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Minnesota Governor To Parents: Just Break Marijuana Laws

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minnesota medical marijuanaA parent with a sick child would do almost anything to find relief.  Some parents rejoiced when Dr. Sanjay Gupta exposed them to the stories of children like theirs finding relief from epilepsy with a cannabis extract high in CBD.  The only problem is the oil is not legal in their state, so these parents have begun to lobby their legislatures for a legal solution.

But rather than help these parents by finding them a legal way to treat their child with marijuana, invertebrate politicians have instead done something contrary to their oath of office: they’re openly encouraging desperate parents to break state and federal laws.

In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton met with Jessica Hauser.  She and other parents met with the governor on March 13 to lobby for HF 1818, an extremely restrictive medical marijuana bill that would have established dispensaries to provide medical marijuana for a limited set of medical conditions.  Hauser’s son Wyatt has infantile spasms, a form of epilepsy that strikes him hundreds of times per day.  Hauser’s conversation with the governor was stunning:

“I explained to [the governor]how my son and others like him would benefit from safe and legal access to medical marijuana. I told him in great detail our story and our struggles. My optimism quickly turned to dismay when, after hearing my son’s story, the governor actually suggested I should just find medical marijuana for my son off the street.”

“This is our state’s top official looking me in the eye and telling me that I should have to break the law to buy marijuana from an illegal drug dealer instead of being able to access it safely and legally from a tightly regulated state licensed provider as outlined in the H.F. 1818 bill. Is that what his friends in law enforcement would prefer as well?”

Gov. Dayton prefers a proposal for $2.2 million study of CBD at the Mayo Clinic, but provides no way for the Mayo Clinic to get the CBD aside from the federal government.  “At least 34 states have tried this approach. It doesn’t work,” said Heather Azzi, political director of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, which lobbied for HF 1818.  In fact, no new law is required for Dayton’s proposal; if the FDA and NIDA approved clinical trials of CBD, it could be happening at the Mayo Clinic tomorrow.  The governor is just offering up something, anything, as a defense to what’s turning into a politically uncomfortable situation that places him between sick kids who desperately need CBD and Minnesota cops who desperately need marijuana arrests.

Gov. Dayton portrayed activists’ rejection of his unworkable bill as “their decision to make,” adding, “There are people who just want to be able to smoke marijuana, and that’s what they want to do legally, and that’s not going to happen in this legislative session.”  When parents slammed him for those comments, he walked them back the next day, saying, “My comment yesterday, in which I referred to ‘the advocates who want to legalize medical marijuana and be able to smoke marijuana plants and leaves…’ was in no way intended to refer to victims of terrible diseases or their parents, who I was trying to help.”  Well, who was it intended toward?  Heather Azzi at MCC?  The majority of Minnesotans that support medical marijuana?

As for telling Ms. Hauser to “find medical marijuana on the streets”?  Gov. Dayton said, “I cannot, and I do not, advocate breaking the law. But as a father, I understand parents who would do anything possible to help their children. If advocates agree to the compromise solution my administration has proposed – which I believe would provide their children with the medication and relief they need as quickly as possible – then something can be accomplished on this issue this session.”

Gov. Dayton, who is the veto threat that had prevented any medical marijuana bill from advancing, added, “I also regret that I have been wrongly portrayed as the sole barrier between sufferers and their access to medical marijuana.”  The governor expressed that he’s merely echoing the concerns of medical professionals and law enforcement that marijuana can “disrupt learning and impair memory, exacerbate mental illness, increase blood pressure, heart rate, and heart attack risk, [and]impair drivers,” none of which can damage or kill a child like hundreds of epileptic seizures per day can.

Gov. Dayton’s not the only politician encouraging parents of sick kids to break the law.  The CBD-only bill just signed in Utah and soon to be signed in Alabama, like the ones pending in Kentucky and South Carolina, and like the one killed in Georgia, all require the parents to get CBD oil from Colorado, breaking that state’s and federal laws in the process.

This is not an unintended consequence; these state lawmakers openly call for their constituents to break the law.  In Utah, when colleagues pointed out parents would be breaking federal trafficking laws once they crossed the Utah/Colorado border, it was bill sponsor Rep. Gage Froerer saying, “They know very well that this may not protect them from the DEA if the federal prosecutors stepped in.”

In Georgia, it was bill sponsor Rep. Allen Peake explaining how his state should protect those parents smuggling in CBD oil.  “Let’s leave that decision to the parents,” he said.  ”If they are willing to take the risk that a TSA agent will arrest them with a vial of oil, let’s let them make the decision.”

Isn’t it ironic that representatives and governors are so afraid of someone smoking a misdemeanor amount of pot to get high under the cover of a medical law that they would rather have parents become interstate felony drug traffickers than provide sick kids a marijuana extract that causes no high?

Source: National Cannabis Coalitionmake a donation

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About Author

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.