Ahead of marijuana legalization, state law enforcement officials reiterate driving while high is illegal

Understanding marijuana laws ahead of upcoming legalization

Understanding marijuana laws ahead of upcoming legalization

Recreational marijuana will become legal in Minnesota in just a week but law enforcement officials are reminding drivers that it will still be illegal to get behind the wheel while impaired.

Members of Minnesota’s Departments of Public Safety and Natural Resources held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to reiterate that troopers, deputies and police across the state will still be on the lookout for drugged drivers on the road, trails and waterways.

Their message — “Driving high is a DWI” — came ahead of the Aug. 1 legalization of recreational marijuana in the state.

“Impaired is impaired on the road, regardless of the substance, and the effects can be tragic for everyone else on the road,” said Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. “Our focus is on impaired driving, regardless of substance, and keeping Minnesotans safe by enforcing the law. Just like with alcohol, anyone opting to consume cannabis needs to make the right choice by planning a safe and sober ride.”

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Meanwhile, cities across the state are considering restrictions on where recreational marijuana can be bought and smoked once it becomes legal.

Monday night, members of the Lakeville City Council discussed a proposal that includes a smoking ban in city parks and public spaces, as well as restrictions for businesses selling marijuana. The state law which legalizes recreational cannabis allows smoking in public unless other state or local laws prohibit it.

Also on Monday night, Duluth city councilors discussed potential limits on where people can smoke recreational marijuana and a ban in places such as Park Point Beach and the city’s Lakewalk. If caught, violators would be fined $300. They’re expected to vote on the proposal on Aug. 14.

The cities of Alexandria and Detroit Lakes are also considering ordinances regarding the outdoor smoking of marijuana.