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Medical Marijuana Bill to Receive Hearing and Vote on Thursday in Minnesota Senate Committee

Doctor, patients, and advocates will testify at Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing hearing on SF 1641, which would allow people with specific debilitating medical conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing will hold a public hearing and vote Thursday on a bill that would provide legal access to medical marijuana for people with specific debilitating medical conditions. The hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. CT in Room 15 of the State Capitol.

Dr. Burak Gezen, a Chicago physician who specializes in geriatric and palliative medicine, will testify in support of the measure, along with several patients and their family members. Among them will be Angela Garin of St. Paul, whose son suffers from a rare seizure disorder, and Patrick McClellan, a Bloomington man with muscular dystrophy. Both are featured in television ads that began airing across Minnesota last week in support of the bill.

"Most Minnesota voters believe people suffering from debilitating conditions should have legal access to medical marijuana," said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. "We hope that will be reflected in the votes of the committee members."

SF 1641, sponsored by Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, glaucoma, and severe, debilitating pain to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The Minnesota Department of Health would issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients and establish a tightly regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and quality control labs.

A companion bill in the Minnesota House of Representatives, HF 1818, received approval in March from the Health and Human Services Policy Committee. Both bills have the maximum number of sponsors allowed — five in the Senate, including two committee chairs, and 35 in the House, including 12 committee chairs. Six additional House members have signed copies of the bill in order to demonstrate their support.

"There is no rational reason to continue prohibiting seriously ill people from using medical marijuana if their doctors believe it will help them," Azzi said. "This legislation is long overdue."

WHAT: Minnesota Senate committee hearing and vote on a bill that would provide legal access to medical marijuana for people with specific debilitating medical conditions

WHEN: Thursday, April 10, 8:30 a.m. CT

WHERE: Room 15 of the Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul

WHO: Minnesota Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing

Heather Azzi, Minnesotans for Compassionate Care political director

Dr. Burak Gezen, Chicago physician who specializes in geriatric and palliative medicine

Patrick McClellan, muscular dystrophy patient

Angela Garin, mother of child with severe seizure disorder

Maria Botker, 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

Joni Whiting, mother of late cancer patient who benefited from medical marijuana

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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