Minnesota’s bill to protect seriously ill patients from arrest for using medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation cleared another critical milestone today as the Senate Health and Human Services Budget Division passed S.F. 345 ? the medical marijuana bill ? 6?4.
The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Sens. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing), Geoff Michel (R-Edina), Steve Dille (R-Dassel), Linda Higgins (DFL-Minneapolis), and HHS Committee Chair Linda Berglin (DFL-Minneapolis), now heads to the finance committee before going to the Senate floor for a full vote. Meanwhile, H.F. 655 ? the House version of the medical marijuana bill ? continues to make its way through the House of Representatives.
“I’m happy that we are one step closer to passing this bill that will help patients suffering from cancer, MS, and other diseases to receive the care their physicians recommend,” said Murphy, the bill’s lead sponsor.
Earlier this month, a report analyzing government data revealed that state medical marijuana laws do not increase teen use of marijuana in any of the states with laws protecting medical marijuana patients. “Marijuana Use by Young People: The Impact of State Medical Marijuana Laws,” prepared by researcher Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D. of the State University of New York and policy experts at the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., compiles and analyzes government data regarding rates of adolescent marijuana use.
The report, available for download at www.mpp.org/teens, finds that marijuana use among teens has decreased across the country. Overall, states with medical marijuana laws had slightly more favorable trends than the national rates. Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Nevada all had slightly greater decreases in teen marijuana use than the national average, and California and Washington experienced significantly greater decreases.
The overwhelming bulk of scientific evidence supports medical marijuana’s safety and efficacy in treating the pain, nausea, and appetite loss associated with serious diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. A University of California study published February in the journal Neurology found marijuana to be effective at relieving a type of neuropathic pain common among patients with HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis. There are no FDA-approved treatments for this pain caused by damage to the nerves that affects at least 9 million Americans.