ST. PAUL (March 4, 2014) — The Minnesota House Health and Human Services Policy Committee approved a bill in an overwhelming bipartisan vote on Tuesday that would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), PTSD, glaucoma, and HIV/AIDS to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The bill is now expected to go to the House Government Operations Committee for review.
“Seriously ill Minnesotans who could benefit from medical marijuana are one step closer to receiving the relief they deserve,” said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. “Medical marijuana has been proven to be an effective treatment for a variety of debilitating conditions.”
HF 1818, introduced last year by Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing), would allow patients suffering from specific debilitating conditions to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The Department of Health would issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients and establish a tightly regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and quality control labs.
Licensed patients who do not reside within 30 miles of a dispensary would be allowed to grow a limited amount of marijuana in their homes. A companion bill, SF 1641, was introduced in the Senate last year by Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) and is awaiting consideration.
“People currently suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other devastating conditions should not have to wait any longer for safe, legal access to the medicine that works for them,” Azzi said. “States around the country are demonstrating that medical marijuana can be successfully regulated, and it’s time for Minnesota to become one of them.”
According to the St. Cloud State University Survey released in January, 76 percent of Minnesota residents support making medical marijuana legal. Only 20 percent said they were opposed.
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws that allow people with certain debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. At least 13 additional states are considering adopting similar laws this year.
Minnesotans for Compassionate Care (MCC) is a coalition of organizations, medical professionals, patients, and concerned citizens working to protect people with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, and other serious illnesses from arrest and imprisonment for using medical marijuana with their physicians’ advice. For more information visit www.MNcares.org.