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Minnesota Senate votes to legalize medical marijuana

The use of medical marijuana is the first legalization step in Minnesota history.
The use of medical marijuana is the first legalization step in Minnesota history.
Photo by Meg Roussos/Getty Images

Late Tuesday afternoon on May 7, 2014, the Minnesota state Senate voted to legalize the use of medicinal marijuana in certain forms. This new law passed with support from both political parties. Additionally, law enforcement officials have said that they are supportive of this new development in drug regulation as long as certain protocols are followed.

Fox of St Paul reports that the new measure was successful across political lines, with bi-partisan support as the measure was passed with a vote of 48-18. This new law is not as open as medicinal marijuana laws that have been implemented in other states. There are a number of restrictions as to how the drug may be consumed by individuals.

Under the new Senate bill, medicinal marijuana may be used in various forms such as pills, oils, and vapor. However, users would still not be permitted to smoke the drug under this new law. This law from the Senate also differs in one major way from a proposed House bill, and that is with the use of raw, unrefined marijuana plant.

Currently, the Senate bill allows for medically cleared users to possess 2.5 ounces of raw marijuana. The House bill does not have a provision for user to hold any of the unprocessed plant. Some officials feel that limiting the distribution of the plant is key to the success of this new bill.

CBS of Minnesota has a quote from Dennis Flaherty, the executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association saying that they are opposed to the Senate bill. They feel that the potential for users to have unrefined marijuana would lead to more issues than if users are only permitted to have it in read to use, smokeless forms. Minnesota joins 21 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing the usage of medicinal marijuana.