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article imageMinnesota governor passes restrictive medical marijuana law

By Nicole Weddington     Jun 2, 2014 in Health
Joining ranks with 21 other states, Minnesota last Thursday legally passed the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes with a law that is one of most restrictive in the nation.
Governor of Minnesota Mark Dayton signed the legislation, which outlines strict guidelines for the program defining very specific qualifying conditions and tight controls over how it is administered.
The goal is to make it available to those who need it, and not for recreational purposes.
“I pray it will bring to the victims of ravaging illnesses the relief they are hoping for,” Dayton said in a written statement.
The bill, which was a compromise from the original, did not satisfy a few medical marijuana advocates, who state that law that passes will exclude people who need relief from it. Their argument stems from the fact that most patients needing the marijuana gain maximum benefit by smoking the leaf, which will not be legalized.
Backers of the passed legislation argue that it is a huge step forward in making marijuana available medically, meeting requirements of both law enforcement and the medical community. Dayton wanted to pass a bill that would satisfy these two groups first including employees of these facilities, many of them medical assistants, that often serve as the "first line in oprimal patient care".
Per the bill, eligible medical conditions include cancer, glaucoma and AIDS. Physician assistants and advanced-practice registered nurses have the authority to certify a patient as suffering from a qualifying illness.
If the state’s plan pans out, the drug will be available by the middle of 2015 in pill, oil and vapor forms. Statewide, only two manufacturing facilities and eight dispensaries have been approved.
This means, if all goes well, residents of Minnesota will not have access to marijuana in leaf form, which is an issue other states have had issues with, citing many hidden farms and undocumented growers in remote areas.
Approximately 5,000 patients are expected to apply for entry into the program. The state health department has not placed any limits on the number of people who will be allowed to sign up. The bill also paves the way for a committee that will assess the impact that medicinal marijuana creates.
The passed law will also require the setup of a task force to assess the impact of marijuana.
More about Medical Marijuana, Minnesota, Marijuana
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