The Minnesota Senate passed a bill today that would legalize medical marijuana. The elements of the plan are more than Governor Mark Dayton said he would support. It’s a version that law enforcement fought hard against. The vote was 48 to 18. Some tweets I saw said that it’s a ‘comprehensive plan’, which I disagree with. For instance, it’s the only plan that specifically prohibits patients from smoking marijuana, although they can eat medical marijuana or vaporize it.
Law enforcement is not happy about the passage of the bill by the Minnesota Senate. Per CBS Minnesota:
State law-enforcement groups oppose any proposal that would allow plant material in the hands of patients. They say legalizing the possession of the marijuana plant, even for medical reasons, would lead to wider distribution of the drug. Police, prosecutors and sheriffs say, among other things, that it would lead to more drugged-driving incidents and ultimately wind up in the hands of children.
“We’re tremendously opposed to the Senate approach,” said Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. “The House bill is much different. In that bill, you do not get raw crude marijuana. In the Senate bill, (patients) are allowed to have 2.5 ounces of marijuana.”
The Minnesota House takes up their version later this week. If it passes, the two chambers will reach a compromise, then send it back to both chambers to approve. The battle is far from over, and even if/after it passes both chambers, implementation will present it’s own battles. If you are in Minnesota, call your legislators and keep the pressure on them. If you are a member of the Minnesota law enforcement community that has led the battle on the opposition side, you need to realize that your job is to enforce the law, not create it.