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Medical Marijuana Politics Concern Luverne Family

March 27, 2014, 9:48 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Medical Marijuana Politics Concern Luverne Family

A Luverne, Minnesota, family describes the medical marijuana debate in Saint Paul as a 'rollercoaster.'

Four-year-old Luella Johnson suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome and her parents say medical marijuana could help her.

"Luella, she continues to have seizures every week and you just hate to see that as a parent," Luella's father, Jim Johnson, said.

A new type of liquid medical marijuana called 'Charlotte's Web’ has proven to reduce those seizures. That's why the Johnsons have been supporting medical marijuana legislation.

READ STORY: A Dose of Medical Marijuana

It’s a bill that has been the center of controversy at the Capitol.

"It's a bit of an emotional rollercoaster because the position out of the governor's office does seem to change frequently," Johnson said.

Sponsors think the bill could pass the legislature but they doubt Dayton will sign it because major Minnesota law enforcement associations don't support it.

Dayton has proposed his own plan for a $2 million state-funded study at the Mayo Clinic on liquid forms of medical marijuana like 'Charlotte's Web.' Dayton’s office says about 200 children would have access to medical marijuana during the study.

"It does appear that Luella, if it goes through and works, would be able to get access to it, which is great for us but leaves out so many people," Johnson said.

The Johnsons have concerns because Dayton's plan is patterned after the 1980 THC Therapeutic Research Act that never gained much traction and only a small number of children would be part of the study.

What the Johnsons would like to see is Dayton's plan rolled into the main legislation. They are asking their friends and neighbors to contact the governor's office to voice their support.

"It's great if they do that in addition to legalizing the medical marijuana. It's something every poll has shown nationally and in the state of Minnesota that the majority of people support medical marijuana," Johnson said.

In a statement released Wednesday, Dayton urges supporters and opponents to get behind his proposed medical marijuana study.

"I urge stakeholders on all sides of this issue to work together on this proposal, agree on a compromise that can pass in the Legislature this session, and provide relief this year to children who will otherwise find none if we instead choose to engage in finger pointing,” Dayton said in the statement.

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