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Talking Points: Differences In House & Senate Medical Marijuana Bills

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Bills legalizing medical marijuana could be voted on in both the Minnesota House and Senate this week, but the House and Senate versions are significantly different. That has led to disagreements among supporters that some say threaten passage of any type of bill.

Medical marijuana has seemingly died several times at the Capitol this session only to be born again in different forms.

Right now, the Senate version of the bill has stripped out smoking, leaving only the pill form, an oil extract or the use of a vaporizer that heats up the leaves and emits a marijuana steam.

The House bill is even more restrictive, saying anyone using a marijuana vaporizer would have to do it under the supervision of a medical professional. Currently all 21 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized medical marijuana allow for smoking.

The proposed restrictions on smoking have some supporters here crying foul. Others are calling for unity.

Jessica Hauser is a Woodbury mother whose 2-year-old son Wyatt suffers from a rare form of epilepsy. She is one of the outspoken backers of medical marijuana who has kept the issue alive this session. She appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“Feel very optimistic that progress has been made in both chambers. I think it is really up to lawmakers now to make these bill functional and effective for as many Minnesotans as possible because every Minnesotan, everyone deserves a chance at having the medicine they need to help their issues,” Hauser said.

State law enforcement officials have indicated they would not support any bill that allows for smoking marijuana and Gov. Mark Dayton says he won’t sign a measure unless law enforcement is on board.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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