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Poll: Majority of Minnesotans in favor of medical marijuana

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While lawmakers quibble over medical marijuana, a new poll finds most people in Minnesota favor its legalization.

A KSTP/Survey USA poll shows 68 percent of Minnesotans think marijuana should be legal when used for medical purposes. 24 percent say it should be not. The sampling error is 4 percentage points. Those numbers basically flipped when it came to recreational use however: 29 percent said it should be legal, 68 percent said it should not.

The findings were released after a Thursday morning Senate committee meeting regarding Sen. Scott Dibble's medical marijuana bill. That meeting only came after Gov. Mark Dayton, who has been wary of throwing his support behind medical marijuana without backing from law enforcement, called out lawmakers, the Politics in Minnesota reported.

"Let's see 'em vote," Dayton said, according to the site. "They've hidden behind their desks the whole session."

The Democrat Dibble's bill, Forum explained, would let Minnesotans with qualified medical conditions have up to 2 1/2 ounces of cannabis, purchased through a dispensary licensed by the state. Patients and parents of children with epilepsy testified at the hearing. Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, tabled the bill, ending a chance at a vote before the Easter/Passover recess.

According to the Star Tribune the committee's chair, Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, said she would take up the proposal when legislators reconvene on April 22.

Rep. Carly Malin, DFL-Hibbing, chief co-sponsoer of a House bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Minnesota, said she believes they has the votes in both the House and Senate to pass medical marijuana legislation this session.

Dayton's stance has softened in recent weeks. After coming out against the legalization of medical marijuana (citing law enforcement’s opposition to the move), he proposed a $2 million study to look at whether marijuana extracts in pill or liquid form would be effective in treating children with certain forms of epilepsy. That could then pave the way for allowing some forms of medical marijuana.

But advocates said the proposal didn’t go far enough, and one pro-legalization advocate says there’s no legal way the study is workable.

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