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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Friday, May 14, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

Minnesota’s mask mandate will end today as Governor Walz is set to follow guidance from the CDC stating that vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks or social distance inside or outside.

This is good news and another important step towards normal.

Democrats Refuse to Get Work Done, Pass Marijuana Bill Instead

Last night, House Democrats brought their recreational cannabis bill to the House floor for debate. The bill ultimately passed on largely party-line votes with a few Democrats voting “no” and a handful of Republicans voting “yes”.

I voted “no”.

Time is running out on the 2021 legislative session as Democrats have passed zero budget bills, refuse to drop their billions in tax hikes, and with just days left in session wasted time passing a marijuana bill that has no chance of becoming law thanks to the Senate Republican majority.

Click here to watch my comments on this bill: https://youtu.be/WxFxeCw78Ow?t=9052

Legalizing marijuana will not make our streets safer and with no roadside testing available, law enforcement will not be able to verify if a driver is impaired. Further, black market marijuana will still be cheaper than legal cannabis, so illegal trading and the drug cartels will remain in business.

The bill also creates a conflict with state and federal law and creates a host of workplace issues for dealing with workers under the influence and increases liability for employers.

A Centennial Study on Colorado’s legalized recreational marijuana found that every $1 of tax revenue from the sale of marijuana Coloradans spent $4.50 in social costs including health problems, addiction, mental illness etc. use of marijuana also damages brain development especially for those under 25.

A 2020 Rocky Mountain High study found that traffic deaths increased 135% for drivers testing positive for marijuana. Suicides increased from 14% in 2013 when recreational marijuana was legalized to 23% in 2018 for individuals testing positive for marijuana. Further, Minnesota's Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota's Trucking Association, American Academy of Pediatricians, and law enforcement all opposed the bill. 

Instead of wasting our time on bills that will not become law and would be harmful for millions of Minnesotans, we should be working hard to finish on time including fully exempting PPP loans and unemployment benefits from state taxes.

The reality is that Democrats haven’t gotten their job done and we’re now on the verge of the least productive sessions in 35+ years because Democrats refuse to compromise. While the Senate passed a bipartisan budget, Democrats still won’t take tax increases off the table.

This is unacceptable.

Staying in Touch

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns as it relates to state government. I can be reached at 651-296-4229 or via email at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn.

Have a great day,

Glenn

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