The Medical Marijuana Debate in Minnesota Continues


Last week, the Minnesota Senate and House passed different medical marijuana bills. Gov. Mark Dayton says he is prepared to sign the much more restrictive House bill. Law enforcement groups in Minnesota support the House bill as well. Sen. Scott Dibble, chief sponsor of the Senate bill, says that the House bill "falls short in several ways." Neither bill would allow people to smoke cannabis, but the House bill would only allow one site for growing marijuana and would not allow the medicinal use of marijuana in its whole plant form. Minnesota lawmakers are working on a compromise and hope to pass a bill this session.

Reason TV recently released a program about a 7-year-old Minnesotan with epilepsy who currently lives in Colorado with one of her parents so that she can have access to medical marijuana. If Minnesota legalizes medical marijuana, Greta Botker will be able to move back home with her family.

"The Fight for Medical Marijuana in Minnesota: Greta's Story," produced by Paul Feine. About 5 minutes.

Original release date was May 9, 2014. The original writeup is below.

"I have a lot of trouble hearing physicians or politicians come on TV or radio and say, you know, we don't know what medical marijuana does cognitively to the brains of these young kids…any parent who's got a kid with epilepsy, who's having seizures, we know what that does cognitively, to their brains," said Mark Botker, a farmer in Minnesota.

Mark and Maria Botker have three daughters and own a farm in Clinton, Minnesota. Their 7-year-old daughter, Greta, suffers from a severe form of epilepsy. Over the years, they've tried numerous prescription medications to control Greta's seizures without success.

Last summer they learned that a form of medical marijuana with a high concentration of a cannabinoid called CBD can help control epileptic seizures. Because medical marijuana is illegal in Minnesota the Botkers purchased a home in Colorado so that Greta could have access to the medicine. Maria and Mark now take turns caring for Greta in Colorado while the rest of the family remains in Minnesota.

Since she started taking medical marijuana, Greta's seizures have decreased dramatically. The Botkers would like to bring Greta back home to Minnesota, and lawmakers in the state may give them the opportunity to do just that. The Minnesota legislature is currently considering two medical marijuana bills. Reformers say they have the votes to legalize medical marijuana, but it's not clear that Gov. Mark Dayton (D) will sign a medical marijuana bill into law. In a recent press conference, Gov. Dayton had this advice for people like Greta who could benefit from medical marijuana: "The fact is that you can go out in any city in Minnesota, I'm told, and purchase marijuana. And if you possess less than an ounce of it, an ounce and a half of it, it's a petty misdemeanor, it's a traffic ticket."
"We just plead with the legislators, and we plead with Governor Dayton to please consider our daughter and our family," Maria Botker said.

About 5 minutes. Produced by Paul Feine. Camera by Alex Manning. Music: "Beyond Touch" by Keijo.