Minnesota senators hit the ol' nail on the head Tuesday when they advanced a bill that would make doctor-prescribed medical marijuana legal for people suffering from things like cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other conditions.
It's about as perfect of a bill as we're going to see, really, considering the act of smoking pot would be still considered against the law. The bill, approved on a bipartisan 48-14 vote Tuesday, would only permit patients to ingest the drug in pill or oil form or through vaporization, and patients could possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at any one time. Also, 55 dispensing centers would be established around the state; growing, harvesting and dispensing marijuana would begin next July.
It's a big step in legalizing the drug, and the right one, as it has been widely established in the medical field that components that make up the drug are beneficial in terms of relieving one's suffering.
If you're still against legalizing medical marijuana, ask yourself: If your kid, or your mom or dad, or another family member suffered from multiple seizures every day and you knew marijuana would stop, or at least make them less frequent, would you still hang out in the anti-pot crowd?
Now the only hurdle is in the House, which has proposed making medical marijuana available through a research study. Research study? Haven't we studied this enough? House members will likely take up the measure Friday.
Law enforcement is still generally against this, worried about the effect of patients having that much marijuana in their homes. But they have to remember, these are sick people looking for relief, not potheads looking for a high. Plus, no one would be smoking the stuff (which some argue is counterproductive since some conditions apparently can't be treated by marijuana in pill or oil form). Still, we say, something is better than nothing.
This bill shouldn't be about politics and maneuvering for an impending election, it should be about compassion and helping people who really need it - both adults and small children.
Do the right thing, House members, and join your Senate counterparts in passing medical marijuana legislation. Get this bill to Gov. Dayton's desk.