Is the medical marijuana compromise a step forward?

Marijuana plants grow at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center, a Los Angeles not-for-profit medical marijuana dispensary in operation since 2006. Californians voted to legalize medical cannabis use in 1996, clashing with federal drug laws. (David McNew/Getty Images)

“Police and prosecutors say they’re open to a compromise on medical marijuana but remain firmly opposed to efforts to allow patients to smoke it,” writes MPR News reporter Tom Scheck.

Law enforcement groups told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday that they might not oppose marijuana extracts like oils or pills for treatment, but they don’t want to see the creation of 55 marijuana dispensaries, as allowed in the bill.

Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, told the committee his group supports more testing of nonsmoking forms of the drug.

“We think that an FDA-approved clinical trial where patients could actually receive it in the forms you’re talking about, be it pill be it oil, that that’s the route that we should go.”

Gov. Mark Dayton proposed allowing the Mayo Clinic to conduct a study on whether children with epilepsy would benefit from medical marijuana. The measure was rejected by supporters because it wasn’t broad enough.

But state Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, disagreed that law enforcement groups were willing to compromise.

“Sure, they’ve agreed to talk but they’ve asked me to simply leave my legislation at home because there’s nothing in the bill that they would support, effectively telling me ‘take our idea or nothing,'” he said.

Today’s Question: Is the medical marijuana compromise a step forward?

  • Joe

    A step forward for what? Enacting legislation that affects roughly four people?
    Screw the poor and minorities that are oppressed by biased enforcement of cannabis possession, they deserve it anyway by not being “worthy.” But with the recent news about the achievement gap, who would expect anything more. Or less…

  • Sue de Nim

    It depends on what you mean by “step.” Sure, it would allow some sick folks to get a chemical compound that might help them, but it would do nothing about the harm to society that comes from the prohibition of a relatively harmless substance. The current law principally benefits organized crime gangs, law enforcement and corrections personnel (who like the job security), big pharma companies (which fear competition from a cheap alternative to their expensive patented drugs), and the liquor industry. It’s time to follow the example of Colorado and Washington.

  • PaulJ

    Maybe, a reggae dance, step forward. Wheel it up!

  • Martha Cohen

    I think it’s a step in the right direction. It has never made much sense to me that sick people who can be helped by cannabis are not allowed to use it without breaking the law. Senseless laws decrease respect for the law. Considering the widespread recreational use of marijuana, the banning of it is as destructive as prohibition of alcohol was. The laws against it only enrich the gangs and drug lords, and don’t keep people from abusing it.

  • KTN

    What these idiots (the police federation) seem to miss, and since it is subtle, its not surprising, but the tide is turning – and they are on the losing end. Do these “professionals” think that somehow the 22 other states allowing for medical marijuana are being duped by the smoking patients. Most of these cops went to a full weekend of training to become a peace officer, and man, with that type of rigorous training, they are certainly qualified to give medical advice on public policy.

  • Joe

    This is a step backwards. If we allow lawmakers to pass this policy, they’re going to think they’re “done” with the cannabis issue because in their minds the only people who “need” it in their narrow view will be satisfied, meanwhile the rest of the State is forced to suffer over this bad policy.
    Law enforcement should give it up on trying to look like they can compromise and return to the tired “let’s research it even though it’s legally impossible!” deflection strategy and spare us the demeaning platitudes.

  • Bud Green

    This is definitely one of the most ill-informed bills ever proposed for medical marijuana. It makes no sense to allow vaporizing but not smoking, it makes no sense to think that a doctor, any doctor, wants to spend their time watching their patients get stoned, or that patents who need it at 3am will be able to go see their doctor for their dosage, it makes no sense to allow oils and edibles, which are more potent because they are concentrated extracts or made from extracts, yet ban buds and plant material. They don’t even seem to understand that it’s the flowers or buds of the plant and not the leafs that contain the psychoactive ingredients. Can we get someone who is informed to write a bill?

    This is a do nothing measure that helps nobody and has “compromises” so stupid and counter productive that they might as well not even pursue it. The sensitive fee-fees of a few hysterical prudes and out of touch idiots trumps the health and well being and human rights of thousands of other people. Are these legislators high on pot?

  • Bud Green

    Furthermore, why are cops making this law? A cops job is to enforce the laws, not make them. They have no idea what they are doing, let them stick to their jobs of harassing minorities and protecting the interest of capital and have the people elected to write the laws write them.

    • Gary F

      So that means that law enforcement doesn’t have a say in gun control laws also, right?

      • Joe

        Law enforcement should not have a say in what laws there should be about guns, if any. Which gun control laws are you talking about?

        • Gary F

          None in particular, just seeing what Mr Green and others on the forum thought of Mr Green’s argument.

          • Joe

            Stop and frisk comes to mind, but I think in general gun rights is a minority rights issue, so it could be applied to any gun control laws.

      • JQP

        They are a source of technical information and opinion like any citizen in the legislative process… but should never be accorded higher status or the end statement on whether a law is enactable.

    • Bud Green

      I was just trolling with this comment but I don’t think the bill should be so tailored for the police, it’s full of nonsense and lacks any expertise or sense. It should be tailored to reality.

  • Joe

    From the latest Minnesota House “compromise”: “The bill would legalize medical marijuana in oil and pill form. People could vaporize the leaf form of the drug but only if a licensed health care provider is present. ”
    This law suggests that it is only socially, legally, and medically acceptable to have a licensed “trip sitter” if the substance is ever made aromatic, which makes no pharmacological sense. This law further perpetuates the myths about substances which myths that surround them kill people every single day (and this doesn’t even apply to cannabis!). Let’s keep the lie going for as long as possible though, because ______

    • Joe

      That came off wrong, the only myth that surrounds cannabis that kills people every single day is that there is a reason for its continued prohibition, I meant that the drug itself is neither deadly nor toxic.

  • JQP

    No.
    Its more like an exceeding slight lean forward you can make to initiate a step although you may also simple return to simply standing without taking the step.

    I will say again that police dramatic concerns reports about the violence of drugs has to do with their monoscopic vision of the drug related incidents that they come across. Their “dataset” is always criminals who are already pre-disposed

  • Bill

    No,
    Prosecutors and police should NOT be involved in making the laws. The Governor should know that. There is a conflict of interest obviously and they want to be able to arrest/fine and imprison people for this petty offense. Marijuana should be fully legalized like Colorado and Washington. Control over people is all the police and prosecutors want.

  • John

    No. It’s really too bad that the governor is beholden to this group. These are republicans like Rich Stanek, the Hennepin County Sheriff, and James Backstrom, the Dakota County Attorney. Stanek wrote an op ed piece in the Star Trib that said marijuana is a gateway drug, which we all know is as much bull as mother’s milk is a gateway drug. The polls show overwhelming support for medical marijuana without any of these strings attached, and a small majority now support outright legalization in Minnesota. That’s what should happen.

    “Law enforcement” isn’t a bunch of holy people. They’re the ones with all the driver’s license lookups, the Metro Gang Strike Force (that shredded documents like Oliver North and wouldn’t testify against each other), and now the problem of forfeitures (that fatten their department budgets) even when the person isn’t charged. I understand that quite a few members of “law enforcement” don’t share what the leadership is doing on legalizing pot and medical marijuana.