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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • EDITORIAL: On medical marijuana, Dayton disappoints

  • He'll go no further than a study, because law enforcement not surprisingly is against legalization.
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  •     An editorial published in this space on Friday, April 4, from the Winona Daily News, took the position that when it comes to legalizing medical marijuana, there’s no rush for the State of Minnesota to do anything.
        It’s a transformational time for marijuana in America as a whole right now, the opinion stated, whether it’s full legalization or simply legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. There are strong studies on the subject being conducted or that will be conducted, too, the Winona Daily News opinion writers continued, so it might be best for Minnesota to sit back and see what transpires before rushing into anything.
        But doesn’t that go against much of what Minnesota is all about, and has been about for about as long as anyone can remember? Sure, Minnesota might not be the poster child for progressivism that it was in its heyday, but since when do Minnesotans tread with ultra-trepidation because we’re afraid that if we take bold leaps others might think we’ve overstepped our bounds?
        Gov. Mark Dayton essentially took an ultra-cautious, wait-and-see stance on marijuana legalization recently. He checked in with the law enforcement industry, which is against legal medical marijuana, and that all by itself seems to be enough to have our governor pushing this issue to the back-burner.  
               
        But, as a letter to the editor on this page from last Friday opined, continuing to see marijuana as nothing but evil amounts to big business for law enforcement and this nation’s incarceration industry. If you start to chip away at the stubborn notion that marijuana is terrible – you know, with an impact on society that’s somehow worse than omnipresent alcohol – eventually law enforcement and the booming prison industry are going to take a hit in the wallet, and no one wants that, right?
        Smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana makes people in agonizing pain experience less pain. It restores the appetite of people battling cancer or other dreadful diseases who can’t or won’t eat. It reduces the number of seizures suffered by people who suffer constant seizures. Basically, it helps sick people who could sure use a turn for the better in their lives.
        Gov. Dayton wants the state to pay more than $2 million to fund a  Mayo Clinic study of a compound in marijuana that doesn’t produce a high, but might help reduce seizures in young people. He also wants to pay $400,000 for a report examining “the likely health impacts of expanded use of cannabis for medical purposes in Minnesota,” a draft of the bill reads.
    Page 2 of 2 -     The Winona Daily News editorial cited the compelling anecdotes that are driving much of this debate, i.e. the stories of sick people whose lives are made a little or a lot better because of marijuana. Such individual stories shouldn’t have a major influence on major policy issues, the editorial stated.
        That may be so, but that horse has left the corral. In today’s politics, if you want to get something accomplished or want the melodramatic media to look your way, you tug at the heartstrings and try to guilt your opponents into seeing things your way because that’s the only way anyone is going to lend you a moment of their precious time. So you put really sick people in front of the cameras to share how the medical use of marijuana has made their lives a little more bearable.
        Minnesota is and has been a leader, not a follower. Why sit back and wait on this one?

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