- Associated Press - Thursday, May 15, 2014
Minnesota lawmakers strike medical marijuana deal

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota lawmakers struck a deal Thursday to legalize medical marijuana, handing a major victory to severely ill children and adults whose emotional appeals for help propelled a major policy change that once appeared dead for the session.

Gov. Mark Dayton said he would sign the legislation, which was closer to the House’s more restrictive bill than the Senate‘s. Some patients lamented that the agreement doesn’t allow them to use actual plant material - they instead can use the drug in oil, pill and vapor form - but others were overjoyed.

“This will change my daughter’s life and thousands of lives around Minnesota,” said Angie Weaver of Hibbing, whose 8-year-old daughter is afflicted by a rare form of epilepsy.

The compromise bill allows for two manufacturing facilities and eight dispensaries statewide, more than the House bill called for. But it covers fewer conditions than the Senate favored. Its prohibition against using plant material disappointed some advocates, who said vaporizing the leaf or smoking the drug were the only ways some patients could get relief from their maladies.

Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, who sponsored the Senate version, lauded the compromise.


Minnesota’s Kill donates $100K for epilepsy fund

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill is starting a fund to help children with epilepsy.

Kill and his wife, Rebecca, donated $100,000 to start the “Chasing Dreams” fund through the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota. The Kills have an initial goal of raising $500,000.

The Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1jzLpBv) reports the money will help fund seizure-smart school initiatives, along with Camp Oz, a camp for epilepsy patients in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Jerry Kill says his goal to educate every school in Minnesota on how to handle seizures in school.

Kill was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2005 and has missed parts of four games in three seasons at Minnesota because of seizures. Last October, Kill took a two-week leave after a seizure kept him from joining the Gophers for a game at Michigan.


5 charged in gun-purchasing conspiracy case

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Five people were indicted - including a former Hennepin County corrections officer and a cook at a Minneapolis high school - in what authorities are calling a conspiracy to equip gang members with guns, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.

A nine-count indictment in U.S. District Court in Minnesota alleges Jacquelyn Gina Burnes, 29, of Maple Grove, and Angela Carter, 32, bought guns for their boyfriends, who were barred from having firearms.

Burnes, the corrections officer who allegedly met her boyfriend when he was in jail, was fired in March, the Star Tribune reported. Carter, a cook at South High School, is currently on leave, according to Minneapolis Public Schools.

The indictment charges the women with conspiracy, as well as counts related to making false statements during gun purchases.

The indictment also charges three men - all gang members - with conspiracy. Diontre Ramone Hill, 20; Keniko Bland, 20; and Raheem Abdul Lee Watkins, 21, also face counts related to illegally possessing firearms.


Bill would scale back state lottery ticket sales

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Instant-play Minnesota lottery games won’t be available on the Internet nor will tickets be sold at gas pumps or ATMs beginning in November if legislation ready for a final votes prevails.

A House-Senate panel adopted a bill containing the restrictions Thursday. The bill reels in a Minnesota Lottery that has gradually expanded into new areas without getting lawmaker permission first. Gov. Mark Dayton hasn’t formed a position on the bill and won’t until he receives it, said spokesman Matt Swenson.

Lawmakers would also pull the plug on the electronic versions of scratch-off tickets by Oct. 30. Those games that went live in February for now make up a speck of the lottery’s revenue, but officials had hoped they would be a growth area at a time when traditional sales were leveling off.

Lottery director Ed Van Petten warned the state could face a breach-of-contract lawsuit by its online vendor and would lose millions in anticipated sales. He prefers a veto.

“I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say it’d make me happy,” he said of a veto. “I’d like to continue our project,” he said.

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