The Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) backs harm reduction programs across the state and getting rid of criminal records for drug possession by minors, according to a report by Marijuana Moment.
Association members this month voted in favor of a resolution calling for “the abolition of criminal penalties for possession of a small quantity of illicit drugs for personal use and/or the possession of drug paraphernalia.”
The bill also calls for the “creation of administrative tribunals with the authority to recommend treatment and impose civil fines on simple possession offenders.” Similar to the harm reduction policy that is already in place in places like Portugal, the two-pronged approach of decriminalization and referral to treatment is being thought about.
The MMA Policy Council, a group within the MMA that was formed earlier this year to look into ways to reduce harm, suggested the law. The Board of Trustees of the association voted in favor of the proposal. The group’s discussions led to a detailed plan that has been approved by the whole organization.
The IDWG has come up with a proposal that requires:
- The removal of criminal penalties for the possession of a small quantity of illicit drug for personal use and/or the possession of drug paraphernalia.
- The creation of administrative panels which may render treatment referrals and civil penalties to offenders of simple possession.
- An increased investment in statewide harm reduction and medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) programs.
- The release of individuals incarcerated for simple possession from detention settings.
- The expungement of criminal records for simple possession.
There were a total of 260 votes cast on the policy proposal, with 219 in favor, 34 opposed, and 7 abstaining.
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