Ryan Faircloth / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Patti McArdell needs medical marijuana to ease her aches and depression, but she has to pay $400 out of what little money she has each month to get it. Paul Johnson would have to spend at least three times that to treat his intractable pain, so he buys his marijuana illegally at half the price.
ST. PAUL - Veterans who want to enroll in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program could skip a pricey first step under a new House bill. Under current law, those who want to enter the program must first find a doctor who will certify their qualifying condition. This can cost a few hundred dollars. The federal VA health system does not let its doctors certify veterans for medical cannabis. Veterans must seek out another doctor and pay out of pocket.
In the first stop of her presidential campaign, Minnesota’s U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar went where Hillary Clinton came up short: Wisconsin. More than 300 people packed into a coffee bar and bicycle repair shop in Eau Claire to hear from the self-proclaimed “senator next door.” The importance of Wisconsin was not lost on Klobuchar, who told the crowd she will campaign in places that Democrats “didn’t focus on enough in the last few years.” Clinton chose to not visit Wisconsin during the fall 2016 general election and ended up losing it by less than one point.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota ranks fifth in the nation in the percentage of residents who are on probation. A bipartisan group of state lawmakers wants to change that. They are pitching reforms that would cap probation sentences at five years and reduce the number of offenders who are locked away for probation violations.
ST. PAUL -- Two people were convicted last week for defrauding Minnesota’s Medicaid program of $7.7 million. Lillian Richardson and Bridgett Burrell were found guilty of all charges that the Minnesota attorney general’s office brought against them — one count each of racketeering and eight counts each of aiding and abetting theft by swindle. The convictions were part of the largest case of Medicaid fraud in state court history.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s medical marijuana program could undergo sweeping changes under a new House bill that aims to increase patient access and ease restrictions on producers. The state’s two medical marijuana producers could open twice as many dispensaries under the proposal from state Rep. Heather Edelson, DFL-Edina. Parents of adolescent patients would also be allowed to administer the medicine on school grounds.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota lawmakers heard a plea for more guards during the first-ever hearing inside a state prison on Wednesday, Feb. 6. Halting a spike in assaults on corrections officers was the focus of the meeting, which was held inside the Stillwater prison. The House corrections subcommittee heard from the union that represents guards, the director of educational programming and the new head of the Department of Corrections. All said that more guards are needed.
ST. PAUL -- As proposals to legalize recreational marijuana take shape in the House, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said Monday, Jan. 28, that the bills do not have a chance to pass in his chamber. The Republican from Nisswa made the statement shortly after a news conference where two Democratic lawmakers and a Republican senator unveiled a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. While Democrats control the state House, Republican hold a two-seat majority in the Senate.
STILLWATER, Minn. — For the first time ever, Minnesota lawmakers will hold a hearing inside a state prison. The House public safety subcommittee on corrections will meet inside the Stillwater prison next Wednesday, Jan. 30, to discuss the safety of guards and inmates. Rep. John “Jack” Considine, DFL-Mankato, said that “coming home safely” will be the theme of the meeting. “First thing we do is we address the staffing concerns, the safety issues,” said Considine, who chairs the corrections subcommittee. “That extends to the residents of the facilities as well.”