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Medical marijuana bills introduced at Minnesota Legislature

Supporters say they have bipartisan support for the measure, which would allow authorized patients to have 2.5 ounces of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Bills that would allow medical marijuana use in Minnesota were introduced in the state House and state Senate today and referred to committees.

Supporters say they have bipartisan support for the measure, which would allow “consumption of marijuana to alleviate a registered qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the medical condition.”

The supporters also said Thursday that a poll in March showed that 65 percent of Minnesotans approve changing the law to allow people with serious and terminal illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

Gov. Mark Dayton has indicated that he won’t support it without approval of law enforcement officials, who have opposed the effort in the past.

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Senate File 1641 has been referred to the Health, Human Services and Housing Committee, and House File 1818 was referred to the Health and Human Services Policy Committee.

Under the bills, up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana or 12 plants would be allowed for qualified patients.

At a news conference Thursday, Joni Whiting of Jordan said her daughter used medical marijuana in the months before she died of cancer. It was illegal, but it helped her relieve the extreme pain and nausea,.

“Medical marijuana made life bearable for my daughter in her final few months,” Whiting said. “She would have tried using medical marijuana immediately after her doctor recommended it, but we feared the legal consequences and she suffered for months before we decided it was worth the risk. This legislation will prevent patients and families from being put in such a terrible situation.”