Poll shows nearly two-thirds of Minnesota voters favor medical marijuana law

St. Paul, MN  –  Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Minnesota voters support changing state law to allow people with serious and terminal illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it, according to a new poll conducted by Public Policy Polling.

The survey of 600 randomly selected Minnesota voters was conducted March 1-2. The full results and crosstabs are available at http://www.mpp.org/MNpoll.

“A vast majority of Minnesota voters agree that people suffering from conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis should be able to use marijuana in the treatment of their conditions,” said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. “Criminalizing seriously and sometimes terminally ill people who use marijuana to relieve their pain and suffering is not a popular idea.”

The results of the statewide survey come as state lawmakers prepare a bipartisan bill that would make it legal for Minnesota residents with debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, to access and use medical marijuana if advised to do so by their physicians. Its introduction is expected within the next two weeks, at which time details of the proposal will be made available.

The poll found a strong majority (54 percent) of voters in the state would disapprove of their county sheriff or county attorney working to defeat such a bill , while only 24 percent would approve. Two-thirds (66 percent) think Gov. Mark Dayton should sign it if it is approved by the legislature.

“Personal medical decisions should be guided by someone who graduated from medical school, not law school or the police academy,” said Joni Whiting of Jordan, whose late daughter, Stephanie, used medical marijuana to relieve the extreme pain and nausea associated with cancer and chemotherapy. “Medical marijuana made life bearable for my daughter in her final months. No elected official should have the power to take that away.”

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. Lawmakers in 14 other states have introduced similar legislation this year, and medical marijuana bills are expected to be introduced in three additional states, including Minnesota.

“I should not have to make the choice between living with excruciating pain and living in fear of arrest,” said Patrick McClellan, a Burnsville resident who has used medical marijuana to treat the muscle spasms and severe chronic pain associated with muscular dystrophy. “I had to give up my career due to my condition. I should not have to give up my freedom in order to treat it.”

 

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