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Continued: Medical marijuana on verge of Minn. law; it will be strictest in U.S.

  • Article by: PATRICK CONDON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 16, 2014 - 5:12 AM

The terms of treatment are similar to those in the House version. Patients would be enrolled in a patient registry supervised by the state Department of Health. Their health care provider would have to provide ongoing reports to the state on the patient’s health status and condition for what is technically being called “observational research.”

“My goal is to keep it safe and then see what we can learn,” state Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said. “That’s what our patient registry will do. Are we finding some things where it is causing some problems? Are we finding areas where it’s actually seeming to bring some benefits?”

‘Schedule 1’ drug status

Little medical research on the efficacy of marijuana as a treatment for illness exists because the federal government categorizes it as a “Schedule 1” drug, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Registered patients will pay a $200 annual fee to help cover program costs, or $50 for those on Social Security disability or enrolled in medical assistance or MinnesotaCare. Participants found guilty of transferring medical marijuana to anyone who is not a registered patient could be fined up to $3,000.

The budget office estimates the program would cost the state about $5 million to operate for its first three years.

In a statement to the press, Dayton praised the efforts of the group of parents of ill children who want to treat their kids’ seizures with marijuana-based compounds. Earlier in the legislative session, Dayton angered many of those same parents with his firm insistence that law enforcement groups sign off on any medical marijuana law.

The Senate and House could vote on the compromise as early as Friday. Passage is all but certain, with the earlier proposals winning wide bipartisan support in both chambers.

Dayton said Thursday his administration “will do everything possible to implement it as swiftly and successfully as is possible.”

 

Patrick Condon • 651-925-5049

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