Ryan Winkler's glowing assumptions about the projected legalization of marijuana covers a number of "core principles" that he suggests will result in this legislation being the "nation's best" ("Minnesota's legalization will be nation's best," Opinion Exchange, Nov. 28). Perhaps, but missing in this assumption is the fact that the sale of illegal marijuana is likely to increase, and the unintended consequences aren't addressed at all. Put simply, drug cartels will continue to provide unregulated marijuana to anyone, underage youth included, that will cost less than the regulated product. There will, of course, be no tax revenue from this sale. In addition, these dealers will be full service, as they are today, offering a variety of illicit drugs that may not be as benign as marijuana. Meth-, cocaine-, heroin- and fentanyl-laced versions of the above will be offered for anyone interested in trying something else.
Maybe the advocates for this legislation have anticipated these problems and thought about the substantial resources necessary for enforcing an expanded black market that will be appealing, and dangerous, for many who will choose the convenience and pricing. These concerns were not addressed by Winkler and, frankly, I haven't seen them voiced by other advocates of adult-use cannabis. This would be a good time to do so.
Jeffrey Peterson, Minneapolis
Winkler would have us believe that "Minnesota's legalization will be the nation's best." But it was on his watch that the THC gummies fiasco passed at the end of the last legislative session, leaving even the legislators perplexed by what they had done. And now he wants to build on this inauspicious beginning? Sounds like a house of cards. And while the principles he enunciates seem eminently reasonable, where have they actually been achieved in the states that have so far legalized pot? Legislative outcomes so far seem to be far short of expectations, or even counterproductive. But somehow Minnesota legislation will be different? I hope so, but only if legislators proceed deliberately and with humility, listening carefully to all sides of the issue.
George Muellner, Plymouth
Delay legalizing marijuana until police reform has become effective in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Why in the world would the state Legislature decide to legalize recreational marijuana before the two major cities in the state, which have inadequate numbers of police and need reform, get their act together and start controlling gun violence, carjacking and general crime waves that appear to be affecting the cities and surrounding suburbs?
Adding the burden of dealing with the aftereffects of kids smoking marijuana on the streets to current police responsibilities when officers are stretched so thin makes no sense.
Timing is everything in cases like this.
Delay the legislation for now, and let the police deal with what is currently on their plate.
Bruce M. Carlson, Plymouth
Star Tribune articles from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times and by various reporters day after day mention rising traffic deaths and driving safety info and on and on.
Now Winkler, who introduced the cannabis legalization legislation process, lists six principles extolling the virtues of passage. Winkler casually stated that "cannabis does create some risks" and that "taxes paid by cannabis users" should go to drug education, impaired-driving detection, chemical dependency treatment and mental health recovery and support for "many harmed by more dangerous drugs."
Smart Approaches to Marijuana Minnesota Co-chair Kim Bemis reminded us in a recent article about marijuana legalization, "There's a highway safety issue and there's no roadside test for impairment like there is a breathalyzer" ("Making pot legal likely on agenda," Nov. 27). And Minnesota Trucking Association President John Hausladen challenged policymakers: "Can you confidently demonstrate to the citizens of Minnesota that this is going to make us as safe or safer?"
Who are the "no problem legalizing marijuana" geniuses kidding? Not the general population — thank goodness!
THC products made in colorful candy chews and edibles are a risk for children, unsuspecting others and drivers if undetected.
The bottom line: It's always about the m-o-n-e-y. We non-using taxpayers? Oh, yeah, we'll see tax increases.
These are just some thoughts from an old-timer who has seen a lot in life but nothing like this obvious long-term risk to one and all.
Barbara Nylen, Minneapolis
JAN. 6 COMMITTEE
Kudos for a job well done
In the Readers Write section of the Star Tribune on Thursday, a contributor stated that the House Select Committee has spent almost two years investigating and has yet to issue a report or announce any findings. Good grief! During its hearings, the committee showed extensive video and heard testimony revealing the actions of former President Donald Trump and his supporters leading up to, during and after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. The committee is currently writing the report.
The letter writer also stated that the two-year investigation by Robert Mueller resulted in no criminal findings against Trump. That is because Trump's Attorney General William Barr put his own spin on it, exonerating Trump before the report was ever released to the public.
The Jan. 6 committee does not have the authority to bring criminal charges against Trump or his cohorts but does have the authority to introduce legislation to prevent such a dangerous assault on our democracy in the future. They also chose to present their findings to the American people. In my opinion, they have done an excellent job.
Paul Wright, Hudson, Wis.
A recent letter writer cast aspersions on Attorney General Merrick Garland's stated desire to avoid his appointment of a special counsel to investigate Trump's activities as appearing to be "motivated by politics" and cites the fact that criminal charges have not yet been filed against Trump in this or any of the fire hose of previous criminal investigations. The distinction that the writer is dodging is that the special counsel is now necessitated by politics when you have a presidential candidate whose activities inciting and during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection may well statutorily bar him from office. Appointing a special counsel is appropriate and necessary, as it distances Garland from that immediate investigation.
Furthermore, the fact that criminal charges have not been brought says much less about Trump's actions and much more about Senate Republicans' reluctance to acknowledge some very well-laid-out evidence in both of Trump's impeachment trials. Ask yourself why the Senate so adamantly refused to allow witnesses during the second impeachment. Its members were afraid to ask questions to which they already knew the incriminating answers.
Jeff Young, Eden Prairie
A moving tribute
The Nov. 26 comics page tribute to Charles Schulz was a home run. I didn't expect to cry at any of them, and I didn't expect to laugh at a tribute. The cartoonists are really wonderful, smart, talented, lovable people. I don't know what you're paying them, but you're probably not paying them what they're worth to us, your readers.
Susan Frenzel, Minneapolis