A Becker County sheriff's deputy cited a motorist for driving while impaired by a controlled substance, seizing 145 grams of methamphetamine and cocaine mixed with fentanyl.
The arrest during a recent statewide DWI crackdown was hardly an anomaly.
Drugged driving arrests were up 96% between 2018 and 2022 when compared with the previous four-year period, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS). They rose from 8,069 incidents between 2013 and 2017 to 15,810 in the next four years.
"Driving high is a DWI," DPS said in reminding motorists that the law applies to any mind-altering substance, including cannabis.
Since the law allowing Minnesotans to use marijuana recreationally is just a little more than a month old, let's review the law about pot in vehicles.
Neither drivers nor passengers are allowed to smoke marijuana or consume other cannabis products while in a vehicle. They also can't open any cannabis packaging in a vehicle, and it is illegal for a driver or passenger to have an unsealed or open container of pot. Any unsealed container or open product must be kept in the trunk or another area of the vehicle not accessible to the driver or passengers.
Overall DWI arrests are up this year. Law enforcement arrested 1,140 motorists for impaired driving between Aug. 18 and Sept. 4. As of Sept. 11, law enforcement had tagged more than 19,000 drivers with a DWI offense, compared with 18,223 as of the same date last year, DPS said.
A DWI conviction can lead to thousands of dollars in fines, loss of a driver's license for up to a year and possible jail time.
State Fair bus ridership soars
More people than ever hopped on Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) express buses from the south metro to the State Fair this year.
The MVTA provided 112,996 rides from park and rides in Eagan, Burnsville and Shakopee and smashed its previous ridership record of 97,291 set in 2019. The 2023 record exceeded last year's ridership of 95,354 by 19%.
The agency also has seen huge numbers of passengers taking buses to the Renaissance Festival. Over Labor Day weekend, more than 3,000 people rode from the Eagle Creek Park and Ride in Shakopee. For the remainder of the festival — through Oct. 1 — MVTA is adding service from the Southbridge Crossings Park and Ride, 1401 Crossings Blvd., Shakopee and the Burnsville Transit Station, 100 E. Hwy. 13.
SouthWest Transit provided 77,326 rides to and from the Great Minnesota Get-Together from stations in Chaska, Chanhassen and Eden Prairie. That marked a 13% increase over 2022, agency officials said.
Metro Transit provided 241,000 rides to the fair from suburban park-and-ride lots this year, a 33% increase over last year.
Attendance at this year's State Fair was 1,835,826 people, making it the sixth-best-attended fair.