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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Aisha Gomez (DFL)

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Update: Cannabis, emergency insulin, and youth vaping

Friday, November 1, 2019

Rep. Gomez

My dear community,

I hope you're staying warm! Make sure family and friends know that there are resources to keep Minnesotans safe during the coldest winter months. The Cold Weather Rule has taken effect, helping Minnesotans who struggle to afford their heating bill from having it shut off. Find more information on it here

Here's a quick update.

Adult-Use Cannabis

As our state looks to improve our cannabis policies, I've been working side-by-side with House leadership to ensure we're legalizing adult-use cannabis in a way that's equitable, fair, and opens the cannabis economy to those who've been disproportionately impacted by prohibition. 

Minnesota’s current cannabis laws are doing more harm than good. By creating a regulatory framework, we can address the harms caused by cannabis and establish a more sensible set of laws to improve our health care and criminal justice systems. 

We've held conversations around the state to hear from experts, address local concerns, study the experiences of other states, and hear the views of Minnesotans directly about what their goals and concerns are. What are your thoughts on legalizing cannabis for adult use? Let me know! 

New Logo - Be Heard on Cannabis

Youth Vaping

Until recently, Big Tobacco has gotten away with deceiving the public into thinking that vaping devices are cleaner or safer alternatives to cigarettes, hoping they can addict another generation. We're now only beginning to understand the dangers -- three Minnesotans have lost their lives and 84 more have experienced severe lunge injury associated with vaping. Athletes are having trouble breathing during workouts, students are having trouble concentrating, and educators are spending time during class monitoring for kids sneaking hits of nicotine.

This week, my House DFL colleagues announced a comprehensive plan to combat Big Tobacco's youth targeting.

Here are some highlights of the plan:

  • By raising the legal age to purchase tobacco age to 21, we will limit youth targeting.
  • We will reduce youth access by stopping all internet sales of tobacco, e-cigarette, and vaping products.
  • By prohibiting sales of all flavored tobacco products in our state, we will reduce the appeal of tobacco products for vulnerable populations.
  • We will support prevention efforts with a dedicated office to combat the immense pressure of the tobacco industry with effective counter-marketing.
  • Finally, we will fight to ensure that every Minnesotan has access to quit-smoking resources to help them break free from addiction. We’ll promote the state’s quitting program and remove barriers that prevent Medicaid patients and others from accessing quit-smoking medications and therapy.


Emergency Access to Insulin 

Over the summer, my colleagues and I held a series of community listening sessions as an opportunity for Minnesotans to share personal stories about emergency insulin access, learn about solutions under discussion at the Legislature, and put pressure on pharmaceutical companies to end price gouging.

Because of growing public pressure, the Minnesota Senate announced an insulin proposal that attempts to connect Minnesotans with insurance options for affordable insulin. That is definitely something we need to work on. But let me be clear: it excludes any emergency access to insulin, fundamentally misunderstanding the problem we are trying to solve. 

At the end of September, the House Health and Human Services Finance Division held an informational hearing to discuss the differences between the House and Senate’s proposals, lessons learned from the statewide community conversations, and how we can put forward solutions to address this issue that’s impacting far too many Minnesotans.

Since then, Speaker Hortman sent a letter to Governor Walz, urging him to appoint an Emergency Access to Insulin Work Group of House and Senate members to resolve differences within each chamber’s insulin proposal. The bipartisan group has been formed and a meeting is expected in the coming days. The time to act on emergency insulin access is now.

Minnesota Values 

With 105 days until session starts, we want to hear from you about what YOUR concerns, priorities, or hopes are. The Minnesota Values Project is an ongoing partnership between Minnesotans and the legislature. Let me know what you think is important for our community here.

MVP Logo

As always, reach out with any feedback or questions you have for me! I always appreciate working in partnership with you. 


Aisha Gomez