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Parents and Their Children With Epilepsy to Hold News Conference Wednesday to Slam Minnesota Governor For Using Them As Political Cover to Block Widely Supported Medical Marijuana Legislation

In an effort to appease law enforcement, Gov. Mark Dayton proposed an unworkable alternative to an effective medical marijuana bill supported by parents of children with epilepsy; the governor then blamed the parents — who told him his proposal would not help their kids — for obstructing the passage of medical marijuana legislation that 'would help hundreds of kids that are suffering from epilepsy'

Children suffering from seizure disorders will join their parents and advocates at a news conference WEDNESDAY (3/26) at 12:45 p.m. CT in the State Capitol

ST. PAUL — Parents and their children suffering from epilepsy will hold a news conference Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. CT in Room 125 of the Minnesota State Capitol, at which they will slam Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton for using them as political cover to block widely supported medical marijuana legislation.

In an effort to appease law enforcement interests, Gov. Dayton proposed an unworkable alternative to HF 1818, a bill that would effectively allow people with specific conditions, such as epilepsy, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis, to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The governor's proposal would direct funding to research into the anti-epileptic properties of a specific strain of marijuana, but would not provide a mechanism for patients or their caregivers to obtain medical marijuana. Parents of children with epilepsy informed the governor and his staff during in-person meetings that they opposed his proposal because it would do nothing to help their children or others who would benefit from medical marijuana. Gov. Dayton has said he will only approve a bill if it has the support of law enforcement groups, but they have steadfastly opposed any workable medical marijuana legislation.

During a Tuesday radio interview, Gov. Dayton acknowledged the benefits of medical marijuana for children suffering from epilepsy and blamed the parent activists for obstructing legislation that "would help hundreds of kids that are suffering from epilepsy." He also said, "It's just disappointing that people wouldn't seize every opportunity to help other people."

"Gov. Dayton has seized every opportunity to prevent the passage of a law that will help my daughter," said Maria Botker, a Clinton woman whose daughter, Greta, suffers from epilepsy. "Now he has stooped to using my daughter and me as political cover. Blaming parents for holding up legislation that would help their children is truly reprehensible.

"I would do anything in my power to help my son, and for Gov. Dayton to suggest otherwise is sickening," said Angela Garin, a St. Paul woman whose son, Paxton, suffers from epilepsy. "I took my child to Oregon to see if medical marijuana could help him, and when I told the governor it could, he told me to go back to Oregon and get some for him. I was appalled to learn that he values his relationship with law enforcement groups more than my child's health and my safety."

The House Health and Human Services Policy Committee is expected to hold a hearing on HF 1818 this week.

WHAT: News conference at which parents of children with epilepsy will slam Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton for using them as political cover to block medical marijuana legislation

WHEN: Wednesday, March 26, 12:45 p.m. CT

WHERE: Room 125 of the Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul

WHO: Children with epilepsy and their parents

Maria Botker, mother of child who suffers from epilepsy

Angela Garin, mother of child who suffers from epilepsy

Jessica Hauser, mother of child who suffers from epilepsy

Angie Weager, mother of child who suffers from epilepsy

Heather Azzi, political director of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care

Minnesotans for Compassionate Care (MCC) is a coalition of organizations, medical professionals, patients, and concerned citizens working to protect people with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, and other serious illnesses from arrest and imprisonment for using medical marijuana with their physicians’ advice. For more information visit http://www.MNcares.org.

 

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