Updated: 04/29/2014 10:55 PM
Created: 04/29/2014 11:26 AM WDIO.com
By: MIKE CRONIN, Associated Press
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota state Senate panel approved legislation on Tuesday that would legalize medical marijuana.
The proposal is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The House version of the measure remains stalled and its prospects are uncertain.
Sen. Scott Dibble, a Minneapolis Democrat sponsoring the bill, testified on Tuesday before the State and Local Government Committee that state Health Commissioner Dr. Edward Ehlinger would have broad authority in creating Minnesota's medical-marijuana program.
Ehlinger's powers would include establishing the list of debilitating conditions that would qualify for pot treatment and conducting background checks on those working at and associated with facilities that grow and dispense the marijuana.
Assistant Health Commissioner Aggie Leitheiser repeated during testimony Ehlinger's concern that not enough research data exists to show the effectiveness of marijuana as a medicine.
But data showing that marijuana works as medicine does exist, testified Chris Stubbs, a scientist from Colorado, who was part of the team that developed the Charlotte's Web strain of medical marijuana already used to treat epileptic patients.
"We have the ability to discern 60 active compounds in marijuana and because of that we can steer products toward epilepsy," Stubbs said. "Medical cannabis is a real efficacious treatment."
Leitheiser also raised other concerns about the program's implementation, including that the timelines outlined in the bill seemed "ambitious." The legislation targets July 1, 2015, as the date medical marijuana patients would receive identification cards that would enable them to legally buy pot.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Police Arrest Five Individuals for Involvement in Superior Homicide
The Superior Police Department has released the name of a homicide victim in Superior Tuesday evening. They say 20-year-old Garth H. Velin of Superior was killed. Police arrested five individuals for their involvement in the homicide.
Local Specialist Asks Northlanders to 'Stay Calm' Regarding Recent Ebola Case in U.S.
Health officials are on high alert after the first case of Ebola in the United States. The patient, a man who traveled to the U.S. from Liberia, is in isolation at a Dallas hospital on Wednesday.
Police: Missing Teen Found, No Abduction Took Place
The Duluth Police Department says that the teenager allegedly pulled into a minivan on Wednesday afternoon against her will near Denfeld High School has been located.
Essar Steel Minnesota Closes Financing to Complete Mine, Pellet Plant
Essar Steel Minnesota announced they have completed their financing for their project in Nashwauk, and that construction will be ramping up.
McFadden and Franken Clash on Mining, Health Care
Candidates for U.S. Senate debated in Duluth on Wednesday. Things started off fairly friendly between Democratic Senator Al Franken and his Republican challenger, Mike McFadden.