Republicans Should Adopt Changes to Medical Marijuana Legislation Proposed by Democrats

In November our state’s voters approved a ballot measure which everyone thought would give citizens legal access to medical marijuana.

In reality the ballot measure was such a poorly-written mess – a shining example of the stupidity of legislating at the ballot box – that it didn’t even actually decriminalize medical marijuana. Left to stand, the law approved by voters would have provided a complicated bureaucratic mechanism for accessing marijuana for medical uses but still would have allowed citizens to be prosecuted under the criminal statutes for that access.

So the legislature took two steps. First, they delayed implementation of the measure with SB2154. Second  they proposed legislation – SB2344 backed by the Republican and Democratic legislative leaders –  making numerous changes to the law created by the measure.

That set up a lot of griping from confused and poorly informed medical marijuana advocates (many of them the same dopes who blundered the ballot measure), and said griping was seized on as a partisan issue by certain political demagogues. Republicans are “undermining the will of the people,” they whined.

Republicans should adopt these amendments to SB2344 so that the bill unravels the mess the ballot measure created while ensuring the reasonable access to medical marijuana voters clearly want.

Except it’s clear that most of the people who voted for the medical marijuana measure weren’t clued in on the particulars of how that legalization would happen. As evidenced by the fact that the whole legalization part was left out.

Still, I think the legislature’s bill went a bit too far in changing what the voters approved. For instance, it puts in place some heavy duty fees for accessing medical marijuana and restricts the forms in which the drug can be ingested.

Those changes go too far.

Now Democrats, while scrambling away from the legislation their leadership backed, have proposed some changes to SB2344 which make sense.

You can read them all in the document below. They seem reasonable enough to me, though if I were king-for-a-day I’d fix this problem with a full-on legalization of recreational marijuana.

Democrats aren’t helping themselves with some of their partisan gamesmanship on this issue – again, their legislative leadership co-sponsored SB2344 in its present form – but the changes they’re now proposing are sound.

Republicans should adopt these amendments to SB2344 so that the bill unravels the mess the ballot measure created while ensuring the reasonable access to medical marijuana voters clearly want.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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