ST. PAUL, MINN. – The Minnesota Senate passed legislation to legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes on Tuesday by a vote of 48-18, with broad bipartisan support.
The bill would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, glaucoma, and intractable pain to obtain up to 2.5 ounces at a time of medical cannabis with their doctor’s recommendation. The bill seeks to balance access with strong measures to ensure limitations and safeguards. Some of those elements include limiting the number of locations where cannabis can be obtained, a multitude of provisions to prevent any diversion of marijuana for non-medical purposes, and strong sanctions should anyone fail to follow the rules.
Chief author of the bill, Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) released the following statement:
“Minnesotans across the state are suffering from a range of debilitating illnesses and symptoms. Too many either have no access to effective treatments, or suffer intolerable side effects from them. Medical cannabis may give them some ability to live a better life without constant suffering. This allows us to get out of the way of the relationship between doctors and patients so they can determine for themselves the potential benefits and drawbacks when their options are limited.
It is heartbreaking to see families forced to live apart when members have to live in other states that offer medical cannabis. It is distressing to consider people are forced to make the choice to suffer and go without, continue using pharmaceuticals that exacerbate their suffering, or contemplate breaking the law to obtain relief.
All Minnesotans deserve to live a life that is as good as is possible. We have the power and ability to take a step to relieve the suffering of our most vulnerable citizens in a balanced and measured way.”