The group, the Marijuana Policy Project, said three ads will be posted on the Internet and a fourth will run on television statewide. They are designed to allay fears that 'a', medical marijuana increases youth access to marijuana,'b', that there is no proven medical value to using medical marijuana, and 'c' that there is no support in the medical community for medical marijuana.
"You have certain aspects of the law-enforcement community who are vocally advocating against this bill. We hear certain legislators and the governor's office saying they are not inclined to support his bill based on the words of law enforcement. So we thought it was important to see what law enforcement is saying," said Neal Levine, state director of the group.
Law enforcement officials such as Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom and Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion have consistently testified against medical marijuana measures, raising concerns about the medical value of the drug and whether a bill opening up its use would be subject to abuse.
The TV ad features an Ely, Minn., resident, K.K. Forss, who has used marijuana illegally to combat chronic pain caused by a ruptured disk and nerve damage from subsequent surgeries. When he has used marijuana, obtained from friends, muscle spasms were alleviated and he has been able to sleep, he said. It has taken away the side effects of other medications, he said.
A bill that would allow some patients in Minnesota to use medical marijuana has been resurrected this year and awaits a floor vote, which has yet to be scheduled. The bill would not legalize marijuana. But it would allow patients who qualify to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and to receive similar amounts on a regular basis from groups set up to dispense the drug. The measure passed the Minnesota Senate last year but did not receive a House vote.
Echoing concerns from law enforcement, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has said he is not inclined to support the bill.