Updated: 02/24/2014 11:01 PM
Created: 02/24/2014 8:31 PM WDIO.com
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - Supporters of medical marijuana say the state's upcoming 2014 legislative session could represent Minnesota's best chance in years to see pot legalized for medical use.
Gov. Mark Dayton has urged supporters to negotiate with opponents in law enforcement to reach a compromise, and that effort could finally be gaining momentum, the St. Cloud Times reported.
State Rep. Carly Melin, a Hibbing Democrat who's the lead House sponsor of medical marijuana legislation said she tried negotiating with law enforcement groups but they refused to listen.
But some of those groups have begun softening their stances and are at least willing to consider permitting marijuana extracts, she said.
The state association of police chiefs has open to discussing allowing extracts in pill, liquid or inhaler form, she said.
The Minnesota County Attorneys Association is also open to the idea.
Executive Director John Kingrey said his group still opposes any bill making it legal to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes, but extracts might be a viable compromise.
"If you can come up with a truly medicinal product, one that can be reduced to medication or an inhalant, I think we're certainly open to that," Kingrey told the newspaper.
Melin said she's glad to see both sides moving toward common ground.
But she said other states that have legalized medical marijuana haven't followed this specific course so it's hard to say whether it's actually feasible.
She also said some patients who need immediate relief or who can't swallow medication might need marijuana that can be smoked. Minnesota lawmakers voted once before to legalize medical marijuana in 2009.
But then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed the bill, citing law enforcement concerns.
Dayton expressed similar worries. He said he'd be willing to sign a bill that the law enforcement community can support.
Law enforcement groups have said if marijuana is legalized for medical purposes it would still find its way into schools and neighborhoods.
They also say marijuana's medical value remains unproven, and they worry that legalizing it under a medical exemption will lead to full legalization. Twenty other states and Washington, D.C., allow medical marijuana in some form.
Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com (Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
US to Assist in Disappeared Malaysia Airlines Jetliner Investigation
Federal safety officials say a team of experts is en route to Asia to be ready to assist in the investigation of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner that disappeared with 239 people on board. The team includes accident investigators from National Transportation Safety Board, as well as technical experts from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing.
Coast Guard Begins Ice Breaking on Lake Superior
U.S. Coast Guard officials say ice breaking on the Duluth-Superior harbor this year will be difficult. The director of Vessel Traffic Services tells Wisconsin Public Radio that it's the most ice he's seen on the lake in 25 years.
State Patrol: 4 Killed in Southern Minn. Crash ID'd
The Minnesota State Patrol has released the identities of four people killed in a two-vehicle crash on icy roads Friday near Sleepy Eye. The broadside crash happened on Highway 14 in Brown County just after 8 p.m.
Robotics Competition Wraps Up at the DECC
The FIRST Robotics competition wrapped up on Saturday at the DECC. Four Northland teams made it to the semifinals, and one made it to the quarterfinals. More than 100 teams from around the Midwest showcased their carefully built robots over the weekend.
Brighton Beach Draws Ice Fishing Crowd on a Sunny Saturday
Brighton Beach drew quite the crowd on Saturday. The sunny weather brought people out to do some fishing before the ice was gone. Jeff Swenson said he wasn't catching much, but he was out there for the warm weather.