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Cops hint at medical marijuana compromise

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Police and prosecutors say they're open to a compromise on medical marijuana but remain firmly opposed to efforts to allow patients to smoke it.

Law enforcement groups told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday that they might not oppose marijuana extracts like oils or pills for treatment, but they don't want to see the creation of 55 marijuana dispensaries, as allowed in the bill. 

Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, told the committee his group supports more testing of nonsmoking forms of the drug.  

"We think that an FDA-approved clinical trial where patients could actually receive it in the forms you're talking about, be it pill be it oil, that that's the route that we should go."

Gov. Mark Dayton proposed allowing the Mayo Clinic to conduct a study on whether children with epilepsy would benefit from medical marijuana. The measure was rejected by supporters because it wasn't broad enough.  

But state Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, disagreed that law enforcement groups were willing to compromise.  

"Sure, they've agreed to talk but they've asked me to simply leave my legislation at home because there's nothing in the bill that they would support, effectively telling me 'take our idea or nothing,'" he said. 

Dibble said patients need to be able to smoke marijuana because oils and extracts don't work on everyone. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure. The bill now moves to the Senate Finance Committee.