Minnesota - Medical Marijuana Farms Proposed; No Bill to Protect Patients

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dr. Patient
The Minnesota legislative session has brought about some interesting bills, but a bill has yet to be introduced to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest and prosecution for using a treatment option recommended to them by their physicians. Please e-mail your senator and representative and ask them to  introduce compassionate medical marijuana legislation in St. Paul.

Currently pending in the Minnesota Legislature are two interesting proposals. Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL – Minneapolis) has a bill, HF 662, which would regulate the production of medical marijuana for export to states with medical marijuana programs. Although this bill has little chance of passing, it could reignite the medical marijuana debate.

The second intriguing bill also comes from the desk of Rep. Kahn. HF 479, a bill that would specify that the weight of water from a pipe may not count towards the weight of any controlled substance for the purposes of personal possession. A similar bill overwhelmingly passed through the Minnesota Legislature last session, only to be vetoed by then-Governor Tim Pawlenty (R). With strong bi-partisan support on this issue and a new governor, this bill seems to have a real chance of becoming law.

Patient profiles

Because of Gov. Pawlenty’s veto of a bipartisan medical marijuana bill in 2009, thousands of patients continue to suffer. Some live in fear of arrest, and some are prosecuted and convicted. Others are too fearful or law-abiding to break state law and suffer needlessly because the medicine they know would work best is not allowed in their state. Unfortunately, Gov. Mark Dayton has made no indication that he has a more compassionate view on the subject. He has stated that he would only support medical marijuana legislation if law enforcement were comfortable with the bill. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s law enforcement organizations opposed even a bill so restrictive that it only would have protected the terminally ill.

You can watch several of these patients talk about how medical marijuana helps their conditions.

Are you a patient?

If you are a patient with a serious medical condition who could benefit from medical marijuana, or a supportive medical professional, please e-mail state@mpp.org to get involved.


Learn about Minnesota's marijuana laws

In 2007, there were 11,629 marijuana-related arrests in Minnesota. Interestingly, only 66% of these arrests were for marijuana possession. Nationally, marijuana possession arrests in 2007 comprised 89% of all marijuana-related arrests. While the penalty for a first offense of possessing a small amount of marijuana in Minnesota is $200, having two ounces could land Minnesotans in jail for five years! You can learn more about Minnesota's marijuana penalties and enforcement by reading this report by Jon Gettman, Ph.D.

Stay up to date

During the last several years, we have moved the bar significantly, and it's only a matter of time until we have an effective medical marijuana law on the books in Minnesota. Please subscribe to our free legislative alert service if you haven't already done so.