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A Driving Question For Colo. Marijuana Users


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It is time to have an intelligent discussion about driving.

 

A driving question for Colo. marijuana users

By IVAN MORENO | Associated Press

The surge of medical marijuana use in Colorado has started another debate in the state Legislature: What constitutes driving while high?

Lawmakers are considering setting a DUI blood-content threshold for marijuana that would make Colorado one of three states with such a provision in statute - and one of the most liberal, according to Rep. Claire

 

Under the proposal, drivers who test positive for 5 nanograms or more of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, would be considered too impaired to drive if the substance is present in their blood at the time they're pulled over or within two hours.

Levy, a Democrat from Boulder, said she's gotten resistance from medical marijuana advocates who fear it will restrict patients from using the drug.

"What I've tried to assure the patient advocates is that we're not talking about sobriety checkpoints, we're not talking about dragnets and massive stops," she said. "They're not going to be stopped if they're driving appropriately."

While it's already illegal to drive while impaired by drugs, states have taken different approaches to the issue. Twelve states, including Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Rhode Island, have a zero-tolerance policy for driving with any presence of an illegal substance, said Anne Teigen, policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota has the same policy but exempts marijuana.

Ohio and Nevada, which are among the 16 states that allows medical marijuana, have a 2 nanogram THC limit for driving. Pennsylvania has a 5 nanogram limit, but that's a state Health Department guideline, which can be introduced in driving violation cases, Teigen said.

Don Christensen, the executive director of the County Sheriffs of Colorado, which supports the 5 nanogram THC blood-content benchmark, said he thinks it's a fair way for law enforcement and the public to know how much marijuana you can consume while legally being able to drive - just as there's a limit with alcohol.

"I think it's fair to tell them the rules to be played by," he said.

Pot activists, including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, say they hope marijuana DUIs are not based solely on the amount of the drug that is found in someone's system, but rather on the totality of the case, such as how the person was driving and other observations an officer makes.

They argue that medical users of the drug may have higher tolerance levels which would allow them to drive or still have trace levels of THC long after they've smoked the drug. Some also worry that medical users may be unfairly targeted.

"My only concern is that, because medical marijuana is controversial, that we're entering a new phase of not racial profiling but medical profiling," said Sean McAllister, an attorney at Denver's Cannabis Law Center. McAllister was on a state panel that recommended the 5-nanogram standard, which he said is a fair judge of impairment for most users.

Not all marijuana advocates agree.

"We're concerned the nanogram limit is too low because most medical marijuana patients are going to have higher levels in their bloodstream because of their continued use of medical cannabis," said Laura Kriho, a spokeswoman with the Cannabis Therapy Institute in Colorado.

Rep. Mark Waller, a Republican who is sponsoring House Bill 1261 with Rep. Levy, said their proposal is meant to set a THC-blood level at which someone is presumed to be too impaired to drive.

"It's a rebuttable presumption, though," said Waller, adding that drivers won't be automatically guilty of a DUI and will still get a chance to argue their case.

The bill is yet to come before a committee for a hearing, but Levy said she's already getting a lot of comments from medical marijuana users.

"I'm getting a lot of pushback, a lot of concern that this will hinder the ability of medical marijuana patients to make use of their medicine," Levy said. She said the bill is about safety, not targeting people who use pot for medical purposes.

"I'm very supportive of medicinal use of marijuana," Levy said. "You just can't allow people to be driving when they're high."

 

Read more: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2011/02/20/1490667/too-high-to-drive-colo-considers.html#ixzz1EWlkWD52

 

Michael A. Komorn

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Attorney Michael Komorn’ practice specializes in Medical Marihuana representation. He is a board member with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association (MMMA), a nonprofit patient advocacy group with over 20,000 members, which advocates for medical marihuana patients, and caregiver rights. He is also an experienced defense attorney successfully representing many wrongfully accused medical marihuana patients and caregivers. He is also the founder of Greentrees of Detroit, a medical marihuana community center that offers patient certification, legal consultation, cannabis education, business development, and caregiver’s classes.

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Great post Michael.

 

But, the five nanograms is a bit low. Just my opinion, we are all different and we are all affected differntly by cannabis.

 

While 5 nanograms might make some people flunk a field sobriety test, that level probably is where I need to be at to simply leave the house and function...

 

Why don't they have a ZERO TOLERANCE law for "any amount of alcohol" in your system?

 

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

 

 

Mizerman

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The comments that Sen.Rick Jones made about us patients as being 'more dangerous than drinking and driving" is insulting and shows how ignorant he is.

 

I have not seen him put in print any statistics that would lend credence to this bill. But google drunk driving deaths in Michigan, or heroin over doses, or prescription pill over doses, he's ignoring the real drug problems.

 

And whats even more ominous if that bill becomes law they could and would use it to ban ANY EVENT that would be centered around cannabis up to and including schools, and festivals.

 

This is an attempt to strip a certain segment of society the rights and privileges enjoyed by the rest of the society.

 

Seventy-five years ago Adolf Hitler did the very same thing to a certain segment of society.

 

Sen.Rick Jones you will not take away our rights!

 

Peace

 

We are ALL out to beat them at their own game

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The comments that Sen.Rick Jones made about us patients as being 'more dangerous than drinking and driving" is insulting and shows how ignorant he is.

 

I have not seen him put in print any statistics that would lend credence to this bill. But google drunk driving deaths in Michigan, or heroin over doses, or prescription pill over doses, he's ignoring the real drug problems.

 

And whats even more ominous if that bill becomes law they could and would use it to ban ANY EVENT that would be centered around cannabis up to and including schools, and festivals.

 

This is an attempt to strip a certain segment of society the rights and privileges enjoyed by the rest of the society.

 

Seventy-five years ago Adolf Hitler did the very same thing to a certain segment of society.

 

Sen.Rick Jones you will not take away our rights!

 

Peace

 

We are ALL out to beat them at their own game

 

I couldn't have said it better myself. This man is so hell-bent against us. Pure evil. It still amazes me how many evil people get into positions of power. Despite statistics, he's till ignoring the facts. This man is so blind. What a sad world. See the kind of people running it, ruining it, they can't see how their actions affect EVERYONE, not just a select few. Picking on sick people! What a morally bankrupt lifeform! They're hurtiing themselves when they hurt us or anyone unjustly. Karma has no mercy on people like these. If you believe in a Judgment Day, it would sure be interesting to see the sparks fly when people like that have to stand before Our Creator. Their problem is, they're so sure they're doing the right thing, so they think God will give them a free pass to Heaven. Those people have made it a hell here on earth- I doubt they'll be hearing harps any time soon.

 

Sb

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"A meta-analysis by Krüger and Berghaus (1995) profiled the effects of cannabis and alcohol. They reviewed 197 published studies of alcohol and 60 studies of cannabis. Their analysis showed that 50% of the reported effects were significant at a BAC of 0.073 g/dl and a THC level of 11 ng/ml. This implies that if the legal BAC threshold for alcohol is 0.08 g/dl, the corresponding level of THC that would impair the same percentage of tests would be approximately 11 ng/ml."

 

Source:

Laberge, Jason C., Nicholas J. Ward, "Research Note: Cannabis and Driving -- Research Needs and Issues for Transportation Policy," Journal of Drug Issues, Dec. 2004, pp. 975-6.

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"A meta-analysis by Krüger and Berghaus (1995) profiled the effects of cannabis and alcohol. They reviewed 197 published studies of alcohol and 60 studies of cannabis. Their analysis showed that 50% of the reported effects were significant at a BAC of 0.073 g/dl and a THC level of 11 ng/ml. This implies that if the legal BAC threshold for alcohol is 0.08 g/dl, the corresponding level of THC that would impair the same percentage of tests would be approximately 11 ng/ml."

 

Source:

Laberge, Jason C., Nicholas J. Ward, "Research Note: Cannabis and Driving -- Research Needs and Issues for Transportation Policy," Journal of Drug Issues, Dec. 2004, pp. 975-6.

 

 

That's it, right there. In the absence of any better studies, the 11 ng/ml limit should be the standard since the .08 g/dl is the current standard for alcohol. Does anyone know how many tokes that translates into? I know how many beers puts me over the limit - I bought a small hand held breathalyzer.

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It is time to have an intelligent discussion about driving.

 

A driving question for Colo. marijuana users

By IVAN MORENO | Associated Press

Ohio and Nevada, which are among the 16 states that allows medical marijuana, have a 2 nanogram THC limit for driving.

 

How many states? You are allowed what in Ohio? Seems like a good article other than this error filled line.

 

The way I see it, we need more extracts on the market. That way more of us say "No sir, I don't smoke marijuana."

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Just how much is a nano gram compared to alcohol testing? Better yet compared to prescription drugs? I Took 40 mg oxycontin three times a day and 15 mg oxycodone as needed for break through pain. Now I think this is far more impaired than my mm use now that I'm off those drugs. I had such a high tolerance to opiates that I could test off the scale and still function. So how do they determine what's the legal limit?

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Just how much is a nano gram compared to alcohol testing? Better yet compared to prescription drugs? I Took 40 mg oxycontin three times a day and 15 mg oxycodone as needed for break through pain. Now I think this is far more impaired than my mm use now that I'm off those drugs. I had such a high tolerance to opiates that I could test off the scale and still function. So how do they determine what's the legal limit?

 

Diz,

 

We keep forgetting that this 'legal' issue is about police departments being able to keep up their ticket hand outs and their arrest rates in order to generate income and keep the 'judiciary / court mills' working as much as it is for 'public safety'.

 

If it was all 'really' about keeping us citizens 'safe' there would be tests being run on drivers for ALL drugs and pharmaceuticals NOT just THC and alcohol.

 

Money and votes, darling... money votes!

 

Still love those recipes.

Edited by greenbuddha
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