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Continued: Marathon meeting with Dayton yields new hope for medical marijuana

“This really shouldn’t be a bureaucratic decision at all,” Nelson said. “Why are lawyers and legislators making decisions that should be between a doctor and a patient?”

Melin, a DFLer from Hibbing, has been pressing Dayton to broker an agreement after advocates failed to appease law enforcement’s objections.

She said Thursday that she is hopeful, “but I am not going to bang my head against the wall” to pass a bill Dayton won’t sign.

The governor said the medical-marijuana issue is politically vexing. Some 20 states have already legalized medical marijuana, and Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana as well.

A governor torn

Dayton said Thursday that he is torn between vigorously defending laws he took an oath to uphold while acknowledging that marijuana is already widely available.

“I uphold the laws of this state and country as they are written,” Dayton said. “But I also deal with reality.”

The governor said law enforcement has told him that marijuana can be found readily in virtually any city in Minnesota. The state has already decriminalized possession of minor amounts. If buyers are caught with a small amount, they face only a petty misdemeanor — the equivalent of a traffic ticket.

Dayton noted wryly that like it or not, the state has “a perfectly efficient distribution system.” He added that “I am not advocating anybody do what it is they do. I am pointing out the reality in our society.”

 

baird.helgeson@startribune.com 651-925-5044

patrick.condon@startribune.com

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