Minnesota Senate advances medical marijuana bill

MINNEAPOLIS Tue May 6, 2014 10:01pm EDT

A bottle of a marijuana-based product is seen at the ''Oregon's Finest'' medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregon April 8, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

A bottle of a marijuana-based product is seen at the ''Oregon's Finest'' medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregon April 8, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Dipaola

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MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Minnesota senators on Tuesday advanced a bill that would make physician-prescribed medical marijuana legal for a broad range of patient suffering, joining more than 20 other U.S. states.

Senators voted 48-18 to approve the bill, which received bipartisan support in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The bill differs sharply from a state House of Representatives proposal to make medical marijuana available through a research study.

Democratic Senator Scott Dibble, a bill sponsor, had urged approval of the measure, "in the name of compassion, the name of having access to something that can make a real difference for the better for some people."

In opposing the bill, Republican Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen said he was concerned Minnesota was, "taking baby steps toward legalizing recreational marijuana in the state."

Ingebrigtsen, a former sheriff, pointed to initial approval of medical marijuana in Colorado and Washington state that was followed later by approval for recreational use by adults.

Patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other conditions, or from severe pain, wasting or nausea from medical treatments could obtain prescriptions under the Senate medical marijuana bill.

The bill would permit up to 55 dispensing centers around Minnesota. The health commissioner could approve other centers and make other conditions eligible for medical marijuana.

Patients could possess up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of marijuana at any one time. The marijuana could be ingested in various forms including pills or oils, or vaporized by heating it to just shy of combustion to release the compounds.

Smoking the marijuana would be prohibited under either the Senate or House bills under consideration.

The bill in the state House of Representatives would allow Minnesota children and adults suffering from severe illnesses to take part in a research study of medical marijuana in a pill or liquid form. The state health department estimated that about 5,000 people would enroll in the study.

(Reporting by David Bailey)

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Comments (4)
jbsds wrote:
It seems strange that Minnesota that has been one of the most progressive states in the Union, has not moved to make medical marijuana available to those who could use it to help in their suffering. Who is blocking this bill. Has big Pharma taken an interest in selling pain drugs to Minnesota citizens? Things are so obtuse for those of use who have chronic pain. We are left to doctors who mostly don’t really care, big Pharma wishing only to sell their patented medicines and politicians that will only show compassion for those in chronic pain when its is someone close to them such as a relative or friend. This is not a plea for getting high. Some of us are so tired of the pain and no one really giving a hoot whether we have suffer 24/7 or not.

May 06, 2014 10:51pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bob3434 wrote:
Cannabis oil is more potent and will likely cause adverse reactions especially in naive users. Smoking is much better for naive users since they can control the intensity much easier. GW Pharmaceticals is about to get oil based sprays on the market for a host of ailments in clinical trials now……

The Merck Manual Excerpts on Cannabis:
“Even daily smokers do not develop obstructive airway disease. There is no evidence of increased risk of head and neck or airway cancers, as there is with tobacco.”

“Marijuana is a euphoriant that can cause sedation or dysphoria in some users. Overdose does not occur. Psychologic dependence can develop with chronic use, but very little physical dependence is clinically apparent. Withdrawal is uncomfortable but requires only supportive treatment.”

“Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug; it is typically used episodically without evidence of social or psychologic dysfunction.”

“Many of the other reported psychologic effects seem to be related to the setting in which the drug is taken. Anxiety, panic reactions, and paranoia have occurred, particularly in naive users. ”

“Withdrawal: Cessation after 2 to 3 wk of frequent, heavy use can cause a mild withdrawal syndrome, which typically begins about 12 h after the last use. Symptoms consist of insomnia, irritability, depression, nausea, and anorexia; symptoms peak at 2 to 3 days and last up to 7 days. ”

“An unjust law is no law at all” St. Augustine

May 06, 2014 12:13am EDT  --  Report as abuse
500cubic wrote:
research pill or liquid? Vapors- 2.5oz would be a nice batch of Brownies!.

May 07, 2014 2:23am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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