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

SF 1641 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 finish its public hearing and hold a vote Friday on a bill that would provide legal access to medical marijuana for people with specific debilitating medical conditions. The hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m. CT in Room 123 of the State Capitol.

During the first half of the hearing, Dr. Jacob Mirman, whose practice is in St. Louis Park, and several patients and their family members testified. Among them were Angie Weaver of Hibbing, whose daughter suffers from a rare seizure disorder, and Patrick McClellan, a Bloomington man with muscular dystrophy, who was featured in television ads that began airing across Minnesota earlier this month in support of the bill.

“Medical marijuana is effective in the treatment of a variety of debilitating conditions,” said Dr. Mirman. “A survey published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine found that three out of four doctors believe medical marijuana should be a legal treatment option. It is irrational to continue depriving seriously ill Minnesotans from accessing it and using it under the supervision of their physicians.”

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. 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.

“If medical marijuana will safely and effectively relieve a cancer patient’s nausea or alleviate a multiple sclerosis patient's discomfort,” continued Dr. Mirman, “why would anyone want to prevent them from having access to it? State lawmakers would be wise to adopt a comprehensive medical marijuana law this session and provide Minnesota’s most seriously ill citizens the relief they deserve.”

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: Friday, April 25, 8 a.m. CT

WHERE: Room 123 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

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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