Medical marijuana is not the answer

by Rep. Bob Barrett

Forty Minnesota legislators (37 DFL and 3 GOP) are calling for the legalization of medical marijuana in the state of Minnesota.  There are some that swear by the positive medicinal benefits of marijuana related to pain and nausea relief. However, the other side of the coin is that there are several negative consequences of legalization of a drug in which over 4 million people are currently addicted to, which is second only to alcohol in our country.

I had the honor of attending the Chisago County board meeting two weeks ago to provide the commissioners with an update from the Capitol.  In doing so, I also gave the board forewarning about House File 1818, the “medical marijuana” bill, which the legislature will be taking up next spring.  I also met with the Chisago County Tobacco and Marijuana Education Team last week to discuss this bill.

Among other provisions, HF1818 includes a provision allowing for up to 52 medical marijuana dispensaries (retail stores) in Minnesota.  Based on the size of each county, one could be located in Chisago County.

I have been active in the community and state regarding the escalating use and abuse of different forms of marijuana (medical, synthetic, recreational). I was the chief author of, and worked with Governor Dayton on, a bill in 2011 that made it more difficult to sell synthetic cannabis to the young people of Minnesota.  However, more needs to be done.  Still today, young people from Duluth to Worthington are frying their brains using this poison that is still being sold by rogue businesses.

I believe the legalization of medical marijuana is an extremely misguided attempt to solve a problem better handled with existing medicine, and it will only serve to perpetuate the substantial existing problems in our country related to illicit drug use and abuse, especially among young people.

According to preliminary report recently released from The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area about the impact of marijuana legalization in the state of Colorado, we can see a negative trend:

• Increase in marijuana use among youth and young adults.

• Increase in marijuana-impaired driving fatalities.

• Rise in number of marijuana-addicted users in treatment.

And we also have to worry about other potential negative consequences:

• Diversion of marijuana for unintended purposes.

• Adverse impact and cost of the physical and mental health damage caused by marijuana use.

• The economic cost to society will far outweigh any potential revenue or generated.

The societal cost of drug use and abuse is enormous, especially related to our nation’s young people whose brains are not fully developed and are more susceptible to negative consequences. The legalization of medical marijuana in Minnesota would only serve to make this drug more accessible to our younger populations, and consequently perpetuate these societal costs.

I’m committed to protecting public safety and the health of our state’s children by opposing the legalization of marijuana. Please contact me if you have any further questions about this or any other issue being addressed at the State Capitol.



  • Chas Holman

    Whomever wrote this is all over the map, and not looking at VERY REAL government statistics to answer some of their own statements with a bit of FACT. (For example traffic fatalities have went down by OVER 9% in EVERY medical marijuana state (stats provided by US Government) which correlates to alcohol sales dropping by 11% in EVERY medical state and a double digit DROP in teen male suicides in EVERY medical state. These are statistical FACTS.

    Then he goes on to talk about LEGAL states and uses them to somehow say it is representative of MEDICAL states.. totally showing he has confused the two issues and is seemingly incapable to understand the MEDICAL value of grass.

    According to this logic here, no one should be having any kinds of medicines (by the way, in all of recorded history not a single person has died from grass, while 15,000 people die every year in the US from prescription medicines.

    I have eaten cannabis daily now for 10 years in lieu of the daily morphine I had been so dependent on to help manage some icky chronic bone disease and replacements.. Medical grass has saved my life, my liver, my 30 year marriage (try being married to someone on daily morphine) my self respect and dignity. I may be broken, but I am once again whole.

    Whoever wrote this is predatory and needs to stay far away from me, my kids and my doctor.

  • techno_bob

    Why do you have to lie? States that have approved the use of medical marijuana have seen a reduction in drunk driving accidents & fatalities overall along with a reduction in the rates of marijuana use by teenagers.

    Why are you lying?

  • ericthemadman

    Wow, is (Rep) Bob Barrett really that ignorant….or does he think we are that ignorant? Either this article make him look like an uneducated buffoon!

    From the Huffington Post –

    A February 2011 World Health Organization report concluded
    that alcohol consumption is responsible for a staggering four percent
    of all deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence. No
    similar statistics were compiled by the agency for cannabis.

    Similarly, a recent paper published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology
    assessing the relative physical, psychological, and social harms of
    cannabis and alcohol concluded, “A direct comparison of alcohol and
    cannabis showed that alcohol was considered to be more than twice as
    harmful as cannabis to [individual] users, and five times more harmful
    as cannabis to others (society).” Likewise, a 2009 review published in
    the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal estimated
    that health-related costs per user are eight times higher for drinkers
    of alcoholic beverages than they are for those who use cannabis, and are
    more than 40 times higher for tobacco smokers. Authors concluded, “In
    terms of [health-related] costs per user: Tobacco-related health costs
    are over $800 per user, alcohol-related health costs are much lower at
    $165 per user, and cannabis-related health costs are the lowest at $20
    per user.”

    And in 2007, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare hired a team
    of scientists to assess the impact of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
    on public health. Researcher reported that the consumption of alcohol
    was significant contributors to death and disease. “Alcohol harm was
    responsible for 3.2 percent of the total burden of disease and injury in
    Australia,” they concluded.
    By comparison, cannabis use was responsible for zero deaths and only
    0.2 percent of the estimated total burden of disease and injury in

    Science, not rhetoric, should guide America’s decisions on marijuana policy.

  • Anon Amos

    I have never heard so many false things in my entire life. I am so upset and enraged by this. I would just like to take a second to say that ECM Post Review is insane for publishing these BLATANT LIES!

  • JaeM1llz

    Spoken like a true big-pharma lobbyist! Anyone with a brain knows that marijuana is safer than virtually ANY other drug on the market. That’s the real issue. Can’t be cutting into the pharmaceutical industry’s profits. Big no-no.

  • Ryan Connoy

    the only reason there are so many people in treatment centers for marijuana addiction is because when faced with jail time or treatment, anyone with a brain will pick treatment over jail time. and then you get all the nay-sayers using that piece of data in the wrong tense.

  • J. M.

    Presenting a news-worthy article is difficult, especially to the author of this one. Information from the tellers view should be unbiased, and full of facts so we can make our own decisions not influenced by the tellers point of view.
    As soon as I realized this was a very opinionated backed spun news-product, I stopped reading it, kinda like how I stopped eating processed cheese products years ago…
    There is no actual physical addiction to cannibis.
    Get your facts together before writing things, Mr. Barrett.
    Actually get to understand the many medicinal uses this herb has (yes a freaking herb, not a drug. A drug is made, extracted and refined. Herbs grow, get picked, dried and used in it’s NATURAL state.)

  • Jake Armbrust

    You are absolutely wrong in so many ways. How much money are the private prison CEO’s and the pharmaceutical companies paying you to write this trash? It should be illegal to perpetuate lies like you are doing here. You need to reevaluate yourself and pray to whatever god you serve for mercy. Medical marijuana cures cancer, people like you are directly responsible for every cancer related death in the last 70 years since it was known to be the cure. Visit and learn the Truth about Grass.