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Lawmakers agree on medical marijuana bill; Dayton says he'll sign

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The Minnesota House and Senate have reached an agreement on a bill to legalize medical marijuana, and Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will sign it.

The bill would set up eight distribution sites and allow qualified patients to access the drug in oil, pill and vapor form, not using the whole leaf, according to a fact sheet on the bill.

The bill, which is based off the House's more-strict medical marijuana bill, has Dayton's support.

“This bill is citizen government at its best,” Dayton said in a statement. “It has been led by parents, who deeply love their children, are anguished by their pain, and insist their government try to help them. As a father and grandfather, I both understand and admire their devotion.”

Dayton has said he would only sign a bill that was supported by law enforcement officials.

The bill must be passed by the House and Senate before Dayton signs it. In a news conference, lawmakers said they expect to meet Thursday afternoon to discuss the new bill and it should be taken up on the floor of the House and Senate on Friday, the Pioneer Press says.

Prior to this agreement, the House and Senate passed significantly different bills governing how many people can have access to the drug, how it would be distributed and in what forms it would be available. This week, lawmakers held private negotiations to come to a compromise.

In the new bill, two manufacturers would be able to grow the drug, which would be distributed at eight distribution centers in the state.

Lawmakers say that by July 1, 2015, medical marijuana should be available to registered patients.

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