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Editorial: Dayton’s reasoning wrong on this issue

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opinion Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

There is one argument against medical marijuana that just doesn’t fly: That is the excuse by some medical marijuana opponents and Gov. Mark Dayton that Minnesotans can easily get illegal pot to ease their pain and deal with their medical conditions.

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Dayton said Friday that law enforcement has informed him that marijuana was readily available in virtually any city in the state. Thus, citizens caught with small amounts of marijuana are protected by the decriminalization of possession of minor amounts and only face small fines, like a traffic ticket.

These individuals and/or their families do not want to break the law in the process of seeking relief from their pain and suffering. That is why they are calling on the governor and the Legislature to help provide them with legal avenues for their medical needs.

Purchasing marijuana on the blackmarket can be a dangerous proposition - from getting bad product to dealing with illegal sellers - which can create a series of problems.

How does a person in pain to explain a couple marijuana possession tickets on their record to future employees, for example. Maybe, just say the governor said marijuana is available in every Minnesota city. Guess that makes it OK.

There is a little hypocrisy in utilizing this availability argument. Frankly, it is just passing the buck as well.

As Dayton found out Thursday there are Minnesotans in pain who find medical marijuana eases their pain. While recovering from hip surgery himself in a body cast at the governor’s mansion, he met with representatives advocating for legalizing medical marijuana in some form and listened.

Law enforcement officials rightly have concerns about medical marijuana finding its way to children and recreational marijuana users. This is a valid concern, which needs to be addressed.

We are not advocating legalizing marijuana for recreational use, as Colorado or Washington. We would like to see a compromise that addresses medical needs without violating the law.

We commend Dayton Thursday for reconsidering and asking his top commissioners and staffers to review the issue, to talk with medical marijuana advocates and opponents, and to seek out a possible compromise to help these Minnesotans in pain.

Just stating the fact of wide availability of marijuana throughout Minnesota is a Minnesota reality does not solve the issue. It also is illegal under current law. It certainly does not help those Minnesotans and/or their families dealing with the pain and suffering from various diseases or seizures.

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