Senate Advances Medical Marijuana Bill
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[May 07, 2014]
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Minnesota
senators on Tuesday advanced a bill that would make physician-prescribed
medical marijuana legal for a broad range of patient suffering, joining
more than 20 other U.S. states.
Senators voted 48-18 to approve the bill, which received
bipartisan support in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The bill
differs sharply from a state House of Representatives proposal to
make medical marijuana available through a research study.
Democratic Senator Scott Dibble, a bill sponsor, had urged approval
of the measure, "in the name of compassion, the name of having
access to something that can make a real difference for the better
for some people."
In opposing the bill, Republican Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen said he
was concerned Minnesota was, "taking baby steps toward legalizing
recreational marijuana in the state."
Ingebrigtsen, a former sheriff, pointed to initial approval of
medical marijuana in Colorado and Washington state that was followed
later by approval for recreational use by adults.
Patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, epilepsy, multiple
sclerosis and other conditions, or from severe pain, wasting or
nausea from medical treatments could obtain prescriptions under the
Senate medical marijuana bill.
The bill would permit up to 55 dispensing centers around Minnesota.
The health commissioner could approve other centers and make other
conditions eligible for medical marijuana.
Patients could possess up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of marijuana at
any one time. The marijuana could be ingested in various forms
including pills or oils, or vaporized by heating it to just shy of
combustion to release the compounds.
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Smoking the marijuana would be prohibited under either the Senate or
House bills under consideration.
The bill in the state House of Representatives would allow Minnesota
children and adults suffering from severe illnesses to take part in
a research study of medical marijuana in a pill or liquid form. The
state health department estimated that about 5,000 people would
enroll in the study.
(Reporting by David Bailey)
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