As Democratic state lawmakers need to legalize leisure marijuana in Minnesota, one official in Olmsted County is elevating considerations over the regulation’s potential impact on street security and different points.
Final week, DFL members of the Minnesota Legislature unveiled their proposed invoice for authorized adult-use leisure marijuana. Committee hearings for the invoice are scheduled to start out as quickly as this week.
And after final November’s midterm election noticed DFLers acquire management of each chambers of the Legislature, many lawmakers have indicated they imagine authorized marijuana might cross this session. Gov. Tim Walz has already indicated he would signal such laws.
However the proposed invoice has not been with out pushback. In a Friday Fb submit, Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson raised considerations about how legalizing marijuana might have an effect on street security.
“What number of extra folks will our state legislators say is okay to be killed on our highways by extra impaired drivers on our roads?” Torgerson wrote.
“Will it’s acceptable in your loved ones if a member of the family is a sufferer of a excessive driver having fun with his legalized freedom to make use of MJ and drive, however take the lifetime of your son or daughter on their approach house from faculty, or a recreation, or live performance?”
However what does out there information say about impaired driving incidents in locations which have already legalized leisure marijuana? It’s sophisticated.
Since Colorado grew to become one of many first states to legalize leisure marijuana in 2012, citations for impaired driving wherein marijuana was perceived as being at the least one of many substances concerned elevated by 120% from 2014 to 2020, in keeping with a report from the Colorado Division of Public Security.
However that very same report notes that since legalization, extra regulation enforcement officers in Colorado have been educated to acknowledge marijuana impairment.
In Canada, which legalized leisure marijuana in 2018, circumstances of drug-impaired driving rose 43% within the first yr after legalization – and impaired driving total elevated by 19%, in keeping with the Washington Put up.
Enforcement insurance policies in states with legalized leisure marijuana additionally differ.
Some states have a zero tolerance coverage for driving with any quantity of THC within the physique, whereas others have set limits on the quantity, in keeping with the Nationwide Convention of State Legislatures.
Torgerson additionally made the declare that authorized marijuana would enhance the inhabitants of individuals experiencing homelessness by “greater than 100%.”
Researchers in Colorado checked out that difficulty in 2018 after they surveyed inmates in metropolis and county jails who had been experiencing homelessness. The outcomes, which had been revealed in CNN, discovered that of the inmates who had come to Colorado after legalization, 35% stated that they had come to the state at the least partially as a result of marijuana legal guidelines.
However as a result of a majority of inmates surveyed had already been residing in Colorado previous to legalization, the survey solely appears at a small pattern measurement.
Officers in Denver additionally questioned claims that marijuana legal guidelines had had an impact on homelessness within the space. In accordance with 9News in Denver, at a 2020 assembly, metropolis officers pointed to information that confirmed homelessness within the metropolis had declined from 2012 to 2019.