Minnesota Report

Yesterday, during the Responsible on Cannabis press conference we coined a new term DW High. We asked the following questions of Rep Carlos Mariani Rosa (DFL-65A, St Paul). Also present were Health and Human Services Chair Rena Moran DFL-65B, St Paul), Subcommittee on Elections Chair Raymond Dehn (DFL-59B, Minneapolis) and Corrections Division Chair Jack Considine (DFL-19B, Mankato).

Here is a video of the press conference http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hjvid/91/891057

C&B: The principal concern of the law enforcement community is people Driving Under the Influence, or in this case let’s call it DW High, the question is what in your discussions with colleagues when looking at this issue to addressing those concerns?

Mariani Rosa: “We also have a Rep Quam bill that we will be hearing in Public Safety that lays out a planned approach for identifying an instrument a tool, a process that can accurately identify individuals driving under the influence when it comes to THC, Marijuana. The issue quite frankly, is its chemically, a very difficult issue. We’ve spoken with experts at the University of Minnesota in chemistry who have been studying ways different states have approached this and other countries as well. There is a wide range of approaches, from a purely subjective nature of just having a local law enforcement, the stopping officer making determination. I think most of us think that is unfair an unobjective way. What that really points to is the fact all the only other processes known practices right now whether they be urinary samples, blood samples, I am not sure what the others are, but they are inaccurate. And part of this, I think, is to have a conversation, quite frankly about not falling into the thinking that a way to deal with this to understand this, is the way we understand alcohol and driving. Two different elements, two different impacts on the body, and to some degree perhaps even two different results in terms of driving. The point is to demystify all that, have this task force some time among other issues diving deep into that so that they can come back with recommendations. I think every legislator here wants to know what the public safety and the roads threshold issue is and not to just jump to conclusions.”

C&B: You mentioned the word study, in regards to what the different effects of the different parts of marijuana or cannabis are, where are you gaining your science, where do you expect to do you expect to gain your science on this question.

Mariani Rosa: “Well, we certainly have interreacted informally with scientists. As I mentioned earlier, you know, we spent some time with a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. So, we certainly are looking to expand the number of folks in different fields, you know, so you know, folks who and quite frankly, quite frankly people who are not just academics about this issue, but practitioners. I think it is important to hear directly from the law enforcement. I think it’s important to hear directly from people providing chemical dependency treatment. Frankly, I think its import to hear from folks’ in the private sector, in terms of what is a fair market system that the state can encourage to develop. So, I think a part of the answer is that we are going to look to a broad array of folks who are both academic steep but as well are practicing in these particular fields.”

Now, as we are constantly emphasizing, the greatest question is always what is occurring with companion legislation in the other legislative body. The Companion Bill HF 0717 is SF 0897, but its Chief Author is Sen Jeff Hayden (DFL-62, Minneapolis) even though Sen Scott Jensen (R-47, Chaska) is set to sign onto the bill as a co-author. That’s nice but doesn’t have the same impact if Jensen were to take on the bill as Chief Author.