Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Gov. Dayton makes it official, signs limited medical marijuana bill

After a contentious fight at the Legislature, Dayton signed the compromise bill that, in limited ways, legalizes medical marijuana use. Supporters of a wider-ranging law, though, will protest Friday at the governor’s residence.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the medical marijuana bill today, putting the final stamp on a compromise that opens the door to use of the drug for about 5,000 patients.

Supporters had pushed for a more liberal bill that would help many more patients; many opponents said it shouldn’t be legal at all. One advocate said the machinations that led to the compromise that Dayton was willing to sign was a wild roller-coaster ride.

Disappointed supporters of a wider-ranging bill said they will protest at the governor’s residence Friday. They will deliver 33 flowers to the governor, each of which represents 1,000 seriously ill Minnesotans who will still not be able to access medical marijuana under the new law. 

In signing the bill, Dayton said in a statement: “I thank everyone who worked together to craft and pass this legislation. I pray it will bring to the victims of ravaging illnesses the relief they are hoping for.”

Article continues after advertisement

Said the governor’s office, the bill:

“[C]reates a patient registry under the Department of Health relating to the therapeutic use of medical cannabis. It authorizes the use of medical cannabis in limited forms for certain qualifying medical conditions and regulates the distribution and manufacture of medical cannabis. It also creates a task force to conduct an impact assessment on medical cannabis therapeutic research and provides for certain criminal and civil protections for parties involved in the registry program.  This passed the House 89-40 and the Senate 46-16.”