MN Senate committee OKs bill to allow medical marijuana use

March 16, 2006

, Star Tribune (MN)

A bill to legalize marijuana for medical use in Minnesota cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, advancing it another step in a long and uncertain journey toward possible enactment.

Sen. Steve Kelley, DFL-Hopkins, a candidate for governor, began pushing the measure last year, getting it through one Senate committee then. Thursday's vote sent it to the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee. A companion bill hasn't been heard in the House.

"Patients battling cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS or other painful and deadly illnesses should not have to risk arrest and jail if their doctor believes marijuana may ease their suffering," Kelley said. "This legislation protects the sick while establishing sensible controls."

Eleven states have enacted laws to protect medical marijuana patients from criminal proceedings, and 11 others are considering such legislation, according to an advocacy group called Minnesotans for Compassionate Care.

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