House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee
HF100 (Stephenson) Omnibus cannabis bill
Minnesotans are good natured people, when given an opportunity to right a wrong, they step up. But I urge anyone who supports legalization out of sense of justice to look deeper into what this bill really does.
Well meaning Minnesotans will be appalled when they discover that HF 100 offers redemption to those unjustly harmed by the War of Drugs, but it makes that redemption contingent upon the normalization of a drug that wreaks havoc on the human brain.
No amount of regulation can curtail the damage that commercialized THC will do to Minnesota families and our quality of life. According to a 2020 study, the rates of cannabis use disorder in people age 12 to 17 grew 25% more in states that legalized recreational marijuana than in those that didn’t. If this committee has any interest in protecting young Minnesotans it increase the minimum age limit to 25 and add a THC potency cap to this bill.
Minnesotans must ask who benefits from a bill like HF 100? The only people who have benefited from this style of marijuana legalization are a small group of wealthy investors. HF 100, as currently written, plays whack a mole with injustice. For every one individual who receives an expungement— countless children, adolescents, and vulnerable adults will suffer from the collateral consequences of a commercialized cannabis.
If the push for legalization is really about criminal justice, then the legislature should move the provisions found in Article 4 and Article 5 as a separate bill.
Marijuana use in a person’s early 20s or teenage years may affect cognitive development long-term given that the brain is not fully formed at this age.
One week ago the Journal of Pediatrics published a study revealing that the number of calls to poison control centers about kids 5 and under consuming THC edibles rose from 207 in 2017 to 3,054 in 2021 — a 1,375% increase.
- In 1995, the average concentration of THC in cannabis samples was about 4 percent. By 2017, it was 17 percent. Today’s cannabis manufacturers are extracting THC to make oils; edibles; wax; sugar-size crystals; and glass-like products called shatter that advertise high THC levels in some cases exceeding 95 percent.
The pursuit of justice is a tremendous point of common ground that all of us can build from. There is a better path to justice than commercializing a drug that has been linked to the degradation of individuals and communities.