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Medical marijuana bill advanced by Minnesota Senate panel

By Christopher Snowbeck, St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL -- A state Senate committee advanced a bill to legalize medical marijuana on a 7-3 vote Friday morning.

The legislation next will be taken up by a rules committee in the Senate next week, said Sen. Scott Dibble, D-Minneapolis.

Dibble is the sponsor of legislation in the Senate, which won bipartisan support Friday morning. Sen. Michelle Benson, a Republican from Ham Lake, joined six Democrats on the committee in supporting the bill.

Sen. Chris Eaton, D-Brooklyn Center, joined two Republicans in voting against the legislation, which would give patients with certain medical conditions access to a limited amount of marijuana.

Patients would need to obtain certification from a doctor that they might benefit from marijuana; they would then obtain cannabis from a dispensary.

At the start of Friday's hearing, Dibble offered a lengthy amendment to his bill to tighten access by patients and improve standards for those who work in or operate dispensaries. The bill was amended to include a study on the evidence for medical marijuana.

(The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.)