States turn to Minnesota as model for new marijuana bills


Minnesota state capitol.

Lawmakers in other states are now turning to Minnesota’s new cannabis law as a model for their own legislation, despite the law’s restrictions on eligibility and usage.
Over the past few weeks, legislators in both Pennsylvania and Georgia have turned to the Minnesota law, which passed in May, as a starting point for bills in their own states. But while the Minnesota law makes medical marijuana legal, it’s limiting, offering only certain kinds of cannabis for certain patients.

Minnesota’s law makes it legal for people with specific conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, and glaucoma, to use marijuana for medical purposes. That amounts to 5,000 people in the state. However, it isn’t legal for those patients to use “loose-leaf” methods such as smoking. Instead, the cannabis will be restricted to other ways of delivery, like pills, liquids, edibles, or vapor.
In late June, a Pennsylvania Senate committee passed the “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act,” a bill nearly as conservative as Minnesota’s. Like Minnesota’s bill, the legislation would limit the cannabis to oils, edibles, ointments, and vaporization, and would also limit the sale of marijuana to specific, licensed state dispensaries. As for who’d be eligible, the bill wouldn’t be as limiting as Minnesota’s, as it expands medical marijuana to patients who have diseases like post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.
Read the rest of the story over at the Minneapolis City Pages.