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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Medical marijuana bill clears first senate hurdles

ST. PAUL -   The Minnesota State Senate Health and Human Services committee passed the medical marijuana bill today on a 7-3 vote. 

Opponents tried unsuccessfully to delay the implemention date from July 1st to February 1st, 2015 to allow further study.  Fairmont Republican Julie Rosen says the state Health Department and law enforcement are not comfortable with the bill.  She says it would be irresponsible to move forward with something that still has some loopholes.  DFL Senator Scott Dibble responds the folks who are suffering need relief today.  He says they're being forced to go without, to be separated from their families or participate in criminal activities.  The next stop for the medical marijuana bill is the Senate State and Local Government committee.



The rates of teen pregnancy and teen births in the state have fallen to historic lows, according to the 2014 Minnesota Adolescent Sexual Health report.  Teenwise Director of Training and Education Jill Farris says the report also shows a drop in the chlamydia rate for teens between 2012 and 2013.   She says they're encouraged it went done for one year - but the overall rate has gone up about 50 percent in the last decade and they will be watching the numbers closely.  She attributes the pregnancy and birth rate declines to more young people using effective contraception and using it regularly, along with a growing number of teens who are waiting longer to become sexually active. 


The State Patrol is investigating a fatal two-vehicle crash on Highway 55 in Dakota County.  The accident occurred at around 5:45 this (FRI) morning and caused the closure of part of the highway as the scene was cleared.  The highway has since reopened. The State Patrol says a vehicle heading eastbound veered into westbound lanes striking the second vehicle head on.  The driver of the second vehicle was killed.  The driver of the first vehicle recieved non-life-threatening injuries. The victim's name has not yet been released.


A Minnesota company with facilities in Deer Creek, Perham and New York Mills has been fined $35,000 for failing to obtain required permits and monitor wastewater discharges at all three facilities.  The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says discharge from Industrial Finishing Services' Deer Creek facility exceeded limits for cyanide, chromium, and zinc during parts of 2013. Both the Deer Creek and New York Mills facilities failed to meet reporting requirements.  The company has corrected the problems at all three facilities.


The National Weather Service in Duluth is out with some snowfall totals from the spring storm that moved through northeastern Minnesota. Gunflint Lake tops the list with 13.5 inches, Lutsen reported ten, there's nine-and-a-half inches at Silver Bay, and more than seven near Two Harbors.  Six inches of wet, heavy snow is on the ground in Cook while the Babbit, Duluth and Ely areas have about five inches.  Forecasters expect it to melt as temps warm into the 40s this weekend.