Dayton: medical cannabis issue needs collaboration

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday that he has urged supporters of allowing marijuana for medical purposes in Minnesota to work with opponents in law enforcement if they want to see it legalized.

“I’ve said I will sign something that the law enforcement community can support,” Dayton said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. “It seems to me incumbent on those who are advocating legalization of medical marijuana to be engaged in discussion with law enforcement on how they can accomplish that.”

Dayton said he met with representatives for both medical marijuana advocates and law enforcement groups about two months ago. He said he encouraged supporters to try to find common ground with the opponents.

State Rep. Carly Melin, one of the Legislature’s chief backers of legalizing medical marijuana, said she found meeting with law enforcement groups to be a challenge.

“They oppose everything at this point,” said Melin, DFL-Hibbing, who added that she hoped the governor’s comments might aid proponents in future talks.

Twenty other states and Washington, D.C., allow medical marijuana in some form. Dayton says if Minnesota’s law is to change, he’d prefer it be done by legislators instead of a public referendum.

Dayton’s predecessor, Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, vetoed a bill in 2009 that would have allowed marijuana use by terminally ill patients. Pawlenty also cited law enforcement groups’ opposition as motivation for his veto.

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