Bill with maximum number of House and Senate sponsors would allow Minnesotans with serious illnesses to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it
By Steve Elliott
A bipartisan group of Minnesota state lawmakers joined patients and advocates for a news conference at the state capitol on Thursday to announce the introduction of a bill that would allow people with serious illnesses to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) is introducing the bill in the House of Representatives (HF 1818), and Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) is introducing the companion bill in the Senate (SF 1641). Both bills have the maximum number of sponsors allowed -– 35 in the House, including 12 committee chairs, and five in the Senate, including two committee chairs.
"Medical marijuana made life bearable for my daughter in her final few months," said Joni Whiting of Jordan, who attended the news conference. Her daughter, Stephanie, used medical marijuana to relieve the extreme pain and nausea associated with cancer and chemotherapy.
"She would have tried using medical marijuana immediately after her doctor recommended it, but we feared the legal consequences and she suffered for months before we decided it was worth the risk," Whiting said. "This legislation will prevent patients and families from being put in such a terrible situation."