Dayton seems to soften opposition to medical marijuana

Has the Gov has softened on medical marijuana? Baird Helgeson’s Strib story says: “By the end of the meeting [with proponents at the governor’s mansion] with Dayton left pained by the stories he’d heard, the governor had a revised take on the issue. Dayton said he would direct his top commissioners and staffers to meet with the group and see if some compromise could be reached in the remaining two months of the legislative session. Minutes earlier, Dayton had been on the phone broadening and sharpening his criticism of medical marijuana.”

But Tom Scheck’s MPR story says: “Dayton said law enforcement, the medical community and others have raised concerns about how it would be administered if the state allows it. He said there’s little scientific evidence that marijuana is effective, and noted that the federal Food and Drug Administration has not approved it as medicine. The governor also said an idea to establish distribution centers across Minnesota is folly as marijuana plants need to be transported, grown, cultivated and distributed.”

These numbers need some interpretation … In the PiPress, Nick Woltman reports: “Minnesota’s Angel Tax Credit program issued $12.37 million of its $12.7 million in available credits in 2013, according to a report submitted to the Minnesota Legislature on Thursday. In 2013, 472 certified investors and investment funds invested $50.66 million in 128 businesses — 122 of them located in the Twin Cities metro. Half of the businesses that received investments were in either the software or medical device fields. … Businesses that received funding through the Angel Tax Credit program created 55 jobs in 2013— down from 153 in 2012.

Metro State is banning the butts. Joseph Lindberg of the PiPress says: “Lighting up on the Metropolitan State University campus soon will be banned, a move that aligns the institution with dozens of colleges and universities statewide with similar policies. Inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lit cigarette, e-cigarette, cigar, pipe or ‘other such device’ with tobacco will be prohibited on Metro State’s St. Paul campus starting May 1, according to a release from the school.”

Those driver diversion “classes,” where you pay a fee to keep violations off your record, are getting slapped with a lawsuit. Abby Simons of the Strib says: “In a class-action lawsuit filed Thursday, nine plaintiffs are demanding that 36 cities and counties across the state return at least $2 million raised through the classes. The lawsuit comes as legislators take a closer look at revamping the laws to keep the diversion programs legal. Attorney Erick Kaardal, representing the group, said the public doesn’t understand how the state auditor, attorney general and the courts can tell law enforcement officials repeatedly that the diversion programs are illegal, yet the programs continue to be offered, typically by police and sheriff’s departments.”

The EPA has given the PolyMet project a “passing grade.” Says Doug Belden in the PiPress: “While the federal Environmental Protection Agency has lingering concerns about potential impacts from a proposed copper-nickel mining operation in northern Minnesota, the agency boosted the project’s environmental review rating Thursday. ‘This is what you’d consider a passing grade and moves us toward the final EIS (environmental impact statement) preparation. This is the rating that the DNR was hoping to achieve,’ said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris Niskanen.”

Someone call Paul Ryan … For the AP, Brian Bakst reports: “The Minnesota House on Thursday voted unanimously to guarantee children don’t get denied a school lunch for lack of money.  The bill, which passed 130-0, gained traction amid reports that some districts either denied lunches to kids who couldn’t afford them or gave them a lesser meal than their peers. Under the bill, the state would spend $3.5 million a year to shore up the lunch program.”

Out-of-control spending? Not really. David Peterson of the Strib writes: “After years of cutbacks, Minnesota’s cities are spending less than they were a decade ago, when inflation is factored in, the state auditor reported Wednesday. The numbers are for 2012 and don’t reflect the big bump in state aid provided by legislators in 2013. But Minnesota House Research reports that, though it did rise, per-capita aid to local governments for 2014 is still less, statewide, than it was in 2011: $115 vs. $122. … The result: ‘When adjusted for inflation, 2012 expenditure levels are below 2003 levels and decreased 16 percent over the ten-year period.’ ”

The folks living an arm’s length from the proposed Southwest LRT line are pro-“shallow tunnel.Laura Yuen of MPR says: “Finally in the long-running debate over Southwest light-rail, there’s something that St. Louis Park and at least some Minneapolis residents can agree on. … The people who live in the narrowest pinch point of the Kenilworth Corridor are pleading with Minneapolis city officials to stop pushing for a rerouting of freight traffic. … groups are advocating for the shallow tunnels, ‘not because we think it is an ideal solution, but because it is the only option presented to date as an alternative to the 16-20 hours daily schedule of 220 light rail trains, running every ten minutes in each direction ‘at grade,’ within feet of our homes,’ email said.”

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Richard O on 03/14/2014 - 01:35 pm.

    Angel Tax Credit

    $12.4 million credits for 55 jobs is approx. $225,000 per job. And the expected life of the job is limited because these jobs are likely medical/hi tech.

  2. Submitted by Richard O on 03/14/2014 - 01:39 pm.

    ” Inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lit cigarette…, will be prohibited on Metro State’s St. Paul campus”

    I wonder, will this include medical marijuana?

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