The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

May 16, 2014

Lawmakers pass measure allowing medical marijuana

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A bill making Minnesota the 22nd state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes has cleared its final legislative hurdle.

Lawmakers on Friday approved a compromise plan announced a day earlier. The Senate passed 46 to 16 and the House followed with an 89-40 vote. Gov. Mark Dayton says he'll sign the measure to establish a program by next year.

Minnesota's legislation explicitly bans smoking the drug. It also prohibits patient access to plant material. Instead, the drug would be available in oil, pill and vapor form.

Medical conditions including cancer, glaucoma and AIDS qualify for treatment. A physician assistant or advanced-practice registered nurse would certify a patient suffered from a qualifying illness.

The lawmakers who voted against it either feared illicit use or argued the bill was too restrictive.

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