Medical marijuana bill clears Minn. Senate

Illegal? Maybe not.
Marijuana is illegal under federal law, but some severely ill patients say smoking pot is the only way to relieve their symptoms. Minnesota would become the 13th state to approve the drug for medical use if the bill became law.
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

(AP) - The Minnesota Senate has backed legislation that would allow medical marijuana use for seriously ill patients.

The 36-28 vote defied party lines, drawing support and opposition from both the GOP and DFL.

The issue pits those suffering or dying from cancer, AIDS and other diseases against worries from law enforcement that easing marijuana regulations would lead to more crime and drug abuse.

Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty has given those concerns as his reason for opposing the bill.

The House is expected to weigh in this session.

Even as the Senate debated marijuana, the House was talking about liquor.

The House amended a liquor bill to require the University of Minnesota to sell alcoholic beverages throughout its new football stadium, not just to premium ticketholders.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)