The battle to bring marijuana to Minnesota is heating up, but will likely face staunch opposition from Governor Mark Dayton and law enforcement groups in the state. In 2009, Minnesota lawmakers approved a medical marijuana bill which was subsequently vetoed by then-Governor Tim Pawlenty. Since then, marijuana support groups such as Minnesotans for Compassionate Care (MCC) and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers have been working diligently to pass a law in 2014 that would allow patients with chronic ailments and debilitating conditions to be prescribed medical marijuana from a physician.
After voters in Washington and Colorado passed ballot measures last year that legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use, the Independence Party of Minnesota decided to add a new cause to their platform. It calls for the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana in Minnesota. Despite both groups pushing for the measure to be passed in 2013, it is likely that the major debate will have to wait until next year.
The proposed bill, formally known as HF 1818/SF 1641, would decide the legal amount of marijuana someone can possess, the types of health conditions that would allow someone to be prescribed marijuana as well as the regulations physicians must follow when prescribing marijuana. Patients who are prescribed marijuana would have to get a special identification card which would carry a fee ranging from $25 to $100 which would allow them to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana at a time. Marijuana dispensaries in Minnesota would have to pay a $15,000 registration fee which would have to follow limits on the number of dispensaries that could operate in a given county depending on population.