marijuana bill, in which smoking of marijuana and home cultivation will be prohibited," says Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) in an email, but adds: "I will not accept his proposal as an alternative."

Dayton's radio remarks came hours after the Duluth News Tribune published an op-ed by Angie Weaver, whose daughter suffers from a severe form of epilepsy. Weaver accused the governor of kowtowing to the special interests of law enforcement. She went on to say of a recent meeting with his staff:

We voiced our concerns that this study would take years to implement, would need to wait for federal approval and that half the children would be on placebos... I refuse to wait years while my daughter suffers to get the lifesaving medicine she needs.

The medical marijuana bill could come back up for discussion this week during the House Government Operations Committee .

::: UPDATE :::

Here's a copy of the medical marijuana amendment, which is intended to meet the governor half way. Notably, it adds a civil penalty for smoking and mandates tighter controls over what are now being called "alternative treatment centers" rather than dispensaries.

Medical Marijuana Bill Amendment

-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to jmarx@citypages.com


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