Marijuana in Minnesota: Where’s the middle ground?

Sometime, somehow, the state of Minnesota is going to have to come to some sort of compromise when it comes to legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

Both sides of the issue have a strong case.

Law enforcement worries about pot being too accessible for youth and others who want to get their hands on it for recreational – not medical – purposes if it becomes legalized. These people are called pot heads.

But there are also those out there who are sick and hurting and who have family members who are suffering who can use marijuana to feel better. Ignoring the therapeutic effect of cannabis is just plain, old-fashioned thinking. No one can argue marijuana’s medical benefits; it’s been well documented – and well publicized – that it can make a big difference for sick people and those who suffer in pain on a daily basis. These people are called patients.

There has to be middle ground somewhere.

Gov. Mark Dayton has said repeatedly he won’t support the legalization of marijuana unless law enforcement signs off on it, which will probably never happen because the cops see marijuana as nothing more than a gateway drug. We can hardly blame them for not wanting to deal with the prospect of a new generation of potheads and people driving under the influence of the drug, but should Dayton bend a little on this one? Should we expect him to?

Yes and yes.

The governor should be open and willing – as should all lawmakers currently employed at the state Capitol – to seriously vet this issue this session and come up with a solution that would put marijuana in the hands of people who need it to feel better, while keeping it out of the hands of people who intend to misuse and abuse it. Tough chore for sure, but we think it’s doable.

We know it’s an election year for Dayton and House members, but they shouldn’t let that keep them from dealing with this issue head-on, not by spewing out canned rhetoric that does nothing more than tell us the obvious – that they’re on the fence on marijuana – but with some insightful thinking that will lead to a solution down the road.

Perhaps it’s a stretch to believe marijuana will ever become legal in Minnesota, but our elected officials would be doing us all a disservice if they threw their hands up in the air and walked away from the table on this one.