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Minnesota doctors to mull recreational marijuana

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A budtender, right, shows cannabis buds to a customer.
A budtender, right, shows cannabis buds to a customer in Desert Hot Springs, Calif., in January 2018. The Minnesota Medical Association is holding a forum for its members Thursday to discuss the implications of legalizing recreational marijuana use in the state.
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images 2018

Minnesota's largest doctors' group is responding to physicians' desire for information about the implications of legalizing recreational marijuana use with a forum for its members Thursday evening.

The Minnesota Medical Association represents physicians and doctors-in-training in the state. The group said the discussion will focus on the health effects of marijuana and what legalizing recreational use of the drug might mean for Minnesota. Douglas Wood, president of the association, said a recent survey found many of the association's members want more information about recreational marijuana.

"We found there's a lot of interest and a lot of diversity of opinion and a lot of people who want to know more," Wood said. "Many of us don't really know as much as we'd like to about potential effects of marijuana in terms of public health issues or individual health issues."

DFL Gov. Tim Walz said he supports legalizing recreational marijuana but there is not currently enough support in the Legislature to pass a law. Wood said the association largely sat on the sidelines as state lawmakers discussed legalizing medical use of marijuana, which they did in 2014.

He said the association wants to be prepared for the debate when it comes up again.

"We're going to hear from some experts at the University of Minnesota on addiction, on child health, on community health, and address some of those things. We'll have people talk among themselves [and] try to gauge thoughts about what we should be thinking about for the future and what direction we might want to take," Wood said.