I’ll confess I haven’t been following Minnesota’s medical marijuana proposals very carefully, but kinda wish I had. It appears there is some serious debate going on here.
Reading a story on Minnesota Public Radio’s website about the Minnesota House’s version of the legislation whets the appetite for more, especially more from concerned Republicans.
You know, while I think these Republican concerns are somewhat funny, if not insignificant, they aren’t all that bad, a bit misguided, perhaps, but not all that bad. What do you think?
Rep Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), for example, is worried, but not so much about medical marijuana per se, but how it is managed. He cautions against having one state supplier because “creating a statutory monopoly is begging for trouble. It’s begging for a concentration of power and it’s begging for corruption. We don’t want that.”
Now let’s give Rep Garofalo credit. He has been working to get some form of medical marijuana legislation through the House. But with all the kinds of restrictions and controls that this product will have imposed on it, is it really much of a free market issue anyway? Other drug companies hold monopolies of a sort — at least temporarily — in the form of patents. Again, I’m kind of on the sidelines on this one, but I’m not sure how the “concentration of power” argument really matters here.
But if you want a real interesting concern based on limited cannabis production, go to Representative Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) who is worried that a single facility would be vulnerable to a tornado! McNamara is another GOP supporter of the medical marijuana legislation so let’s give him credit, too. (Good job!) However many things in this state exist in only one place and are vulnerable to things like tornadoes. Perhaps the State capitol building, for an example?
What McNamara might really want to be worried about are some of his GOP colleagues who oppose the law because they don’t accept the rational arguments for legalizing a generally safe and effective medication. Nevertheless, I agree with McNamara. We should permit more than one facility for dispensing medical marijuana. Minnesota is a big state and if it is going to be legal let’s get it to the people who could use it.
Anyway, I find this level of concern and debate refreshing and hopeful. There still are legislators out there who think we are taking “baby steps” toward the evil of legal recreational marijuana use and I suppose that’s a valid argument, but objections like those seem to be fading in the overall debate. That’s good, that’s a good sign. Of course I think Senator Scott Dibble‘s plan is less restrictive and compassionate, but we’re making progress here!