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Medical marijuana bill clears House panel

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Marijuana amounts
Law enforcement officials showed legislators the quantity of marijuana an individual could possess under the medical marijuana bill that they oppose.
MPR Photo/Tim Pugmire

Legislation that would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes has cleared another panel in the Minnesota House.

The House Public Safety Policy and Oversight Committee voted 9-6 Tuesday to send the measure to its next stop in the Finance Committee. Many law enforcement officials oppose the effort to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to qualified patients for the treatment of a debilitating medical condition. 

But former Seattle police Chief Norm Stamper told committee members that he heard similar opposition in Washington. Stamper said he supports medical marijuana for personal and professional reasons.

"The police, as important as our voice is in the conversation in the dialog about drug policy, are not physicians, are not care givers," Stamper  said. "And that it is inappropriate for the police to substitute our judgment for that of physicians and those in need of the care of physicians."

State Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion testified against the bill. Campion says the measure would put the state in conflict with federal law.