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Congressional Republicans Rail Against Legalization Of Marijuana


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WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans on Thursday railed against states that have legalized marijuana, citing its connection to auto accidents.


During a hearing entitled "Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Operating While Stoned," Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, said stronger federal regulations on marijuana were needed in light of the wave of states legalizing the drug for medical and recreational uses.


Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) joined in the criticism, attacking Colorado's recent decision to legalize recreational marijuana.


Fleming cited a study by the University of Colorado at Denver showing an increase in marijuana-related traffic fatalities since the state legalized medicinal marijuana in 2009. He implied that a further loosening of restrictions on marijuana is a slippery slope, especially for young people.


"As marijuana is de-stigmatized, use goes up, and it finds its way into the homes and candy and cookies and baked goods, and once it gets there, it finds its way into the brains of teens," he said.


"Marijuana will also become more pervasive as states continue to embrace permissible laws on medical marijuana and the recreational use of marijuana, and kids and youth will have easier access to the dangerous, addictive drug."


Committee members also argued for a federal standard for drug-testing drivers.


At one point in the hearing, Mica held up an unidentified device he said was used for roadside drug tests in Europe, and jokingly offered to "swab the panelists." The device is not currently used in the United States, but Jeffrey P. Michael, associate administrator for research and program development for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said that a law enforcement pilot

program being developed in California uses a similar device.


Michael also testified that there is insufficient data and scientific research on the connection between drug use and driving, making it difficult to create national standards to drug test drivers.


"We make policy based on science. We cannot make changes without the science," said Patrice Kelly, acting director of the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance for Department of Transportation, who also testified before the committee.


A growing body of research on the topic shows no clear connection between THC levels and impairment, unlike in the case of blood alcohol level. Moreover, some participants in recent studies have tested positive for THC long after the effects of the drug have worn off, which would complicate the enforcement of any imposed standard.


But Fleming, who is opposed to legalizing marijuana, argued that the lack of data and science means that states should exercise caution in deciding whether to legalize marijuana at all.

"Until we have the science, we should be careful and cautious," he said.


Both Mica and Fleming have been outspoken critics of legalizing marijuana. Fleming told a conservative radio show in May that marijuana use will lead to "death and destruction" among military veterans.


On Thursday, Mica defended his decision to bring a fake joint as a prop during a previous hearing in May, in which he protested the District of Columbia's marijuana decriminalization law.

"Some people thought that was entertaining, but it was also designed to illustrate that you can have 28 of those joints now in the District, and that would result in a $25 fine," he said.


A Brookings Institution report released Thursday shows that Colorado's legalization of marijuana has largely been successful and safe so far, particularly in surveillance and enforcement efforts. The state also has seen an increase in tax revenue as a result of the new law and a decrease in crime.

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I love how when trying to hold back progress, Republicans (Politicians) always start saying "Until we have the science", like science is something tangeble, and can be held onto.  Let's be honest the only science they hold dear, is Mathematics, as in 1 sick person+1 Joint=The end of us paying out health benefits/foodstamp for veterans/everyday people, or their standby equation, 1 medical provider + DEA =Us lining our pockets with forfeited property, but really we need to remind them, Poor voting record+New Candidate that believe in upholding the rights of the people=new congressman/senator/President...

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I've contacted the authors.  


My suspicion is that the 'marijuana' is just an incidental finding from remote rather than current use.  It is what we call in medicine a 'facinoma' or a 'red herring' which came about as a result of data mining.


We will see if they respond.


Dr. Bob

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my growing body of evidence says bs:


       ** MVMT means  Million Vehicle Miles Travelled     *** source  Colorado DOT    




Well according to my trained eyes, it appears that fatal crashes per miles traveled is DOWN quite a bit.


The report cites an increase from 4.5% to over 10% in positive tests for 'marijuana' between 1994 and 2011.  Just looking at this graph, between 2002 and 2014 the number of fatal crashes reduced by over half with the same number of miles traveled.  That alone could suggest that if the same number of people tested 'positive for marijuana' both years the relative percent would double.  Furthermore, if they were testing for carboxy, I would assume that due to the increased availability since medical and then recreational marijuana was legalized, more people would have tried it and then tested 'positive' weeks later.


This is an inherent error in these studies, sometimes the wrong presumptions are made, the wrong questions asked, and alternatives are not explored.  As this is a NIDA study, I suspect that the results were mandated prior to the data even being examined.


Dr. Bob

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From WebMD:



"Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana," said co-author Dr. Guohua Li, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia. "If this trend continues, in five or six years non-alcohol drugs will overtake alcohol to become the most common substance involved in deaths related to impaired driving."

The research team drew its conclusions from crash statistics from six states that routinely perform toxicology tests on drivers involved in fatal car wrecks -- California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia. The statistics included more than 23,500 drivers who died within one hour of a crash between 1999 and 2010.

Alcohol contributed to about the same percentage of traffic fatalities throughout the decade, about 40 percent, Li said.

But drugs played an increasingly prevalent role in fatal crashes, the researchers found. Drugged driving accounted for more than 28 percent of traffic deaths in 2010, up from more than 16 percent in 1999.

Marijuana proved to be the main drug involved in the increase, contributing to 12 percent of 2010 crashes compared with 4 percent in 1999.

In an endnote to the study, the researchers pointed to several limitations with the research. One is that marijuana can be detected in the blood up to one week after use. And, therefore, the researchers said, "the prevalence of nonalcohol drugs reported in this study should be interpreted as an indicator of drug use, not necessarily a measurement of drug impairment."

The study authors also noted that the combined use of alcohol and marijuana dramatically increases a driver's risk of death.

"If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their risk of a fatal crash is 13 times higher than the risk of the driver who is not under the influence of alcohol," Li said. "But if the driver is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, their risk increases to 24 times that of a sober person."

The researchers found that the increase in marijuana use occurred across all age groups and in both sexes. Their findings were published online Jan. 29 in theAmerican Journal of Epidemiology.

Marijuana impairs driving in much the same way that alcohol does, explained Jonathan Adkins, deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. It impairs judgment, affects vision and makes a person more distractible and more likely to take risks while driving.


The points I made are noted here, and it is pretty clear they are hedging a bit by putting in the disclaimer that being 'positive for marijuana' does not indicate impairment at the time of the crash as they can remain 'positive' for over a week.  This clearly indicates they are talking about carboxy, not active thc which is gone in short order after use.  I did, however, really like the medical conclusions and interpretation of the study by an 'administrator' to reinforce the conclusion marijuana effects driving.


The only reasonable conclusion is that more people are using cannabis now that it has been legalized to some extent, not that it has anything to do with motor vehicle accidents.


Dr. Bob

Edited by Dr. Bob
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Perhaps I misread the study but the wording used stating in 10% of the fatal accidents involved drivers who tested positive for marijuana is ambiguous and misleading.


Please note 10% of fatal accidents is not the same as 10% of drivers.


Last time I checked something like 7% of the population in self-reporting studies admitted to using cannabis at least once-a-month.


That would equate to something like 10% or more of actual driver miles.


Then there is the 10% of fatal accidents; how many of those involve more than one driver? Quite a substantial percentage I would suppose; well over half no doubt.


Adjust those cited numbers for the multiple driver fatal accidents and suddenly the results look much different.


Indeed, one might guess drivers operating vehicles under the influence of cannabis will be at least as safe and possibly safer than the typical driver.


Then there are cell phones. Ever seen a cop on a cell phone? And distracted drivers. Ever seen a cop tooling along looking down at the computer screen? The accident rates for cell phones or distracted drivers are roughly equivalent to those with blood alcohol levels above .10.


And lastly, for the resident Democratic activists that reside here, morons are morons regardless of party and there are plenty of those in both.


I find the subtle electioneering practiced by some here rather tiresome.


The Republican right-to-life prohibitionists in my opinion are not that much different than Democratic open border advocates.


I like irony. It is truly ironic the same Republicans who claim abortion is murder of a human being support the death penalty. It's okay to kill adults but wrong to abort a thirty-second old fertilized egg? Does that make sense?


It is also ironic the same Democrats who want to grant amnesty to all illegals rail against sending jobs overseas. It is wrong for a corporation to seek higher profits that cost American jobs but okay for illegals to come and fill jobs instead of American citizens?


It's okay to give generous benefits to illegals even if it reduces the limited resources available to help our own citizens in need?


There are no easy answers. But bigots are bigots regardless of party. Look no further than a recent spate of comments here saying Republicans are racists because they don't like Obama. Last time I checked Obama was a mixed race person, half-Kansas white and half-Kenyan black. I wonder what sort of excuses those folks will find to explain Dr. Ben Carson's emergence as a serious presidential candidate for the Republican 2016 election.


I'm a small government fiscal conservative. I am a social liberal. Anyone who excoriates one party to promote another is counting on the same bumper sticker mentality to promote a personal agenda that appeals to unthinking sycophants.


It makes me sad. We get the government we deserve.

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^^^^^ It is also ironic the same Democrats who want to grant amnesty to all illegals rail against sending jobs overseas.

The difference is the illegals that earn amnesty will live and work in America. They will be Americans, just like your great grandpa or great great grandpa, or are you an aborigine? Hopefully they will have jobs and pay taxes. The jobs the republicans sent overseas are just gone. Big difference. Every country in the world, not just us, has immigrant problems. You see much poorer countries than America helping refugees that cross their borders because of suffering in their home countries.


Excoriating Republicans saddens you? Too bad. They are running this state because of not enough excoriating.  How the heck did Michigan become a republican state? How did a blue state become run by reds? Because of the type of bait and switch that you post here. Until Schuette is gone plan on being 'saddened'. Get to work at getting him gone so you can be happy again. You might have to excorate a lot of republicans to do it. Or just the one at the top.

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technically, if we grant amnesty and citizenship to illegal immigrants, they will no longer be illegal immigrants and simply become 'americans' taking american jobs.


so can we get rid of the curtain of lies?

people simply dont want 'brown americans' taking american jobs.

just more racism. racism racism racism.

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I find the subtle electioneering practiced by some here tiresome.

So go take a nap.


There is a lot to do to right the wrongs of the republicans in this Great State.


The Michigan House, Senate and Governor and Courts are all Run by fknrepublicans.


If there is to be progressive movement for Cannabis we need to send those sobs a strong message in November.


Vote ALL fknrepublicans OUT.


The raids will continue under this War on Drugs mongering fknrepublicans regime until they exposed for the bigoted antiAmerican haters they are.


Snyder and shuette (slimy and schitty). Got to go!!


The fknrepublicans are the problem.


We the People are the solution, So go ahead and take your nap, We got it covered.


Vote Every cance you get....Your Future depends on it!

Edited by beourbud
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technically, if we grant amnesty and citizenship to illegal immigrants, they will no longer be illegal immigrants and simply become 'americans' taking american jobs.


so can we get rid of the curtain of lies?

people simply dont want 'brown americans' taking american jobs.

just more racism. racism racism racism.

I get flashbacks to that star trek episode where you have the planet populated by people who are black on one side, and white on the other. They have a terrible 'racist' civil war going on that will destroy their planet. Racist because half the people are black on the wrong side. This is always about finding a way to compare yourself to someone else where you are better than them. It's a mood booster. Drink up your steaming cup of 'mo better' in the morning. I think 'half Kansas half Kenyan' is the new 'black on the wrong side'. If not they will think up soemthing else .... I just love that movie where the old white guy, that looks like Clint Eastwood. finds out he is part black. Priceless ....
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Now the ultimate blasphemy;


The world will be a better place when all the races get mixed to the point where you can't tell who is who. I love mother nature and she will win this for us. Count on it. The wars today are mostly in the places that mixing is frowned upon. Wars against mixing. It's a futile effort to avert mother nature. I'm sure we will be a much healthier race when we mix it up. Mo better. lol

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