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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Gov. Dayton Is Asking Us To Proceed On Medical Marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana
Posted: 04/13/14 13:00

by Dave Mindeman

Consider this....

Minnesota: During session, governor must sign or veto legislation within 3 days after transmittal (excepting Sundays), or it becomes law without signature. Legislation passed during the last three days of the session must be acted upon by the governor within 14 days of of session adjournment, or it is pocket vetoed.

Governor Dayton told the legislature that they need to come out from behind their desks and face the medical marijuana issue directly. And they have begun.

Hopefully, after this Easter break, this bill will have a "resurrection" of its own and with the bipartisan support out there, maybe it will actually make it to the Governor's desk.

My quote above indicates that Governor Dayton could actually allow a bill to become law without his signature. In a way, he could adhere to his promise to law enforcement of not supporting legislation that they do not support themselves - and yet, allow medical marijuana supporters to finally get the legislation they have worked so hard for.

Law enforcement's position was summed up by Wabash County Sheriff Rodney Bartsh when he testified...

"The governor knows where we stand on this," Bartsh said. "We're so worried about the future of this. This is a bill that's for today to combat the dramatic suffering that some people are at the Capitol talking about. But I'm worried about the 40 years from now and my grandchildren growing up."

Law enforcement is not concerned about medicinal uses. They know that can be restricted and access limited. They are worried about a natural progression to full legalization. That's the bottom line.

But why allow needless suffering now? Why not let medical marijuana serve its purpose in the narrow context of the law proposed? Worry about future debate as it unfolds. Yes, at some point, Minnesota will probably join other states and allow full legalization. It is not like it has not already begun.

Colorado has had legalization for a couple of months now and how has the public responded?

Public Policy Polling:

Currently Favor legalization 57%
Opposed to the law 35%

That is a 10 point increase in favorability since the law was enacted.

And it is not like marijuana use has skyrocketed. The poll indicated that 89% of Coloradons have not used marijuana. Only 8% indicated they had. Now you might question the honesty of those polled, but it still indicates that there is not overwhelming usage even when legal.

Minnesotans are not ready for full legalization. Polling indicates heavy opposition to that...for the moment. But we, as a state, will get an opportunity to observe other states deal with this issue. We can examine the mistakes and watch the successes. We can write a better law if need be.

But the medical aspects....the needs of the few. That is what we need to deal with right now - at this moment.

Give Governor Dayton a bill. Make him decide - I think he is sending signals that he wants that decision to make.

We have a week to think this over - let's make the right decision.
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