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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Gov. Dayton signs medical marijuana bill

ST. PAUL - Governor Dayton has signed the bill legalizing medical marijuana in Minnesota.

The path to passage was hard fought, with some lawmakers concerned that medical pot would open the door to increased recreational use. In the end, though, the bill passed in both the Senate and House on strong votes. DFL Senate sponsor Scott Dibble of Minneapolis says there's absolutely no evidence that when you construct and format a really sound medical cannibas program that this leads to recreational use. The law creates a patient registry under the Department of Health, and only authorizes the use of a marijuana derivative in oil or capsule form. It can only be used for specific qualifying medical conditions, and a task force will be formed to study the use of medical cannabis in Minnesota.


State drug expert Carol Falkowski does not support the new medical marijuana law and says she is disappointed Governor Dayton signed the bill. She says medical marijuana use should be approved and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, not the state of Minnesota. Falkowski also said she can't believe that it's the most responsible use of state tax dollars. Supporters argue the FDA cannot even consider approving medical marijuana because it is still a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, which prohibits any kind of study or research.


GOP State Senator Scott Newman of Hutchinson is running for Minnesota attorney general. Newman is seeking the Republican Party's endorsement at the state convention this weekend in Rochester. He hopes to challenge two-term incumbent DFL Attorney General Lori Swanson in November. The last Republican elected AG in Minnesota was Doug Head in 1966.


With the approval of the U.S. Marshals Service, City of Duluth workers have begun cleaning up the inside of The Last Place on Earth. The shuttered store's owner has been convicted of 51 federal counts for selling misbranded, synthetic drugs and faces a possible prison term of 20 to 40 years. Through the legal proceedings against Jim Carlson, the building remains under the control of federal marshals. The goal is to get the store cleaned up inside and out and address the concerns of neighbors.


It appears there has been another heroin-related death in Rochester. Police were called just after one this morning by the roommate of a man who was found dead in the bathroom of their residence. The name of the man- who is believed to be in his 30s- has not yet been released. A police spokesman said that the man had a history of drug use and it's suspected the death was a heroin overdose. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death.


A Starbuck woman has been found guilty of murder in the death of a four-year-old boy and was sentenced to life in prison. Amanda Peltier was convicted in Pope County on several murder and child abuse charges in the death of Eric Dean in February of 2013. Prosecutors say Peltier was caring for the son of her fiance at her home when she became angry and threw Dean across the room. He became ill that night but an ambulance was not called until late the following day. The preschooler later died at the hospital. The medical examiner testified that the boy had bruising on his head, face, lip and ears, bite marks on his scalp, and an abdominal injury that perforated his bowel and caused Dean's death -- and that the child had suffered long-term abuse.


An Eden Prairie man has pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal vehicular homicide in a crash that killed his nephew last fall. Forty-eight-year-old Randoll Sloan admitted that he was driving on August 1st when his speeding car missed a curve, striking a utility pole and flipping over. Sloan's nephew, 23-year-old Kyle Boline, died in the crash. Sloan's blood alcohol level was .19, more than double the legal limit, at the time of the crash. Sloan is set for sentencing on July 31st.


The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has awarded a $300,000 grant to Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical to train 410 employees of TRW Automotive in Winona. The grant was awarded under the agency's Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program. The program works strategically with both businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities and keep high-quality jobs in the state.