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Bill Seeks To Define Legal Marijuana Limit For Drivers

knucklehead bob

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Tuesday, state lawmakers will vote on a bill that could SET the stage for creating a legal limit for driving under the influence of marijuana.
The Michigan HOUSE of Representatives will vote to create a commission in charge of researching and recommending a limit of THC bodily content that would constitute evidence of impaired driving.
Michigan's medical marijuana law protects patients from prosecution for drugged driving as long as they aren't "under the influence" of the drug.


NOW legislators hope to define exactly what that limit is.


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Well, if the ag and gov want to enforce federal law over state, then doing such research would be clearly illegal. Wonder if they will send in the troopers to enforce...? Or are we to only selectively apply this standard?



But if they do actually try to find a real line of impairment, hope they enlist actual medi patients and put them behind the wheel in real cars. I doubt u could find an amount necessary to declare impairment, unless the person being studied actually falls asleep first, then maybe there would be a problem w them driving.

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So long as there is adequate and legitimate research I am okay with it. A Colorado user had a blood level content of 45 mg/dl and was declared not impaired by his doctor during that state's hearing on the subject. We have seen video of users driving quite well while smoking large amounts. I don't really expect the state will not cook the results to meet an agenda to set an unrealistically low level as causing impairment. I will submit written testimony when the matter comes up for hearing. Testifying in person with visual aids is an intriguing idea.

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There won’t be adequate research for years to come. There’s no way to compare the actual risk of driving at various levels of THC based upon current studies. For example, I believe the NIDA study placed 18ng/dl as the limit for non-daily users where they show similar weaving in the lane to 0.08 BAC. However, this is not for medical users, who have much higher tolerance and could probably operate fine under 30-100 ng/dl. But just because you have one measurement of driving performance does not mean a higher probability of traffic accidents. The actual studies in terms of real-life statistics show a mixture of negative and positive probability trends, and are largely inconclusive.


The 5ng/dl limits are a fraud and last 60-90 minutes beyond the point when most recreational users feel completely normal. Alcohol or other substances can also cause THC to be released from your tissue into the blood, so it’s possible to have spikes in THC levels for 6-12 hours afterwards. If they did impose a limit it would not be scientific or reasonable. I would say impose no limit, and use basic sobriety tests like they do FOR EVERY OTHER DRUG. It's never, 'we have an epidemic of stoned drivers killing people' but instead 'we need more profits and fuller courts' or 'I just know all these stoners are high, but they keep passing the sobriety tests'.

Edited by Alphabob
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  • 2 weeks later...

Cristinew, saw that too.


Here's the aaa link to their studies:



Here's the ap article link:




WASHINGTON (AP) — Motorists are being convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana based on arbitrary state standards that have no connection to whether the driver was actually impaired, says a study by the nation's largest auto club.


The problem is only growing as more states contemplate legalizing the drug. At least three, and possibly as many as 11 states, will vote this fall on ballot measures to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, or both. Legislation to legalize the drug has also been introduced in a half dozen states.


Currently, six states — Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington — have set specific limits for THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes people high, in drivers' blood. Marijuana use is legal in those states for either recreational or medicinal purposes, with the exception of Ohio. The laws presume a driver whose THC level exceeds the threshold is impaired. But the study by AAA's safety foundation says the limits have no scientific basis and can result in innocent drivers being convicted, and in guilty drivers being released.


"There is understandably a strong desire by both lawmakers and the public to create legal limits for marijuana impairment in the same manner we do alcohol," said Marshall Doney, AAA's president and CEO. "In the case of marijuana, this approach is flawed and not supported by scientific research."


Another nine states, including some that have legalized marijuana for medical use, have zero-tolerance laws for driving and marijuana that make not only any presence of THC in a driver's blood illegal, but also the presence of its metabolites, which can linger in a driver's bloodstream for weeks after any impairment has dissipated.


That makes no sense, said Mark A. R. Kleiman, a New York University professor specializing in issues involving drugs and criminal policy. "A law against driving with THC in your bloodstream is not a law you can know you are obeying except by never smoking marijuana or never driving," he said.


The problem is that determining whether someone is impaired by marijuana, as opposed to having merely used the drug, is far more complex than the simple and reliable tests that have been developed for alcohol impairment.


The degree to which a driver is impaired by marijuana use depends a lot on the individual, the foundation said. Drivers with relatively high levels of THC in their systems might not be impaired, especially if they are regular users, while others with relatively low levels may be unsafe behind the wheel.


Some drivers may be impaired when they are stopped by police, but by the time their blood is tested they have fallen below the legal threshold because active THC dissipates rapidly. The average time to collect blood from a suspected driver is often more than two hours because taking a blood sample typically requires a warrant and transport to a police station or hospital, the foundation said.


In addition, frequent marijuana users can exhibit persistent levels of the drug long after use, while THC levels can decline more rapidly among occasional users.


Colorado's 5-nanogram limit for THC in blood "was picked out of thin air by politicians," said Robert Corry, a Denver criminal defense attorney. "Innocent people are convicted of DUI because of this."


Melanie Brinegar, who uses marijuana every day to control back pain, was stopped by police two years ago for having an expired license plate. The officer smelled marijuana and Brinegar acknowledged she had used the drug earlier in the day. Her blood test showed a level of 19 nanograms, well over the state limit. She was arrested and charged with driving while impaired.


Brinegar, 30, who lives in Denver, said she spent the next 13 months working 80 to 90 hours a week to pay for a lawyer to help her fight the charge and eventually was acquitted. People like herself will always test positive for THC whether they are high or not because of their frequent use, she said.


"It took a good amount of my time and my life," she said. "There is still that worry if I get pulled over (again)."


Studies show that using marijuana and driving roughly doubles the risk of a crash, Kleiman said. By comparison, talking on a hands-free cellphone while driving — legal in all states — quadruples crash risk, he said. A blood alcohol content of .12, which is about the median amount in drunken driving cases, increases crash risk by about 15 times, he said.


Driving with "a noisy child in the back of the car" is about as dangerous as using marijuana and driving, Kleiman said.


The exception is when a driver has both been using marijuana and drinking alcohol because the two substances together greatly heighten impairment, he said.

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DAYTON (WRGT) -- While Ohio gets closer to potentially legalizing medical marijuana there's a warning tonight about the impact that could have on our roads.

FOX 45 Reporter Christian Hauser shows us why it's been linked to an increase in deadly crashes.

It's a deadly trend showing up in Washington after the state legalized marijuana. There's been a spike in drivers with pot in their system who are involved in fatal crashes.

Marijuana has been legal in Washington State for more than three years.

"People are going to feel more freely to go out there and smoke and get behind the wheel," said Jesse Poe of Miamisburg.

New numbers just released show the number of drivers who recently used pot more than doubled in that time. And one in six drivers involved in a deadly crash had marijuana in their system.

"I feel like you're putting more people on the road that are distracted and maybe more slow to react to certain situations in the car and I think it definitely could cause more wrecks," Poe said.

Experts worry Washington is the rule not the exception when it comes to driver deaths and marijuana. But right now there's no accurate way to tell if a person who has used pot is impaired. Cops have to get a blood test and that can mean they have to get a warrant which can add hours for test results.

"There's a strong desire to find a good way to measure that but it can't be done the way we do alcohol impairment," AAA Public Affairs Manager Cindy Antrican said. "It doesn't behave the same and it doesn't affect the drivers the same."

There are already 24 states that have legalized medical marijuana. Ohio could be No. 25.

AAA is recommending a two-part test. It would detect if marijuana has been recently used but also focus on behavior to determine impairment.



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No scientific basis exists to legitimize current THC testing in place in five states who base their impaired driving standards on THC levels in blood. According to a study from auto club giant AAA’s safety foundation, a blood test threshold for THC — the chemical component of cannabis that makes people ‘high’ — is simply not scientifically possible.

Yet, in five of six states where cannabis is legal, the tests are used to determine whether or not drivers should be considered impaired. Those tests employ a blood level-based judgment similar to that used for determining alcohol impairment. But AAA found such tests for THC are wholly unreliable — sending potentially unimpaired drivers to jail and putting impaired drivers back behind the wheel.

“There is understandably a strong desire by both lawmakers and the public to create legal limits for marijuana impairment in the same manner we do alcohol,” said AAA president and CEO, Marshall Doney, as reported by the Associated Press. “In the case of marijuana this approach is flawed and not supported by scientific research.”

After discovering the tests had no value, the safety foundation recommended Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington simply ditch their THC impairment testing laws — and that other states considering similar laws abandon the proposed legislation.

As the study notes, determining actual impairment from THC consumption is quite different than for alcohol. Tolerance for the chemical would mean though a regular cannabis user might have high blood levels of THC, they are perfectly safe behind the wheel — while a relatively low THC blood level could be found in someone unfit to drive. 

Instead of what amounts to arbitrary blood testing, AAA recommends specialized law enforcement officers who would better observe behavior as a determination of impairment, which would then be backed up by THC blood testing. 


Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/bombshell-aaa-safety-foundation-finds-scientific-basis-thc-blood-impairs-driving/#jBuVybSYB2vPsuDa.99

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