Pubdate: Mon, 28 Apr 2014
Source: Winona Daily News (MN)
Copyright: 2014 Winona Daily News
Author: Steve Drazkowski
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - U.S.)


Over the past few weeks, one of the most frequent topics of
conversation I've had with constituents is medical marijuana.

As you know, marijuana is illegal, and Minnesota's doctors are barred
from prescribing it. The bill under debate would change that for
medicinal purposes, providing that their patients were diagnosed with
certain ailments.

Gov. Mark Dayton has been tap-dancing around this issue. He doesn't
want to sign a medical marijuana bill unless it has support from law
enforcement. But he also wants to gain favor from those who support
the bill, so he suggested delaying the decision on the issue and
requiring Minnesota taxpayers to pay for a Mayo Clinic study
determining whether marijuana has medical benefits.

In the meantime, several parents of suffering children said Dayton met
with them and encouraged them to either buy pot off the street or go
to Colorado where marijuana is legal, buy it and bring it back to
Minnesota. Never mind the fact that doing so is a federal criminal

Not surprisingly, the governor denied the conversation took place and
again attempted to shift the blame onto someone else -- this time the
full Legislature. This is the same erratic pattern of behavior he has
shown on every controversial issue that threatens to damage his
popularity in the eyes of Minnesotans.

A compromise solution is there for the taking.

Law enforcement has very real concerns about this proposal, as do I.
Medical marijuana should be for patients only. Rightly or wrongly,
there are concerns that this is the first step toward full
legalization of the drug in the Minnesota, and that marijuana could
end up in the hands of drug addicts and, potentially, our kids.

On the other hand, we are seeing 5-year-olds with seizure disorders
and terminal illnesses who just want to ease their pain. Their parents
believe medical marijuana could give their children that comfort, but
the governor and the legislature are standing in their way.

The governor's study isn't the answer. These kids need help now, not
two or three years from now.

So why not allow a processed marijuana extract to be made available in
pill form, and obtained at a pharmacy with a doctor's prescription? It
is also possible to extract a liquid from the marijuana plant that
could be used in an electronic cigarette, which could also be made
available behind the pharmacy counter if a physician agrees to
prescribe it for certain aliments.

To me, medical marijuana should only be made available in a controlled

The public wants resolution on this topic, but once again we need
Dayton to lead by stating a specific vision on this topic and getting
involved. Does he want medical marijuana or not?

If the answer is yes, I'm in favor of helping him find a solution that
can pass the Legislature. Easing the suffering of patients with
debilitating illnesses is the compassionate thing to do in my opinion.

But if the answer is no, and the governor doesn't want to pick a fight
with law enforcement, then say so. For better or worse, at least the
parents who are pushing for the medical legalization of marijuana will
have finally heard a definitive answer on this topic from our state's
top leader.

Republican Steve Drazkowski represents Minnesota House District 21B.
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