By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Last week the Minnesota legislature took the first step to possibly legalizing medical marijuana. A medical marijuana bill passed a key House committee.

And while the measure has a ways to go before it becomes law, supporters say this could be the year it happens.

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Minnesota is one of a dozen states currently debating legalizing medical marijuana. Two states have already gone farther — Colorado and Washington have legalized the drug for recreational use.

At a hearing at the state Capitol, lawmakers heard emotional testimony from relatives and those who say they could benefit from medical marijuana. One of those testifying was Jessica Hauser, of Woodbury, whose son Wyatt has rare form of epilepsy and suffers as many as 100 seizures a day.

She said if the legislature doesn’t pass the bill, she and her family will have to move to a state where pot for medical use is legal. She appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

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“We know families who have moved to Colorado to access this medicinal marijuana and they are seeing real results in children who have epilepsy as severe as Wyatt’s,” she said. “We don’t want to leave a state that we love because of a law that doesn’t make sense.”

The bill faces stiff opposition from Minnesota law enforcement agencies. And Gov. Mark Dayton has said he would like to see supporters come up with some type of compromise that law enforcement could support before he signs any bill.

The governor’s stand is critical. In 2009, the legislature approved medical marijuana for hospice patients, only to have Gov. Tim Pawlenty veto the measure.

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

Esme Murphy