ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — A possible Minnesota House vote on legalizing medical marijuana has been delayed for a couple of weeks.
Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo of Farmington was hoping to attach an amendment that would legalize medical marijuana to a separate health bill. But that bill has been pulled from Wednesday’s docket until after the Legislature’s Passover/Easter break that begins the next day.
Garofalo’s amendment calls for a broader medical marijuana law than Gov. Mark Dayton has said he is willing to back. Dayton didn’t issue a veto threat Tuesday but said legislators “have hidden behind their desks” while he strained to bridge concerns of advocates and law enforcement.
A stand-alone medical marijuana bill has stalled. Even some of those who support the cause could balk at tying it to a separate bill.
But Heather Azzi, the director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, a group that supports legalization, says it might be a good thing that the vote is delayed.
“It’s important that we take more time with it,” she said. “We know that we need the governor’s signature to get a medical marijuana bill enacted in Minnesota.”
Pushing the vote back until after the holiday break gives supporters of medical marijuana time to work on policy, Azzi said.
“We’re certainly ready to compromise,” she added.
Under the broader health bill, medical marijuana plants would be tracked from seed to sale. Companies seeking to grow marijuana would need to be licensed by the commissioner of health and selected by the commissioner to cultivate plants in tightly controlled conditions.
The bill doesn’t allow patients to cultivate their own marijuana, and it also penalizes the smoking of marijuana, even for medical reasons.
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