Minneapolis panel weighs in on marijuana issue

August 10, 2004

Gita Sitaramiah, Pioneer Press

The Minneapolis Charter Commission recommended today the City Council, not a charter amendment on the November ballot, address allowing the use of medical marijuana.

Commission members disapprove of the issue being taken up as a charter amendment rather than as a proposed ordinance and voted unanimously to forward a letter stating their position to the City Council. The commission was required by law to accept a petition to put the amendment on the ballot.

Aaron Marcus, president of Citizens Organized for Harm Reduction, took issue with the letter.

'We do disagree with its final provisions,' he said. His group filed a petition with more than 10,000 signatures Tuesday with the city of Minneapolis.

A medical marijuana distribution system would have to be legal under state and federal law. Minnesota doesn’t allow the use of marijuana for medical treatment nor does federal law. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule later this year on federal intervention efforts in California, where voters legalized medicinal marijuana in 1996.

The Minneapolis City Council Intergovernmental Relations Committee takes up the issue at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

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