Lawmakers Knew the Risks to Public Health and Safety, Now They Bear Responsibility

July 31, 2023
Media Contact: Bob Driscoll

(ST. PAUL, MN) – Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action (SAM Action) President Dr. Kevin Sabet, a former Obama drug policy advisor, released the following statement in advance of marijuana and THC-infused drugs becoming legal in Minnesota. Starting August 1, Minnesotans can possess and use marijuana and THC products, as well as grow their own marijuana.

“Lawmakers and Governor Walz knew the data and the risks, now they should prepare for the consequences. Legalizing today’s high-potency marijuana and industrialized THC drugs has resulted in negative impacts to public health and safety everywhere it’s been done, especially for young people, minorities and those dealing with addiction.

“Minnesotans should expect youth use to increase, more drugged driving accidents and fatalities, higher rates of drug addiction, more emergency room visits, increases in accidental exposures for children and an exacerbation of our mental health crisis. Medical, scientific and government data back that up conclusively. Yet lawmakers caved to the demands of an industry seeking to make billions in profit.

“Allowing people to grow, possess, and transport these products is a recipe for disaster, and it will only serve to worsen the drug crisis that’s already gripped the state and the nation. In every other state the industry has built its business model on creating a new generation of high-frequency, high-potency users, especially from members of minority communities. Without checks put in place, there’s no reason to think the same won’t happen here. As the Office of Cannabis Management prepares for a full-scale recreational market, it must allocate sufficient taxpayer resources to protecting vulnerable individuals and communities of color that will be victimized by this policy and the predatory industry that lobbied for it.”