Key Lawmaker: Medical Marijuana Talks At Stalemate
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — A key Minnesota lawmaker said Tuesday she doesn’t see a path forward for legalizing medical marijuana after talks with law enforcement hit a standstill.
Rep. Carly Melin said she had conceded to virtually all demands from law enforcement over the weekend but was still unable to get their support for her bill.
“We offered basically down to the bare bones of the bill and they still rejected the compromise,” Melin said.
Melin said she had no choice but to postpone a House committee hearing that would have been lawmakers’ second look at the issue.
“Law enforcement won’t support any bill that would result in helping any patients,” Melin, DFL-Hibbing, said in an interview with The Associated Press. “The governor has to get involved.”
House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said in an email that “it does not appear to me that a compromise is going to happen this session.”
Champlin Police Chief Dave Kolb, co-chairman of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, said in an email that state law-enforcement groups believe Melin’s latest bill still “would result in increased youth access and use of marijuana, that it would too easily be misused for the illegal transportation of marijuana, and the list of qualifying medical conditions was too broad and ripe for abuse.”
Gov. Mark Dayton didn’t immediately respond to emails to staff seeking comment. Dayton has said he won’t support any bill that law enforcement doesn’t back.
Melin said she didn’t see where the two sides could go to reach agreement.
“Unless the Governor changes his position, I see it right now as sort of a futile attempt to go forward with the bill that he can’t support,” Melin said.
Melin said she had agreed to drop an option for patients to smoke marijuana and to impose a penalty for smoking marijuana. She also said she had agreed to replace “severe and debilitating pain” as a condition for use with “intractable pain” to reduce the number of people who would qualify. She also agreed to require the state health commissioner to consult with law enforcement to set public safety standards for the program.
Medical marijuana is allowed in 20 states and Washington, D.C.
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