Monday, May 4, 2009

Medical Marijuana passed by Minnesota Senate

April 29th the Minnesota State Senate passed Senate bill SF0097 with a 36-28 vote to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Many believe that marijuana is a “gateway” drug. The use of medical marijuana is meant to assist those suffering from the pains of cancer and HIV/AIDS; not for recreational use. How is the use of medical marijuana different then one in a hospital bed pushing the morphine button?

In the article, Minnesota Senate approves medical marijuana by Mark Brunswick, former county sheriff Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen is reported to have said, “I’m here to tell you there is a potential opportunity for abuse here, and kids are watching to see what we in the Legislature are going to do.” Sen. Ingebrigtsen is short-sighted and raises a sky is falling approach. With anything there is a chance for abuse. Every person entering into the policy academy brings along with them an opportunity of abuse. Are we not more intelligent or respectful of each other to go beyond the argument of potentially abuse?

My own Senator, Julianne Ortman, was quoted in the article of her concern of theft and violence. I attempted to contact Sen. Ortman last week but have not heard anything back on her concerns. Adding medical marijuana to legal activities in Minnesota is not going to increase theft or violence, this is just another sky is falling approach.

The bill has moved onto the House. I did contact Rep. Kohls to get his position. Rep. Kohls echoed the concern of protection. Rep. Kohls is opposed to the current form of the bill because of the way it prescribed and dispensed and if one has a doctor note it does not prevent them to buy it off the street. “If we could get that done, my concerns would be resolved,” stated Rep. Kohls.

I applaud the Senate in passing a medical marijuana bill and it is time for Minnesotans to display accountability when dealing with this issue. I agree with Rep. Kohls that tighter control on dispensing of medical marijuana to ensure those suffering from cancer and HIV/AIDS are obtaining their marijuana from legal avenues. Hopefully the House can correct this piece to the legislation passed by the Senate.