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Minn. Mom Welcomes Medical Pot Deal, Will Fight For More Access

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(credit: CBS) Jennifer Mayerle
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the news for which thousands of Minnesota families have waited. State lawmakers reached a deal Thursday that will make medical marijuana legal.

Angela Garin watches her son have seizures daily. Now, the St. Paul mom hopes medical marijuana will help him and thousands of others.

Paxton Garin loves playing with his younger brother. At times, the two slow down though, for what his mom calls a cluster of seizures. They keep track of them on a wipe board.

“Within that cluster, he has 50 to 60 individual seizures, so he’s having hundreds of seizures a day,” Garin said.

Paxton suffers from epilepsy, cerebral palsy and autism. The 5-year-old did a trial run of medical marijuana in Oregon, which Garin says dramatically reduced his seizures.

“He was eating, he was feeding himself. He was like a whole different child,” she said.

And now, Garin’s thankful Paxton will be able to be treated at home in Minnesota.

“I’m hoping that with the option of two manufacturers in this bill, hopefully one of them makes what he needs,” she said. “That’s what I’m hoping for.”

The two manufacturers will have a combined total of eight distribution centers around the state. In order to qualify, a licensed healthcare provider must verify a patient’s condition. The Commissioner of Health enrolls the patient, who then pays $200 annually for enrollment.

“It sounds easy, it sounds workable, it sounds doable. It doesn’t sound like you have to jump through a bunch of hoops,” she said.

Once approved, patients will receive medical marijuana in one of three forms: oil, pill or vapor.

“If it helps Paxton, that is awesome and it means the world to me and my family,” Garin said. “But I’ll be back there next year and I’ll be back there every year.”

About 5,000 patients in the state would qualify and could benefit from it, including patients with cancer, AIDS, HIV, seizures and terminal illness.

Garin plans to be back at the Capitol to fight for the thousands more left out of this agreement, including veterans with PTSD.

Medical marijuana will be available in July 2015.

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