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Gov. Dayton pledges to sign Minnesota medical marijuana law

Minnesota lawmakers recently announced a deal that will allow state residents to obtain a prescription for marijuana. Medical marijuana is currently legal in a total of 21 states and in the District of Columbia. In Minnesota, the fight to legalize medical marijuana has been a long one which ignited great debate amongst citizens as well as individuals in law enforcement, politics and health care.

Under the terms of the deal, which Gov. Mark Dayton has pledged to sign into law, a qualifying individual will be able to obtain a prescription from their doctor to legally buy and use the drug. The state will allow two separate growers to plant, cultivate and harvest marijuana which can be legally purchased and dispensed at eight distribution centers throughout the state. The deal, however, is the first of its kind as it places restrictions on how the drug can be dispensed.

Minnesota's medical marijuana law is similar to those that passed in 21 states and the U.S. capital. It differs, however, in that medical marijuana card holders in Minnesota will not be able to purchase the drug for use in its natural leaf form. Rather, the deal currently awaiting approval, only allows for the legal use of marijuana in "oil, pill and vapor form." This means prescription holders will not be able to smoke the drug.

As Minnesota joins other states in legalizing medical marijuana, it's important to note that recreational use of the drug is still illegal. In fact, depending on the amount involved, individuals arrested for possessing or distributing marijuana in the state face misdemeanor or felony drug charges. If convicted for possessing or distributing marijuana, an individual may be sentenced to pay hefty fines as well as serve time in jail, prison or on probation.

Source: KSTP-TV, "Minn. Lawmakers Agree on Medical Marijuana Bill Backed by Dayton," May 16, 2014

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