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Dayton further explains his stand on medical marijuana

The governor denies suggesting that mothers of children with seizure disorders get the drug illegally, and says it’s unwise to bypass standard medical protocols.

Gov. Mark Dayton denied Friday that he had suggested to mothers of children with seizure disorders that they obtain medical marijuana on the streets.

In a State Capitol press conference on issues ranging from a new Senate office building to indexing the minimum wage, Dayton further said that he would follow the advice of his commissioners and medical professionals on the issue of legalizing medical marijuana and that he did not think it would be wise to bypass the protocols of testing, manufacturing and releasing a drug to consumers.

“This is first and foremost a medical question,” he said. “[The] Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Psychiatric Association, social service providers, Minnesota Epilepsy Association, are all opposed to legalization of medical marijuana for exactly the reasons I thought that [state Health] Commissioner Ehlinger and many other key commissioners stated very well in a piece they published a couple of weeks ago.”

(Dayton also has said that he would defer to law-enforcement officials on the issue.)

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“I greatly sympathize” with those whose children are suffering, he said Friday. “But we’re making policy here, passing laws, for 5.3 million people. And I believe that at this present time the information that we have available, particularly on the medical side, this is the best judgment, this is best for most Minnesotans.”

When asked if this issue had been personally hard for him, Dayton said: “It’s very hard to be vilified. It’s very hard to be told that I don’t care about people and their suffering and the like. That’s why I’m in this pursuit – to help people and relieve their pain and suffering.”