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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
MNsure Open Enrollment Deadline Nears, Officials Urge Signups
The clock is winding down on MNsure open enrollment, with just three weeks left until a Feb. 15 deadline to sign up for health insurance through the exchange, so community leaders are using the time left to help people get enrolled...
Health Department Continues Survey on Medical Marijuana
Potential users of medical marijuana have about one week to participate in a survey that could help the state get a picture of the likely demand for the drug.
Students Help Hungry Youth Through 'We-CAN-Du' Fundraiser
Local DECA students are lending a hand to hungry youth as part of a "We-CAN-Du" fundraiser with a competitive spirit.
Drivers: Return to Your Dealers for a 2nd Air Bag Recall Fix
Drivers, bring your vehicles back to the shop for more work on faulty air bags. The government says more than 2 million Toyota, Chrysler and Honda vehicles need a second fix for air bags that may inadvertently inflate while the car is running.
Two Cats Dead After Endion Triplex Fire
Two cats died in a fire that damaged a triplex on Friday night in the Endion neighborhood of Duluth. Officials said crews responded to a basement fire at 11:01 p.m. To the 2000 block of East 2nd Street...