-- Update at bottom with comment from Rep. Branden Petersen --
In a press release sent our way by an MNGOP-affiliated source, the D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project PAC pledges to make a maximum financial contribution of $4,000 to Jeff Johnson's gubernatorial campaign.
But lest you think the nation's largest marijuana policy organization is some sort of surprisingly right-leaning group, the release also notes that the PAC plans to give a matching contribution to the Senate DFL PAC. Take that, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton!
The beef, of course, has to do with Dayton's initial reluctance to support any sort of medical marijuana bill during this year's legislative session. And though he did ultimately sign off on one, it didn't go as far as the legislation supported by Johnson and the DFL-controlled Senate, as we detailed in this post.
From the release:
The medical marijuana proposal supported by Johnson and a bipartisan Senate coalition would have protected an estimated 30,000 seriously ill Minnesotans, according to a fiscal analysis prepared by the state. Gov. Dayton refused to sign such a bill and insisted on a restrictive program that will only help an estimated 5,000 patients. The governor's resistance also resulted in the law prohibiting the use of marijuana in its natural form, requiring patients to use oils or extracts that will be produced by just two manufacturers for the entire state. Some patients have said they will not sign up for the program because whole plant cannabis is the most effective form of treatment for their conditions.Robert Capecchi, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, says, "Jeff Johnson's support for the more comprehensive, Senate-approved medical marijuana proposal demonstrates that compassion is not a partisan issue. That program would have provided much-needed relief to the tens of thousands of seriously ill Minnesotans that Gov. Dayton left behind in order to appease his friends in law enforcement."
"An overwhelming majority of Minnesotans agree that individuals with serious illnesses should be allowed to use medical marijuana if their doctors believe it will effectively treat their conditions," Capecchi continues. "We're relieved that some patients will benefit from the medical marijuana bill that was enacted this year, but thousands of Minnesotans have been left out in the cold. Jeff Johnson and the Senate DFL want to fix this problem, and we're proud to support them."
Johnson can use the help. The latest KSTP/SurveyUSA poll has Dayton up by 10 points, and November 4 is coming up quick.
:::: UPDATE ::::
Sen. Branden Petersen, a Republican from Andover who supports full legalization of marijuana and voted against the medical marijuana bill signed into law by Dayton because he thought it was too restrictive, sent up this statement reacting to the MPP's support of Johnson:
MPP's support is well deserved. Jeff Johnson's position on medical cannabis is consistent with his patient-centered view of health care policy overall; allow doctors and families to make decisions that are best for them. On the other hand, Dayton has consistently favored top-down, government control of health care decisions and medical cannabis is no exception.Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.