Cathy Wurzer, co-host of Minnesota Public Television’s “Almanac,” recently asked a political panel about pending adult-use cannabis legalization. “Truckers, doctors, and law enforcement are all against legalizing cannabis at this point,” she said. “Interesting kind of coalition there. What do you think?”
No panelist spoke to the issues raised by those groups in legislative hearings. A Democrat responded: “There’s going to be some hesitation when something’s new like cannabis.”
Concerns raised by law enforcement, doctors and truckers aren’t a matter of anxious hesitation over “something new.” They’re grounded in science, in the experience of states that have legalized recreational cannabis and in tragedies in Minnesota. Proponents’ lack of answers necessitates pausing the legislation.
Let’s begin with highway safety. Legalizing cannabis will greatly increase the number of people driving impaired, which increases the risk of serious crashes. In Colorado, the number of fatalities for drivers who tested positive for cannabis has more than doubled, from 55 in 2013 to 131 in 2020. Washington state reports similar findings.
A huge problem is the lack of a validated roadside sobriety test for cannabis. Officers lack a test like the breathalyzer to indicate whether drivers are impaired and should be allowed behind the wheel.
The legalization bill funds a “pilot project” to develop roadside…