ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota state Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes. The measure is more ambitious than Gov. Mark Dayton and law-enforcement officials have said they would support. In a 48 to 18 vote, senators approved legislation that would make Minnesota the first state that prohibits smoking marijuana used for medical purposes. Twenty-one other states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. The House expects to consider its medical-marijuana measure on Friday. Both pieces of legislation would allow patients to use marijuana in the form of pills, oil and vapor. State law-enforcement groups oppose any proposal that would allow plant material in the hands of patients.
They say legalizing the possession of the marijuana plant would lead to wider distribution of the drug.