Minn. Medical Marijuana Bill Forum Draws Huge Crowd

Posted at: 11/11/2013 10:27 PM
By: Alan Hoglund

Legislation by an Iron Range DFL'er is drawing big attention in Duluth.

More than 200 people attended a public forum at UMD Monday on a bill to legalize marijuana introduced this spring with help from Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing. Since then she's been getting input and feedback from the public.

Melin said medical marijuana will offer pain relief with fewer side effects. She also said there are stiff penalties should anyone misuse the system.

"If you have a medical marijuana card, so your doctor has recommended you be treated with medical marijuana, and you get the marijuana and give it to someone who doesn't have that card, you are subject to prosecution of a felony," she said.

Melin also explained that her bill includes a specific list of conditions a patient would have to have in order to be eligible for a medical marijuana prescription. Her examples included cancer, glaucoma, HIV, Hepatitic C, PTSD, and chronic or debilitating diseases.

But Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Lindstrom, who has publicly come out against the bill, told Eyewitness News he is concerned about loopholes. He said the Department of Health would be able to change the list of conditions.

Barrett said there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before the next session starts in February.

Barrett asked "who would be able to get it? What would they get? Who would grow it? What's in it? Is it high THC, low THC? High CBD, low CBD...those are fascinating and important issues that we need to understand."

THC and CBD are both ingredients in marijuana.

Governor Mark Dayton has come out in opposition to medical marijuana in the past.

Melin said it's because law enforcement in Minnesota opposes its use. But she said she is trying to change that and plans to meet with law enforcement this week.