Law enforcement’s opposition to cannabis bill

[anvplayer video=”5172341″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – The Anti-Narcotic & Anti-Addictive-Drug Coalition along with smart approaches to Marijuana Minnesota gathered at the Minnesota capitol to discuss a bill legalizing adult use of marijuana.

One of the speakers included Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson.

Torgerson sat down with ABC 6 News to discuss his opposition to the bill and why he believes it could represent a safety issue.

“Members, Minnesotans are ready. Cannabis should not be illegal in Minnesota,” said Rep. Zach Stephenson (DFL) Coon Rapids.

A bill legalizing recreational marijuana for adults in Minnesota is steadily making its way through the legislature.

The sponsor of the House version Representative Zack Stephenson says Minnesota’s current laws concerning cannabis do more harm than good.

“State and local governments are spending millions enforcing laws that aren’t helping anyone. Money that could be put to far better purposes. There is a better way,” said Stephenson.

Since the bill’s first committee hearing, one group that has been strongly against any push for legalization is law enforcement.

“Am I okay with it? No. I’ll never be okay with legalizing marijuana,” said Torgerson,

Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson shared those concerns at the capitol on Thursday. He says some aspects of this bill should worry every Minnesotan.

Speaking to ABC 6 News Torgerson argues what he calls serious issues not only for law enforcement but for the safety of Minnesotans.

“I hope you show this part. Because this is how I feel. It’s really saddening to me that we’re willing to have as collateral damage the deaths on our highway just because people want to use marijuana recreationally,” explained Torgerson.

According to a study from the American Public Health Association from 2000 to 2018, the percentage of fatal crashes involving cannabis rose from 9 percent to 21 and a half percent.

But lawmakers say they have considered these concerns.

“I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that there is no other bill that has gone through such a rigorous and complete process of development as this bill has,” Stephenson added.