Legislators appear ready to approve a medical marijuana bill this session. All along, however, the worry has been that Gov. Mark Dayton won't sign it unless law enforcement officials express their support as well.
While there have been indications lately that law enforcement is mellowing its stance toward medical pot, cops coming onboard the legislative effort has always been an unlikely prospect. And this morning, the legislator who introduced the bill in the House, Rep. Carly Melin, D-Hibbing, announced that since law enforcement apparently won't compromise whatsoever, she's postponing the next committee hearing on the bill, which was scheduled for today.
In a statement, Melin outlines how many concessions she and other medical marijuana supporters were willing to make to win law enforcement's support:
Over the weekend, Rep. Melin and advocates for [the medical pot bill] offered a compromise bill to law enforcement that would:In other words, the bill basically wouldn't allow Minnesotans to get a pot prescription unless they were on the brink of death, but still, law enforcement wouldn't budge.
-- Remove the option for patients to smoke medical marijuana.
-- Impose a penalty for the smoking of medical marijuana.
-- Permit the use of a vaporizer to administer medical marijuana to a patient.
-- Eliminate all ability for home or personal cultivation of medical marijuana.
-- Replace "severe and debilitating pain" with "intractable pain" to further limit the number of patients who would qualify for medical marijuana.
-- Require the Commissioner of Health to consult with law enforcement to set further public safety standards in implementation of the program.
"I have attempted to compromise with law enforcement over the past few months and offered several major concessions, but they have been unwilling to accept a proposal that would allow Minnesota to join 20 other states in permitting patients safe, regulated, and legal access to medical marijuana," Melin said. "I will continue to stand with Minnesotans who support the Compassionate Care Act and remain hopeful we can make progress, but right now we are at a stalemate with law enforcement and I don't see a path forward until the governor changes his position."
Will Dayton rebuff law enforcement and join the three-quarters of Minnesotans who support medical marijuana? It appears unlikely, which means those who want to use pot as a medicine will either have to continue purchasing it on the black market or move to more pot-friendly states.
We left voicemails and an email with Rep. Melin seeking further comment, but haven't heard back as this is published. We'll update this post if we do.