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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Dayton says his pot-study plan lacks broad support

  • Gov. Mark Dayton lowered expectations Tuesday for a study on one type of medicinal marijuana, saying prospects stand between "slim and none" because advocates for broader legalization don't appear interested.
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  • Gov. Mark Dayton lowered expectations Tuesday for a study on one type of medicinal marijuana, saying prospects stand between "slim and none" because advocates for broader legalization don't appear interested.
    Dayton told WCCO-AM his proposal that surfaced late last week to spend more than $2 million to research a non-combustible form of marijuana lacks support. The study would be conducted by Mayo Clinic doctors and involve pill or liquid marijuana extracts as a therapy for epileptic children.
    Dayton's staff offered the marijuana study as a compromise to those pushing for a broader-scale law change.
    "So I'm mystified that people who wanted more than that in legislation would be opposed to something that would help hundreds of kids that are suffering from epilepsy," Dayton said, while adding, "But we'll work on it for the next session. Again, it's just disappointing that people wouldn't seize every opportunity to help other people."
    The Democratic governor has ruled out supporting legalization of marijuana that involves smoking the drug. He has aligned himself with law enforcement concerns on the issue about leaf-formed marijuana being too readily accessible and misused if legalized even for limited purposes.
    Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, said her group merely expressed concerns about the efficacy and logistics of the proposed research because it could require cooperation from a reluctant federal government. She said advocates are still searching for an accord and she hopes the governor's comments don't signal a pullback on his end.
    "We know that time is short and we need to work," Azzi said. "That's what we're doing, and intend to be doing."
    Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, told The Associated Press she offered to include a study in her wider-reaching medical marijuana legislation. But she declined to sponsor it as the only measure. She explained that Dayton's proposed research "will take years to implement and will help very few, if any."

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