Effects of allowing medical use of marijuana overstated

May 09, 2007

Steve Murphy, Rochester Post Bulletin (MN)

The Chatfield chief of police has expressed his opposition to legislation that would allow seriously ill people to use medical marijuana. While I appreciate his interest in protecting the public, I believe his concerns surrounding medical marijuana are unfounded.

The chief contends that medical marijuana will lead to increased crime and increased use of marijuana. However, no state with a medical marijuana program has seen an increase in teen marijuana use since the law was implemented. In fact, many of these states have lower teen marijuana use rates than the national average. Further, no law enforcement agency or government of a state with medical marijuana is seeking a repeal of the law. In Colorado, which has had a medical marijuana program since 2001, only ONE person has been arrested for violating the law.

I'd also like to point out that the police chiefs were strongly opposed to Minnesota's conceal-and-carry legislation when it was being considered by the Legislature. They claimed that it would lead to an explosion of gun violence in Minnesota. Clearly, this has not happened.

The bill being considered by the Legislature would establish the most restrictive and conservative medical marijuana program in the nation. The experiences of the 12 other states that allow the medical use of marijuana prove that it does not open Pandora's box to crime, but would help people with debilitating diseases and end-of-life issues cope with their pain and suffering.

Steve Murphy
State Senator, District 28

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