Minn. Senate panel approves medical marijuana bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota Senate panel has approved legislation that would legalize medical marijuana.

The chamber's Committee on State and Local Government advanced the legislation after questions on how a program would be set up and run.

The bill's sponsor, Minneapolis Democrat Scott Dibble, testified that Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger would have broad authority to do so. Dibble said that would include establishing what medical conditions qualify for medicinal pot and doing background checks on people who would work at facilities to produce and distribute it.

Assistant Health Commissioner Aggie Leitheiser testified that Ehlinger continues to have concerns that not enough research data exists to show marijuana is effective as medicine.

The Senate bill goes next to the Judiciary Committee. A House version of the measure is stalled.

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