House Representatives in the Minnesota Legislature have proposed a bill that will open the door for resident farmers to grow medical marijuana for resale to dispensaries in states which have legalized the use and sale of marijuana for medical conditions.
The House bill, HF0662, which would legalize the growing of marijuana in the state, was authored by Representatives Phyllis Kahn of Minneapolis, Tom Rukavina of Virginia, Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis, Tom Huntley of Duluth, Karen Clark of Minneapolis, Jeff Hayden of Minneapolis, and Leon Lillie of North St. Paul, all members of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL).
"The Medical Marijuana Production and Export Act would direct the state government to develop a strict licensing plan for the potential grower and cites a positive economic benefit for the state’s agricultural sector," according to the Minnesota Independent.
The bill was introduced to the Minnesota House last week by the DFL party members and was referred to the Agriculture and Rural Development Policy and Finance Committee for review.
The text of the bill HF0662 reads in part:
"The legislature finds that the production and export of medical marijuana can contribute to the state’s economy and agricultural vitality and can be regulated so as not to interfere with the strict regulation of controlled substances in this state. The purpose of the Medical Marijuana Production and Export Act is to strengthen the state economy and its agricultural sectors by authorizing the development of a regulated medical marijuana production and export industry while maintaining strict control of marijuana."
Medical marijuana will be considered an "agricultural crop in Minnesota if processed, and transported in compliance with all the requirements of the proposed legislation." Medical marijuana is defined in HF0662 as 'marijuana that is produced, processed, and transported exclusively for export and legal consumption by a person domiciled in a state or country where it is lawful to use marijuana to treat a medical condition.
"Person's licensed to grow Medical Marijuana will "produce, process, and possess marijuana only for export and in full compliance with the bill and any corresponding rules promulgated by the commissioner. Any consumption or unauthorized possession of marijuana will be prosecuted to the fullest extent provided by law."
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed legislation in 2009, that made it through both the House and Senate, that would have legalized medical cannabis for limited use for qualified medical marijuana patients, according to Minnesotans for Compassionate Care.
"But this measure has a different aim — to give farmers the OK to grow pot for export to states where its medicinal use is legal." said the Minnesota Independent in 2010 when Kahn and a bipartisan group of state representatives introduced a similar bill that failed to get the necessary votes.
NORML reports there are fifteen states including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia that have active state medical marijuana programs.
More information on state-by-state marijuana laws can be found here.