Health notes: Medical marijuana has support in Minnesota, poll findsNearly two-thirds of Minnesotans support legislation to allow marijuana use for medical purposes, a poll released on Wednesday said.
By: Compiled by John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans support legislation to allow marijuana use for medical purposes, a poll released on Wednesday said.
But the effort to make Minnesota the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana still faces a major obstacle: Gov. Mark Dayton isn’t among the supporters.
The poll of 600 randomly selected Minnesota voters was conducted March 1-2 by Public Policy Polling, said a news release from Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, a group that advocates for medical marijuana. Minnesotans for Compassionate Care commissioned the poll, political director Heather Azzi said.
According to the poll, 65 percent of respondents would support changing state law to allow people with serious or terminal illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it; 66 percent think Dayton should sign such a law if the Legislature passes it; and 54 percent would disapprove of their county sheriff or county attorney working to defeat such a bill.
Some conservative groups have criticized Public Policy Polling for an alleged liberal bias, and National Public Radio characterizes it as Democratic-leaning. However, it slightly overstated Republican Gov. Mitt Romney’s showing ahead of the 2012 election, according to a New York Times analysis.
Azzi said if the polling organization does have a political leaning, it doesn’t matter when it comes to medical marijuana. “This is a nonpartisan issue,” she said.
State lawmakers are preparing to introduce a bipartisan medical marijuana bill, the group’s news release said.
State Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, who sponsored a medical marijuana bill as long ago as 2005, won’t be among the sponsors this year, Azzi said.
In an interview, Dayton told the Associated Press in December that he opposed decriminalizing marijuana, even for medical purposes.
Huntley told the AP at the time that although he still supported medical marijuana, “If the governor doesn’t want it and would veto it, there’s not much point in spending a lot of time on it.”
HIV/AIDS affects American Indians
Wednesday will be National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Minnesota Department of Health reminds us.
“HIV/AIDS continues to be an important health issue for our American Indian communities living in Minnesota,” Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the state’s health commissioner, said in a news release.
As of 2011, 121 American Indians were living with HIV in Minnesota, the Health Department said. They were composed of 70 males and 51 females. Since the epidemic began, 96 American Indians have died of AIDS in Minnesota.
A carnation for your favorite doctor
When you give blood this month, you also can give your favorite doctor a white carnation.
Donors at Memorial Blood Centers in Duluth and Superior this month can donate their blood in honor of their favorite doctor. The donations will be tracked, and area physicians will be given a single white carnation for each person who honored him or her with a donation.
The all-month blood drive is sponsored by the Lake Superior Medical Society Alliance, a philanthropic organization composed of physician spouses.
Appointments can be scheduled with Memorial Blood Centers by calling (888) 448-3253.
Walk like you’re Nordic
If you see a group of people walking vigorously and using poles, chances are they are Nordic walkers.
The Duluth YMCA is offering a “Taste of Nordic Walking” from
10 a.m. to noon on April 19 featuring Linda Lemke, the “Nordic Walking Queen.”
The activity allows participants to “work your body, connect with nature and refresh your spirit all while simply walking with a pair of poles,” the YMCA said in a news release.
Nordic walking instructors will be on hand to answer questions, fit participants with poles and to escort participants on their walks for the free event. Nordic walking poles will be available for use during the program.
For more information, call the YMCA at (218) 722-4745, Ext. 133, or visit www.duluthymca.org.
Still time to sign up for cancer study
Here’s a reminder that Twin Ports residents are invited to enroll in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3.
The long-term study will help researchers better understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyles factors that cause or prevent cancer.
The study is open to men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamous cell skin cancer). A diverse population of up to 300,000 people will be enrolled from across the country.
Appointments can be scheduled online at www.cps3TwinPorts.org. They will take place April 2-6 at US Bank, First Covenant Church, Peace in Christ Lutheran Church, St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Asbury United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church in Duluth and the Superior Public Library and Mariner Mall in Superior.