Updated: 04/14/2014 2:07 PM KSTP.com By: Tom Hauser
A big majority of Minnesotans favor legalizing medical marijuana, according to a new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll.
The poll shows 68 percent of Minnesotans surveyed think marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes only. Only 24 percent said it should not be legalized.
GOP Senator Dave Thompson, who is also running for governor, is so far still skeptical of legalizing marijuana for any purpose.
However, he's listened to tearful testimony from parents of children who suffer seizures and could benefit from various cannibas-based products. Thompson says he also pays attention to polls that show such a large majority in favor of something, but he also has to be guided by principle. "I would prefer to see the majority of Minnesotans get their way, but we have to make sure we do it responsibly and consistent with good medical practice," Thompson told me outside a Senate hearing on medical marijuana on Thursday.
The committee heard testimony from medical marijuana supporters and opponents. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota's Health Commissioner, testified that he thinks the Senate should reject the bill until further study is done on marijuana for medical uses. Other opponents, including law enforcement, fear it would eventually lead to legalizing recreational marijuana. However, our poll also shows 64 percent of Minnesotans oppose legalizing recreational marijuana with only 29 percent in favor.
The Senate and House both plan to take up the medical marijuana issue after their 12-day break for Easter and Passover.