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Home / News / Medical marijuana activists contradict Dayton’s denial that he encouraged illicit purchases
In a case of first impression, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled on Feb. 21 that when a petition for return of custody under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is challenged, District Courts must apply all subsections of sec. 1912 of the federal statute to determine whether reunification is not in the child’s best interests.

Medical marijuana activists contradict Dayton’s denial that he encouraged illicit purchases

Gov. Mark Dayton‘s latest effort to put the issue of medical marijuana behind him for the remainder of the 2014 legislative session hit the rocks following a Friday news conference at the Capitol.

At a press event regarding MNsure on late Friday morning, Dayton denied a claim — made by medical marijuana activists at a Wednesday press conference — that Dayton had discussed with them how they might obtain the drug illegally at little risk during a meeting with the activists at the governor’s residence on March 13. But two activists who were at that impromptu meeting have doubled down on their assertion that Dayton did discuss the subject with them — at some length, they say.

At this morning’s press availability, WCCO-TV reporter Pat Kessler broached the question with Dayton.

“Governor,” said Kessler, “the mothers of sick children a couple of days ago said that you told them to — suggested to them to buy marjiuana on the street. Did you do that?”

“No,” replied Dayton.

Kessler pressed: “You did not do that?”

“No,” Dayton repeated.

“Then what are they talking about?”

“I don’t know,” said Dayton. “I’ve said all I’m going to say about medical marijuana. You have the statement, you’ve asked questions. I’m just not going to discuss it further.”

Dayton’s account of the meeting is simply not true, say two activists who were there. One of them, Patrick McClellan, 47, who has muscular dystrophy, told PIM early Friday afternoon, “I was sitting right next to him when he said it. He said that driving back from Colorado is not like going out of the country, there are no checkpoints with drug dogs at state lines.

“I said that bringing the drug back from Colorado would be a federal offense, and he said, ‘I live in the real world, and no one would prosecute someone who was just trying to help their child.’

McClellan continued: “He told me, also, to get it on the street. His logic was, it’s just a petty misdemeanor. I told him that if I had more than an ounce and a half, it would be illegal for me to try to use a medical defense for that possession. He snapped at me that I was just making up hypotheticals.

“I have an uncle who is a retired judge in Fremont, Nebraska, and I told him what the governor said [about transporting marijuana or marijuana derivatives from Colorado]. He said he couldn’t believe that the governor of Minnesota was encouraging me to break the drug laws in his [the uncle’s] state.”

Joni Whiting, 58, whose daughter used the drug when she had melanoma — Whiting’s daughter has since died — backed McClellan’s account of the meeting. “He told one mother she should just go get the [marijuana extract] oil her kid needed and bring it back to Minnesota. He also said, and I can’t remember his quote directly, but words to the effect of, we have a good distribution system here in Minnesota and it’s only a couple hundred bucks fine.”

Whiting also corroborated McClellan’s claim about Dayton’s comment regarding the absence of checkpoints at state borders. “He also said he couldn’t have gotten through college if he hadn’t smoked it himself,” she added. “But he kind of sounded like he thought [medical marijuana proponents] just wanted to smoke it to get high. And I don’t do drugs or drink.”

Media representatives from the Dayton administration have not returned a call from Politics in Minnesota.


  1. This is not the first time he’s told patients to something like this. He made similar remarks at a previous meeting (which I attended). The problem is there are people who think he would never say this. Wake up!

  2. The Governor needs to take a polygraph and release the results to the public.

  3. James Rittenour, Milaca MN

    And now, these activists expect his co-operation in the future. Crapping on a governor on whom they have – had -the best chance to move the issue forward; these individuals have just made it more difficult on our governor as he tries to break the strangle hold of law enforcement’s influence on public policy.

    I’m also an activist. I wished these activists would have accepted the governor’s pragmatic conversation recognizing the right of the afflicted to effective medicine as an understanding of their predicament.

    Thanks a lot.

  4. Shame on you Governor Dayton. To suggest that people should break the law when there is another path. So typical of “law enforcement”, support laws that make crime (MN Statute 152), and ignore laws that would guarantee compliance (MN Statute 297D.) You (Governor) are aware of this other path, and yet you still try to enforce crime (not the law.) In 2011 You ordered the MN Dept. of Rev. to contact me about MN Stat. 297D. At that meeting we construed the twelve statutes that control marijuana in MN. The crime with marijuana is selling it without affixing the stamps (MN Stat. 609.902 subd.4). They (the State) sold me over $7,000.00 in stamps. I Stephen Conlin, Of St. Charles MN am the state’s first and only legal marijuana mercantile. You helped set up my business, why would you recommend that anyone break the law when what they need can be provided legally. My business will gladly provide legal, taxed marijuana to those families that met with the Governor. I would like to do so on the Governor’s front doorstep. Then we shall see who controls marijuana in MN; the Dept. of Rev. or crime enforcement, I mean law enforcement.
    Stephen Conlin
    Stephen Conlin’s the BUZZ
    943 Wabasha Ave.
    St. Charles, MN 55972
    http://[email protected]

  5. Have to agree with James Ritmour, after listening to their press conference on MPR, the protesters shot themselves in the foot by laying it on WAAAAY too thick and by trying to shame Dayton personally. The sponsor of the legislation abandoned it weeks ago when she realized she couldn’t get over the objections of law enforcement and Dayton was really the only one keeping it in play by saying he was willing to continue working on the matter. The fact of the matter though is that this issue will largely be forgotten between the end of the session and the election this fall so all the protesters did in this case was guarantee that Dayton will not want to discuss or do anything to help them advance their cause by making it as unpalatable for him as possible.

  6. Oliver Steinberg

    Mr. Rittenour, you are mistaken as to facts. At a Macalester College debate in early 2010, with seven or eight DFL candidates for Governor taking part, Mr. Dayton stated his pledge against medical cannabis and declared that he took that stand at the behest of law enforcement. Only perennial candidate Ole Savior agreed; all others including Marty, Bakk, Rybak, Anderson-Kelliher, Entenza, stated their support for the reform. Actually, Jesse Ventura was elected in 1998 after declaring his support for medical cannabis use several times during the campaign, so that was the best chance for its passage. With DFL sponsorship by Sen. Linda Berglin and others–and the legislature cowed by Jesse’s surprise election and initial burst of popularity–there was an excellent chance to get the bill passed back then. However, Ventura’s Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver sabotaged the bill at a Senate Committee hearing. I was there and saw it. With forked tongue, Weaver said, “The Governor wants this bill but I as a law enforcement guy have serious reservations.” A wink-and-a-nod that broke the spell of “The Body’s” potential power. Law enforcement resistance is purely self-interested; there are 20 states with medical use laws passed since 1996 and none have repealed them. Clearly public approval outweighs alleged adverse effects, but that only matters if you think people actually have the right to govern themselves. Too bad Mike Hatch he didn’t win; he was unequivocally supportive.
    As for offending this Governor, who may be re-elected, your interpretation might be valid, except that the DFL platform has endorsed medical cannabis since 1992; a legislative majority favors it; every poll shows a popular majority favors it; police officers aren’t qualified to practice medicine; the 1991 appellate court decision in State v. Hanson denies patients a chance to explain that medical circumstances prompted their legal violations; and the existing bill HF1818 was already severely restrictive and over-punitive at law enforcement lobbyists’ insistence—it’s the latest version of bills going back to 1991! Governor Dayton may be deliberately or inadvertently ignorant about the issue but it is he who has insulted the citizens and not the other way around—he lied about them; they told the truth about him. Remember, in our system the public officials are supposed to be servants of the citizens and not their masters or overlords.
    Don’t try to defend the indefensible. Dayton has done many good things as Governor and has saved us from the fate of Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Indiana, and other states traduced by the Republicans since 1910. But his frantic antics and foolish falsehoods about medical cannabis reform are proof of incompetence. His subservience to the shadow Governor, police lobbyist Dennis Flaherty, is a betrayal of his oath of office and of the voters who elected him. I hope his career goes “up in smoke.”

  7. Oliver Steinberg

    I should have typed “2010” in the sentence towards the end of my previous post; of course the text is valid either way.

  8. Oliver Steinberg

    Mr. Rittenour fails to understand that the Governor’s verbal expression of understanding the plight of the families was nothing but the politician’s typical instinct to tell people something that sounds like what they think they want to hear. But mere words of sympathy do these patients and families no good at all. They need a legal shield to protect their supply and use of the herb until federal laws and restrictions can be reformed; and the Governor agreed to nothing real in that respect; and intends to do nothing when it’s within his power to give a green light to legislative leaders. The Marty/Hausman necessity defense bill, HF508/SF733, would have represented a bona fide compromise and covered precisely the territory the Governor tentatively suggested—only he wouldn’t even look at it! Dayton is wrong on all facets of this issue and the best service you can do him is to tell him so directly—especially if you are a staunch supporter of his. And don’t rebuke desperate parents seeking to save their children’s health . . . the Governor is holding their children hostage to the political blackmailers in the law enforcement lobby, which raises the question of “who are the criminals?”

  9. James Rittenour

    Mr. Steinberg;

    I apologize for my late response. I was off for surgery prep. the instant I sent the comment on its way.

    As much as I would love to debate and match you on your whereabouts where then legislators and law enforcement spoke or testified with forked-tongues to that Rep. or Sen. or committee. I have seen it my self.

    To you, and I apologize for it, my position and regard did not present itself as I had hoped. We differ on attitude, where to apply our skepticisms, even cynicisms. Yet I think we could probably meet on common ground which we would both defend.

    When law enforcement can influence – overtly at times – public policy, it has been allowed to overstep the mission it is sworn to; protect and serve. Nothing more, nothing less. And even the nature of that simple directive, in these times, is vague.

    Law enforcement’s job is to do that which you and I have decided, together, to provide them executing authority.

    It ought to Inform us; advise us; request and propose; but also to know that there is a reason that law enforcement is subject to civilian authority in this country.

    I offer to you that Gov. Dayton is not “holding their children [patients] hostage to the political blackmailers in the law enforcement lobby”.

    Rather, it is the blackmailer who needs the hostage.

    Oh, That surgery? They bolted my neck together. It’s the worst recovery I’ve had thus far.

    The big intubation, 5 inch slice across the throat, (to get to my spine? there’s a reason,) temporary numbness from my right shoulder down, medications for moderate to severe pain and muscle relaxants – with the Big-Pharma encyclopedic ingredient list, description and disclaimer ; a good simple and quality medicinal herb would have gone a long way here.

    Cheaper too.

  10. James Rittenour

    EDIT: summary to paragraph two.

    A debate is un-necessary, we share a similar dis-satisfaction.

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