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MN to Become 22nd State to Legalize Medical Marijuana

PHOTO: Under Minnesota's medical marijuana bill, patients will not be able to get the plant or its leaves, but could obtain medicinal marijuana in liquid or pill form. Photo credit: Mark/Flickr
PHOTO: Under Minnesota's medical marijuana bill, patients will not be able to get the plant or its leaves, but could obtain medicinal marijuana in liquid or pill form. Photo credit: Mark/Flickr
May 19, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The 2014 Legislature ended with a flurry over the weekend and among the bills passed that now await the governor's signature is one to legalize medicinal marijuana use. Minnesota will become the 22nd state to allow it, although the measure is one of the most restrictive in the nation, according to Heather Azzi, director, Minnesotans for Compassionate Care.

"There are some pretty significant hurdles for businesses to overcome before they can get started and some difficulty imposed on doctors that may prove to be a little burdensome. So, they're hoping to get the rules done and manufacturers selected by next winter and then, have some supply available for patients by next summer," Azzi says.

Governor Dayton has said he will sign the bill, which allows doctors to provide marijuana in liquid and pill form to patients who are terminally ill, or who have one of eight serious medical conditions outlined in the legislation.

Azzi calls it a step in the right direction, but says there are many more medical conditions that can be helped with marijuana. She also notes that Minnesota still won't allow for the sale of the plant leaves for smoking, so the fight is not over.

"There was a very big compromise made this year in order to get something accomplished, and I think every legislator and every patient out there has already acknowledged that we'll be back next year," she says.

The bill also creates a patient registry process for monitoring the health impacts experienced by patients taking medical cannabis, to help health professionals broaden their understanding of the benefits, risks and side effects.

The bill details are available at www.house.leg.state.mn.us.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN