In a ceremony, Gov. Bill Richardson signed into law a bill that makes New Mexico the 12th state to protect seriously ill patients from arrest for using medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation – prompting Minnesota lawmakers to call for similar protections here.
“I applaud New Mexico’s elected leaders for listening to their constituents ? and the facts ? and protecting vulnerable New Mexicans from arrest and prison for using their doctor-recommended medicine,” said Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth), lead sponsor of the House medical marijuana bill.
New Mexico joins Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington as the 12th state with medical marijuana laws.
Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing), lead sponsor of the Senate’s medical marijuana bill, said about 10 more state legislatures are currently considering medical marijuana legislation as well.
“Clearly, protecting seriously ill patients isn’t a partisan issue, and it isn’t a regional issue,” he said. “This is a matter of common sense and compassion, and I’m proud that my colleagues from both parties understand that and are working hard to protect Minnesotans who are guilty of nothing but battling life-threatening, debilitating illnesses with proven medicine.”
H.F. 655, the bipartisan House bill, has been approved by the Health and Human Services as well as the Public Safety and Civil Law policy committees. On Saturday, the Health Care and Human Services Finance Division approved the bill and referred it to the full Finance Committee, where it is now pending.
Howard Lake resident Dave Stenberg, who suffers from cerebral palsy, said the quicker the better.
“I’ve struggled to find a course of treatment that effectively treats my symptoms,” he said. “If my doctors say medical marijuana can help, is it too much to ask that I be able to follow my their recommendations without becoming a criminal?”