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Minnesota: Stop this bill in it’s tracks!

I wrote about a confusing series of events earlier this week up in Minnesota. I’m still confused.

After posting an article on WeedPress about a potential usurpation of state sovereignty, Executive Director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy Cody Wiberg responded to my posting with a note on the BOP’s Facebook page.

I am very pleased that a public servant has responded to a concerned citizens questions in such a timely manner. I look forward to continuing my discussion with Mr. Wiberg in the future.

Now, for the confusing part. It looks like the Board of Pharmacy bill to remove their ability to review the scientific evidence has been…shuffled around. I can’t keep up with this. What’s going on?

First, Mr. Wiberg agrees that “The Board does, indeed, have the legal authority to add or delete drugs from the state’s schedules of controlled substances. (Or to move them between the schedules). In the case of marijuana, that means that the Board could either entirely remove marijuana from the schedules or it could place it in a schedule other than schedule I.”

And as I wrote on Monday, Representative Joe Mullery introduced a bill to change the language of the law from “The state Board of Pharmacy, after consulting with the Advisory Council on Controlled Substances, shall annually, on or before May 1 of each year, conduct a review of the placement of controlled substances in the various schedules.” to “The Board of Pharmacy may not delete or reschedule a drug that is in Schedule I, except as provided in subdivision 12.”

From what I was told, when HF1520 was up for a vote at Committee Tuesday morning, Mr. Mullery tabled his bill, citing opposition from some marijuana activist. I thought this meant his bill was dead, as it should be. Giving up your state’s ability to review medical research can’t be very popular among constituents who have been informed about the situation, Mr. Mullery. Thank you for tabling your bill.

However, it appears the language of this bill was somehow transferred to another bill! This is very strange. Apparently, this morning, in about three hours, HF1359 will be discussed. I want to know what the authors of bill HF1359 have to say about the recent amendment on April 27th that added the language from Joe Mullery’s bill to this bill.

This bill needs the language removed in order to protect Minnesota’s ability to review the scientific evidence concerning marijuana, and other Schedule I substances. First and foremost, some reasons as to why this should happen IMMEDIATELY:

United States v. Kiffer, 477 F. 2d 349:
“The provisions of the Act allowing periodic review of the control and classification of allegedly dangerous substances create a sensible mechanism for dealing with a field in which factual claims are conflicting and the state of scientific knowledge is still growing. The question whether a substance belongs in one schedule rather than another clearly calls for fine distinctions, but the statutory procedure at least offers the means for producing a thorough factual record upon which to base an informed judgment. True, the position taken thus far by the Attorney General’s designate (the propriety of which is now being litigated), see Part I supra, has halted this procedure at the outset for marihuana. But the very existence of the statutory scheme indicates that, in dealing with this aspect of the “drug” problem, Congress intended flexibility and receptivity to the latest scientific information to be the hallmarks of its approach. This, while not necessary to the decision here, is the very antithesis of the irrationality appellants attribute to Congress.”

United States v. Fogarty, 692 F. 2d 542:

“It should be noted that under Section 811 Congress has provided a comprehensive reclassification scheme, authorizing the Attorney General to reclassify marijuana in view of new scientific evidence. In establishing this scheme, Congress provided an efficient and flexible means of assuring the continued rationality of the classification of controlled substances, such as marijuana.”

When speaking with Minnesota activist Kurt Hanna, who filed the March 16th petition with the Board, asking them to kindly review the scientific evidence in regards to marijuana and update the state schedules if necessary, he does not seem to be too worried about this farce of a bill. “This one looks like a slam dunk case if these bills become a law,” Mr. Hanna stated. “Not only is the Board apprehensive and reluctant, but it’s almost as if they are trying to change the laws that govern them so that they can dodge a response to my petition to remove cannabis from Schedule I at their public meeting on May 11th!”

Minnesota luckily allows remedies for aggrieved citizens who wish to see their publicly appointed scientific experts review science before the Legislature makes a scientific decision. So, in the event that this bill passes, I’d like to end this post with two statutes.

“MN Statute 14.63 APPLICATION.

“Any person aggrieved by a final decision in a contested case is entitled to judicial review of the decision under the provisions of sections 14.63 to 14.68, but nothing in sections 14.63 to 14.68 shall be deemed to prevent resort to other means of review, redress, relief, or trial de novo provided by law. A petition for a writ of certiorari by an aggrieved person for judicial review under sections 14.63 to 14.68 must be filed with the Court of Appeals and served on the agency not more than 30 days after the party receives the final decision and order of the agency. Sections 572.08 to 572.30 govern judicial review of arbitration awards entered under section 14.57.”

“14.69 SCOPE OF JUDICIAL REVIEW.

“In a judicial review under sections 14.63 to 14.68, the court may affirm the decision of the agency or remand the case for further proceedings; or it may reverse or modify the decision if the substantial rights of the petitioners may have been prejudiced because the administrative finding, inferences, conclusion, or decisions are:
(a) in violation of constitutional provisions; or
(b) in excess of the statutory authority or jurisdiction of the agency; or
(c) made upon unlawful procedure; or
(d) affected by other error of law; or
(e) unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record as submitted; or
(f) arbitrary or capricious.”

The hearing on HF1359 is set for 10:00 this morning. I’ll update any news that is sent my way. Hopefully this doesn’t make it out of Committee. This bill is an embarrassment to Minnesota.

Special thanks to Kurt Hanna for help with this post.

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