While the Dayton administration is trying to pin the stalemate over legalization of medical marijuana on a secret agenda for easy pot on the part of those advocating passage of HF1818, those seeking relief for their suffering family members are decrying Dayton's continued thralldom to special interests.
Like those in the latter group, Bluestem continues to wonder when cops gained the power to write our laws, rather than enforce them.
Faking pain for pot?
In Pursue compromise on medical marijuana, an editorial written after an interview with the governor, the editorial board of the Duluth News Tribune notes this exchange with Mark Dayton:
. . . However, “There are people who just want to be able to smoke marijuana,” the governor continued in an interview with the News Tribune Opinion page. “My perception is quite a number of people in that situation are using (the push for) medical marijuana as sort of a front to make marijuana more accessible.” If legalized, marijuana could be prescribed for “chronic pain and now they’ve added post-traumatic stress syndrome. Those are real afflictions, but they’re real easy to fake. You walk into the doctor’s office and say, ‘I’m in chronic pain,’ can the doctor say no?
“But I am sympathetic to those who are suffering,” Dayton said. . . .
Other than not believing them, and thinking doctors are gullible, we suppose he does. It's amazing that Dayton singles out post-traumatic stess syndrome (it's phrased as "post-traumatic stess syndrome" in the revised bill), just days after the Washington Post reported Medical marijuana research for PTSD nears federal approval.
Bluestem finds the accusation that those veterans we know whose counsellors wish they could prescribe pot are being accused to just wanting to smoke pot. These individuals, who served their country honorably in combat, wouldn't dream of going out to smoke random weed they might buy illegally on the street, however easy the Governor might have thought--earlier this month at least--that might be.
A study, the last refuge of the special interests?
All Minnesotans are equal, but some are more equal than others. When Governor Dayton's favorite equals (a law enforcement coalition that opposes HF1818) rejected a compromise that incorporated many of the provisions for which it asked, Dayton suggested that the state fund a study, Forum Communications's Don Davis reported in Dayton offers medical marijuana compromise.
Newpapers seem sympathetic to Dayton's stalling tactic. In Dayton: Medical marijuana study lacks backing; chances 'slim and none', the Star Tribune's Pat Condon reports:
A compromise proposal by Gov. Mark Dayton that the state of Minnesota fund research by Mayo Clinic into an oil-based marijuana compound lacks support from advocates for medical use of the drug and their legislative allies and isn't likely to happen this year, the governor said Tuesday. . . .
Medical marijuana backers have struggled to build support for full-scale legalization from legislators and Dayton amid concerns from law enforcement and medical groups.
Given that HF1818 is supported by the maximum number of representatives (35), and Albertville state representative David Fitzsimmons has introduced an "overflow" copycat version supported by three Republicans and three Democrats, that seems like weak sauce from the Strib. Condon continues:
. . . Dayton, who has said he's sympathetic to their plight, offered a compromise: a bill to funnel about $2 million in state funds toward researching cannabidiol, an oil extracted from marijuana and administered in pill form. Many parents of children with severe forms of epilepsy say cannabidiol helps reduce violent seizures.
Dayton said last week such research could pave the way for relaxed state regulation of some forms of marijuana for medical use, and that law enforcement groups didn't oppose such research. But Dayton said Tuesday on WCCO-AM that medical marijuana activists notified his administration they don't support the study. The governor said the lawmakers sponsoring the medical marijuana bill don't support it either.
And why would that be? The ever-excellent Heather Azzi, of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, tells Condon:
Heather Azzi, director of the pro-medical marijuana group Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, said Dayton's proposal isn't workable because there's no legal way for researchers to have access to marijuana and that any patients who participate would be exposing themselves to legal risk.
"What you need is some legal distribution network, and what the governor proposed does not include that," Azzi said. But she said advocates would like to continue working with the administration to reach a compromise that would satisfy all sides.
That doesn't sound like a group that's looking to get easy pot for recreational use.
Remember: that marijuana is defined as a Schedule I drug (without redeeming medical value) by the DEA, is a major stumbling block for testing the weed for medicinal qualities. This definition itself is held out by law enforcement opposing the legalization of controlled and regulated medical marijuana.
It's a circular argument, and in the meantime, Dayton feels your pain, but has his doubts about that as well.
Meme: From Marijuana Makes You Violent, a parody site. Bluestem looks forward to a time when medical marijuana is legal and well-regulated, and the war on drugs (and the financial incentives for fighting it upon which law enforcement is forced to rely for funding) is replaced by substance abuse treatment and sane mechanisms for funding public safety.
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