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Law Driving/Road testing

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Scrap unreliable tests for driving on marijuana, AAA tells six U.S. states

By JOAN LOWYThe Associated Press
Tues., May 10, 2016



WASHINGTON—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 where medical or recreational marijuana use is legal — Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington — have set specific limits for THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes people high, in drivers’ blood. But the study by AAA’s safety foundation says the limits have no scientific basis and can result in innocent drivers being convicted, and 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.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Oral measurement of THC intoxication level is not feasible, study concludes

A recent investigation from the University of Marseille and the Service de Pharmacocinétique Toxicocinétique provides new important data for this ongoing debate

Cannabis legalization poses considerable risks for drivers and policy makers, with multiple investigations converging on the conclusion that cannabis intoxication increases road traffic accidents and fatalities, likely due to a reduction in attention, reaction speed, and judgement of drivers (for a Lift review of the research see here).

Countries around the globe have implemented a range of policies regulating driving under the influence of cannabis. For instance, Australia prohibits driving under any detectable level of THC, whereas Switzerland has a more lax limit of 2.2 ng/ml. Across the U.S., states have imposed limits ranging from zero to 5 ng/ml.

Arguments for a zero-level tolerance posit that exact measurement of cannabis blood levels is not possible due to technological limitations and a great variability in how individuals metabolize the drug, added to the fact that even low levels of cannabinoids can impair driving significantly (especially if other substances like alcohol are also ingested).

Arguments for specific limits, on the other hand, are centered around pragmatic factors and findings that THC and other cannabis metabolites can remain detectable for nearly a week, presumably long after any psychoactive effects can still be felt. Some concerns shared by both sides revolve around the need for blood samples for adequate ruling of intoxication, due to the associated medical risks.

A recent investigation from the University of Marseille and the Service de Pharmacocinétique Toxicocinétique provides new important data for this ongoing debate. The team, led by Dr. Amélie Marsot, described in great detail the pharmacokinetic profiles of THC and its metabolites in saliva, blood plasma, and urine during the first 72 hours. Their report can be accessed for free in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Eighteen male tobacco smokers and occasional cannabis users, aged 20 to 45 years, were recruited from the local community. Each participant underwent two treatments: a) tobacco cigarette as a control, and b) tobacco cigarette with 500 mg of cannabis (20mg of THC). To reduce differences in smoking technique, the participants followed a computerized procedure under medical supervision that explained how they should inhale the cigarette. The two treatments were separated by a 4-week washout period and randomly sorted in order to blind participants. Finally, they were asked to refrain from cannabis during the entire experiment as well as during the 28 days leading up to it.

In total, blood and oral fluids were collected 16 times each and urine was collected 6 times. The samples were tested for the presence of THC, 11-OH-THC (main psychoactive metabolic product of THC) and THC-COOH (inactive metabolite) with a minimum detection level of 1ng/ml.

The analysis yielded a wide variability in the levels of absorption, metabolism, and excretion of these metabolites. The maximum concentrations of THC ranged from 55.4 to an incredible 120000 ng/ml in saliva and 1.6 to 160 ng/ml in plasma, whereas the maximum plasma concentrations of the two metabolites varied 3 to 10 times less than this. Overall, THC salivary content was in no way indicative of THC blood content, nor were urinary samples. Other parameters such as time to maximum concentration and to last detectable concentration also varied widely across individuals.

The authors argue that oral and urinary samples can still be taken as evidence of recent use, but fail to specify what they subtend by it. In the study, half of the participants reached THC subthreshold levels in plasma in just 2 hours (maximum took 12 hours) against 18 hours in saliva (maximum took 48 hours). Urinary samples remained positive for even larger periods of time, and previous studies have shown that detection levels subsist up to 18 days after the administration of a single marijuana joint. It seems unclear what driving regulatory policy could be adopted that does not rely on blood sampling.

 
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Baron23

Well-Known Member
Oral measurement of THC intoxication level is not feasible, study concludes

A recent investigation from the University of Marseille and the Service de Pharmacocinétique Toxicocinétique provides new important data for this ongoing debate


Cannabis legalization poses considerable risks for drivers and policy makers, with multiple investigations converging on the conclusion that cannabis intoxication increases road traffic accidents and fatalities, likely due to a reduction in attention, reaction speed, and judgement of drivers (for a Lift review of the research see here).

Countries around the globe have implemented a range of policies regulating driving under the influence of cannabis. For instance, Australia prohibits driving under any detectable level of THC, whereas Switzerland has a more lax limit of 2.2 ng/ml. Across the U.S., states have imposed limits ranging from zero to 5 ng/ml.

Arguments for a zero-level tolerance posit that exact measurement of cannabis blood levels is not possible due to technological limitations and a great variability in how individuals metabolize the drug, added to the fact that even low levels of cannabinoids can impair driving significantly (especially if other substances like alcohol are also ingested).

Arguments for specific limits, on the other hand, are centered around pragmatic factors and findings that THC and other cannabis metabolites can remain detectable for nearly a week, presumably long after any psychoactive effects can still be felt. Some concerns shared by both sides revolve around the need for blood samples for adequate ruling of intoxication, due to the associated medical risks.

A recent investigation from the University of Marseille and the Service de Pharmacocinétique Toxicocinétique provides new important data for this ongoing debate. The team, led by Dr. Amélie Marsot, described in great detail the pharmacokinetic profiles of THC and its metabolites in saliva, blood plasma, and urine during the first 72 hours. Their report can be accessed for free in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Eighteen male tobacco smokers and occasional cannabis users, aged 20 to 45 years, were recruited from the local community. Each participant underwent two treatments: a) tobacco cigarette as a control, and b) tobacco cigarette with 500 mg of cannabis (20mg of THC). To reduce differences in smoking technique, the participants followed a computerized procedure under medical supervision that explained how they should inhale the cigarette. The two treatments were separated by a 4-week washout period and randomly sorted in order to blind participants. Finally, they were asked to refrain from cannabis during the entire experiment as well as during the 28 days leading up to it.

In total, blood and oral fluids were collected 16 times each and urine was collected 6 times. The samples were tested for the presence of THC, 11-OH-THC (main psychoactive metabolic product of THC) and THC-COOH (inactive metabolite) with a minimum detection level of 1ng/ml.

The analysis yielded a wide variability in the levels of absorption, metabolism, and excretion of these metabolites. The maximum concentrations of THC ranged from 55.4 to an incredible 120000 ng/ml in saliva and 1.6 to 160 ng/ml in plasma, whereas the maximum plasma concentrations of the two metabolites varied 3 to 10 times less than this. Overall, THC salivary content was in no way indicative of THC blood content, nor were urinary samples. Other parameters such as time to maximum concentration and to last detectable concentration also varied widely across individuals.

The authors argue that oral and urinary samples can still be taken as evidence of recent use, but fail to specify what they subtend by it. In the study, half of the participants reached THC subthreshold levels in plasma in just 2 hours (maximum took 12 hours) against 18 hours in saliva (maximum took 48 hours). Urinary samples remained positive for even larger periods of time, and previous studies have shown that detection levels subsist up to 18 days after the administration of a single marijuana joint. It seems unclear what driving regulatory policy could be adopted that does not rely on blood sampling.
Great article. Arguing that MJ use does not impact driving ability, and that the community should advocate for no tolerance for any testing, is just pissing up a tree and will not reassure others when arguing for legalization. The real issue is that detection of metabolites of cannabinoids (in any testing scenerio currently available) does NOT equate to intoxication and impairment of abilities. The alcohol model just can't be used.

This is an issue that will not go away.
 
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Killick

Well-Known Member
Meanwhile I carry at least one vape Anna a gram of ground herb all the time. And a bottle of tincture. And some infused oils. And sometimes infused edibles. Coffee is always embellished. C'mon self driving cars...
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Two U.S. studies differ over effects of marijuana on drivers

By Taylor Harris

n">Two U.S. studies on the effects of marijuana on drivers in states where it is allowed for recreational use came to different conclusions about whether it increases risks behind the wheel.

A study by the American Journal of Public Health published on Thursday looked at motor vehicle fatalities and found no significant increase in Colorado and Washington State, where recreational marijuana use is legal, compared with eight states where it is not legal that have similar populations, vehicle ownership, and traffic laws. Alabama, Kentucky and Texas were among the states in the comparison group.

“Our study focused on deaths and actually found what we expected going into this," Jason Adedoyte, lead author of the study said in a telephone interview. Adedoyte is a trauma surgeon at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

"Back in 2012 some argued that people would ride around in their cars crash and die. Our study proved that isn't true,"

he said.

The American Journal of Public Health examined data from 2009 to 2015 taken from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

In another study published on Wednesday, the Highway Loss Data Institute analyzed the frequency of car insurance collision claims in Washington, Colorado and Oregon, where recreational marijuana is also permitted.

It found a 3 percent increase in collision claims in those states compared with Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada, where it is not legal.

“In states that passed legislation approving the recreational use of marijuana, the data showed that there was a strong indicator that marijuana was a factor in considering the rise of claims,” Matt Moore, senior vice president of The Highway Loss Data Institute, said in a telephone interview.

The Institute examined about 2.5 million insurance collision claims from January 2012 and October 2016.

Mason Tvert, communication director of the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization group, questioned the methodology of the Institute's study.

“There’s no clear evidence that marijuana is a factor. It’s going to take several years and studies before we can determine that,” he said in a telephone interview.

The Institute's Moore defended its approach, saying, "We looked at the correlation of states with similar insurance claim frequencies, and the states we chose had the highest correlation.”

Federal law prohibits recreational use of marijuana in the country, however, it has been approved by eight states including Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California, Nevada and the District of Columbia.

As Benjamin Disraeli once said, there are: "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" .
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

For the Canadian spin on this topic:

MEDICAL CANNABIS AND IMPAIRED DRIVING: A PRELIMINARY REPORT

WATERLOO, ON, JUNE 27, 2017 – Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM), a national non-profit organization, released a first-of-its-kind preliminary research review on medical cannabis impaired driving – one of the major public safety concerns stemming from the legalization of non-medical cannabis.

The review situates the use of cannabis for medical purposes among research related to policy, prevalence, and risk of cannabis/THC impaired driving. The 200,000 legally authorized Canadians who are prescribed medical cannabis have important and distinct characteristics including dosing, strains, tolerance, methods of administration, and education received by their prescribing physicians. These factors, explored in the review, set medical cannabis patients apart from non-medical consumers and demonstrate this to be a key area left unexplored in previous impaired driving literature.

This preliminary review offers insight into how cannabis used for medical purposes relates to impaired driving, including the following topics:

DEFINING ‘IMPAIRMENT’

While CFAMM is fully against impaired driving and supports responsible driving legislation, the term “impairment” is widely used but is not always clearly defined. When speaking of impairment, crucial to this dialogue is speaking to actualimpairment of cognitive, psychomotor, and other functions necessary to safely drive – not simply a measure of previous use such as the presence of THC in blood. Unlike blood alcohol concentration, which is scientifically linked to levels of impairment, matching levels of impairment to levels of THC in one’s system is still widely debated and has not been studied related to medical cannabis use.

RISK OF MEDICAL CANNABIS IMPAIRED DRIVING

Although many studies have explored the risk of recreational or occasional use of cannabis related to driving impairment, few have studied the risk related to responsible medical use of cannabis. For most patients, the goal of medical cannabis use is not to experience its psychoactive effects, but rather to treat or manage symptoms of an illness using the smallest effective dose. Although it’s a limited example, a past study on the medical use of cannabis (Sativex) for multiple sclerosis identified better driving safety measures after the introduction of cannabis in patients’ treatment regimens, suggesting a need for further research on medical users. It is also important to note that U.S. states have recorded an 8-11% drop in overall traffic fatalities one year following the introduction of medical cannabis legislation.

DISTINCTIVE NATURE OF MEDICAL CANNABIS USE

Many medically authorized Canadians use cannabis daily or near daily to manage symptoms associated with their illness and are expected to follow advice from health care providers. This includes safe-use guidelines, such as waiting 4+ hours after consumption before driving, to help eliminate risk of potential impairment. The metabolism and effects of THC are highly variable from person-to-person and THC can remain detectable within a regular user’s blood for days after last consumption. The government’s proposal, which would set a per se cut-off of 2ng/ml THC at the lower end, means even when patients are not impaired, they would have to stop using their medicine for 3-7+ days before driving.

QUOTE

“Although driving is not a right but a privilege, patients who use cannabis responsibly and are not impaired should still be able to drive without risk or fear of being charged. It is necessary for the government to incentivize further research and include considerations for patients using cannabis. While a strict precautionary approach may be appropriate in light of limited evidence, policymakers have a responsibility to both safeguard road safety and balance the rights of medical cannabis patients to ensure they are not unfairly criminalized by drugged driving laws that do not target impairment.”

-Jonathan Zaid, Lead Author and Executive Director, CFAMM
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Trudeau government introduces sweeping changes to impaired driving laws
A drug-impaired driver could face up to 10 years in prison

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced major changes to the country's impaired driving laws Thursday, including provisions that will allow for mandatory roadside alcohol screening and new criminal offences for driving while high.

The legislation, introduced concurrently with the government's cannabis legalization bill, will allow police to demand a driver provide an "oral fluid sample" — saliva — if they suspect a driver is drug impaired. A positive reading could lead to further testing, including a blood test, to determine whether a criminal offence has been committed.

Three new drug-related offences will be also be created for drivers who have consumed drugs within two hours of driving. A driver who is found to have two nanograms but less than five nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood could face a maximum fine of up to $1,000 (THC is the primary psychoactive found in cannabis).

A driver who has a blood level of more than five nanograms of THC, or has been drinking alcohol and smoking pot at the same time, will face a fine and the possibility of jail time. In more serious cases, a drug-impaired driver could face up to 10 years if convicted.

The government did not specify which drug testing device it would recommend police use for enforcement, but other jurisdictions use the DrugWipe system, which can detect traces of cannabis, opiates, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamines (MDMA, ecstasy), benzodiazepines and ketamine.

'New and stronger laws'


"Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death and injury in Canada," Liberal MP Bill Blair, the government's pot legalization czar, said Thursday in announcing the legislation. "In order to further protect Canadians, our government has committed to creating new and stronger laws to punish more severely those who drive while impaired by cannabis, alcohol and other drugs."

"This bill, if its passes, will be one of strongest impaired-driving pieces of legislation in the world and I'm very proud of that," Wilson-Raybould added.

There is a video here in the original article link of:
Jody Wilson-Raybould says new impaired driving provisions are constitutional

However, by comparison, the European Union has a limit of just one nanogram of THC, and the United Kingdom has a limit of two nanograms. Australia and many U.S. states have zero tolerance, which effectively criminalizes driving with any detectable level of prohibited drugs in one's body.


Some researchers, including those at the U.S.-based National Institute on Drug Abuse, have suggested there is simply no adequate way to measure THC levels, or to determine just how drugged a person is in a roadside test.

Those concerns were shared by Conservative leadership contender Erin O'Toole.

"Public safety officials at all levels of government have outstanding concerns about how to implement marijuana legislation and how to manage the costs associated with it. Of great concern, [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau has not addressed the fact that there are no proven, reliable tests yet available for determining impairment from marijuana use," he said in a statement.

Mandatory alcohol breathalyzer testing
Police officers will also now be able to demand a breathalyzer sample from any driver they lawfully stop. Previously, a test could only be administered if an officer had "reasonable suspicion" that a driver was impaired by alcohol.

The government is making this change because its research shows many impaired drivers are able to escape detection at check stops. It is also aimed at reducing legal action over whether an officer actually had "reasonable suspicion" to ask a driver to blow on a device for a blood alcohol content reading.

'I am confident of constitutionality of mandatory roadside testing.'- Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould
The changes are part of the government's efforts to "repeal and replace" all transportation-related offences in the Criminal Code, with "a modern, simplified and coherent structure," according to literature provided by Health Canada.

"I will, as I do with all justice pieces of legislation, be tabling a charter statement. I am confident of constitutionality of mandatory roadside testing," Wilson-Raybould said. "This is not a device or a tool that doesn't exist in other places in the world. In fact, mandatory roadside testing in many countries has significantly reduced the number of deaths on highways. I think that is of paramount concern," she said.

Loopholes to be closed
New laws will also eliminate, or restrict, common defences used by drivers facing impaired-driving charges in court.

Currently, drivers can avoid fines or a criminal conviction by claiming they consumed alcohol just before or during driving, and thus were not over the legal limit at the time they were driving because the alcohol was not yet fully absorbed. They can claim it was only later, at the time of testing, that they reached an illegal blood alcohol concentration.

The government said, in a background document distributed to reporters, that it would close that loophole by changing the timeframe for blowing "over 80" from "at the time of driving" to within two hours of driving.

Over 80 refers to a blood alcohol limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitre of blood, or as it is commonly known, .08 blood alcohol concentration.

The justice minister also announced changes to the provincial interlock programs, a system of in-car alcohol breath screening devices that prevent a vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.

Currently, a first-time offender has to wait a year before being admitted to an ignition interlock program in order to be able to drive again.

The proposed legislation would reduce the time offenders must wait before they can return to driving; there would be no wait for a first offence, three months for a second offence and six months for a subsequent offence.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Cannabis Report Finds Medical Users in Canada are at Risk of Failing Impaired Driving Tests
INN had the chance to speak with Jonathan Zaid, executive director of CFAM to get a better understanding of the report.

A preliminary research report released June 27 from the Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAM) group shows that under current laws, medical cannabis users could face impaired driving charges through a method which doesn’t accurately test them.

Co-authored by Jonathan Zaid, founder and executive director of CFAM and Jenna Valleriani, a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo, the report highlights the need to differentiate from recreational passive users to medical users to accurately test impaired driving by authorities.

“Failing to consider medical users as a distinct group in developing policy may lead to the unfair criminalization of this population,” the report stated.

A Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC) report published in March found the detection of cannabis-related impaired driving was unclear at the time of testing to accurately differentiate medical use.

Blood concentration of cannabis has been reliably linked to impaired driving capacity, allowing physiological measurement to be used as a proxy for functional impairment; a threshold level of a THC concentration of 7-10 ng/mL in serum in blood appears to indicate driving impairment, however it is difficult to interpret so as to generate a precise comparison to the per se level set for alcohol.

Zaid told the Investing News Network (INN) that, thanks to the work at CFAM, he has been able to meet with countless patients who have expressed concerns regarding the upcoming legalization bill in Canada. He said because of the way impaired driving tests are conducted in regards to cannabis, medical patients don’t end up being well represented in the law, which he adds is in desperate need of an update.

“We don’t want to see anybody driving impaired or any kind of unsafe driving, but at the same time, we want to see a way that would consider the evidence that does or does not exist,” Zaid said.

With that in mind, INN had the opportunity to talk with Zaid about the preliminary report, any potential suggestions to the federal government of Canada and the methodology of CFAM’s research. The transcript of this interview has been edited for clarity and brevity. Read on below to find out what Zaid had to say.

INN: What is the main finding of your research?

Jonathan Zaid: The research was one of the first reviews to look at medical cannabis and driving as it relates to the impairment caused by cannabis. Within the context of medical use, there are certain considerations such as both administration and the education patients receive from physicians that differ in how impairment may actually exist in the real world. We looked at these considerations as well as policy and other jurisdictions and found that there’s a lack of evidence related to medical cannabis specific impairment.

“Patients would need to wait between three to seven days before driving”
INN: The report talks about the need almost for new vocabulary, almost, when it comes to impaired driving related to medical cannabis.


JZ: The terminology we use is very important. When speaking of impairment in the report, we define [it] as a function–such as psychomotor or a clog in the functions–necessary for one to safely drive. This means if you consume a drug and your reaction times are slower or you’re not able to do so safely, then that’s impaired driving by a drug, versus considering the proposed legislation by the government. They are looking at levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) within the blood and we found [that’s] not necessarily a sign of impairment, that’s a sign of the recent use of cannabis.

INN: Why do you think that’s the way legislation plans on regulating impaired driving in terms of medical cannabis if it’s inefficient?

JZ: In terms of the government’s plan we looked at the different aspects of it. [We] found that based on a two nanogram cutoff THC, patients would need to wait between three to seven days before driving in order to not exceed that level of THC [in] their system. What this means is, even though patients are responsibly using cannabis, listening to the guidelines given by their doctors to not drive while impaired, waiting a safe amount of time before driving after any consumption of cannabis … they would still possibly be charged under the [illegal] limits that are not related to impairment, but just simply [having] a presence of THC within the body.

INN: Is your organization in a place to propose any recommendations or alterations to the government’s current policy?

JZ: At this time we just conducted preliminary research review to get an understanding of the topic. We’re going to use this opportunity to have an open and informed based conversation about cannabis and impaired driving as it relates to the medical use, which is something that I think a lot of people don’t necessarily consider. At this time we don’t have policy recommendations but in the Fall we do hope to release some recommendations that will hopefully allow for patients who are using cannabis responsibly to be able to drive when not impaired. What that means is that when someone isn’t impaired by their use of cannabis they shouldn’t be subject to criminal sanctions that target THC within the system.


INN: Based on all the information you’re telling me, it sometimes feels as though despite this rush for full cannabis legalization, a policy–and at times a cultural shift– hasn’t really taken place throughout every level of government.


JZ: Exactly. The report looked at those potential implications and the evidence-based behind it. Part of this is we need [need to do] more research specific to medical cannabis use and how it impairs or does not impair a driver. Almost all of the research looks at the risk associated with occasional recreational use; it’s not looking at a regular daily consumer of medical cannabis, which is much different than someone who may just use it once in awhile–there’s a different dosing and a different tolerance. There are many potential implications that make impairment by medical cannabis different, so that needs to be further explored.

“There are implications on the medical cannabis perspective that really need to be talked a lot more”
INN: Have you had the opportunity to evaluate or look at cannabis breathalyzers that some companies have been working on? Do you think these could provide an ideal option to better recognize patients?


JZ: The report explored briefly about oral swab testing as well as blood testing, it didn’t review any of the devices that are in development right now like the breathalyzer that you mention, but again all of these kinds of tests are [set] to test THC in one system and possibly how much THC is in one system. Even if they are accurate, we still don’t have the linkage to what THC in one system means in terms of impairment. With alcohol and blood-alcohol content [there] is a very well established correlation between blood alcohol content and impairment versus THC which is highly variable from person to person. Even if we have a very accurate device that tests how much THC is within one system we still need to be able to have scientific evidence to then link that to an impairment.

INN: So essentially THC was made the equivalent of alcohol blood levels for cannabis users, but that’s really not the proper representation of impaired driving?

JZ: Yeah exactly so I mean it would be great to use that system with cannabis if it was equally as accurate but it’s not, at least at this point we don’t have the evidence to support in the same way we do with alcohol. The Government of Canada has a precautionary principle when approaching policy, where even if there is no the evidence they would rather take the precautionary approach. The difficulty when we talk about patients using it is the precautionary approach could potentially limit their ability to use the medicine at any point even though they may not be impaired. There are implications on the medical cannabis perspective that really need to be talked a lot more.

INN: Thank you for your time Jonathan.

 

GreenHopper

20 going on 60
UK: Roadside Breathalyser That Can Test For Cannabis Created By Scientists

Motorists could soon be blowing into a bag by the side of the road to test as scientists have finally discovered a way to instantly detect THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

A reliable breathalyzer for arresting stoned drivers is on the horizon after a breakthrough by scientists. It is based on a technique developed to foil airport terrorists as at the moment the results of a blood test can take up to 24 hours.

Now, for the first time, a research team has managed to measure the 'vapor pressure' of THC, one of its fundamental physical properties.

The feat has not been accomplished before, because of the compound's unusual chemical structure. Just one puff on a spliff puts a driver over the limit.

Chemical engineer Dr Tara Lovestead, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Maryland, said: "Vapor pressure describes how a compound behaves when it transitions from a liquid to a gas.

"That's what happens in your lungs when a molecule leaves the blood to be exhaled in your breath. So if you want to accurately measure blood levels based on breath, you need to know the vapor pressure."

Roadside collection of blood or urine is impractical and invasive which is why companies have been working on developing a marijuana breathalyzer for years.

Testing for the drug is much more complicated than alcohol. Dr Lovestead hopes her team's research will lay the technical groundwork for an accurate device.

Alcohol has easy to measure high vapor pressure, responsible for the immediate whiff of booze when you open a whisky bottle, for instance.

But THC molecules are much larger and more complex, with loops and spurs that cause them to stick together, resulting in very low vapor pressure that can't be measured in the usual way,

The researchers used a technology called PLOT-cryo (porous layer open tubular cryogenic adsorption) which uses frozen gas to identify chemicals based on the make up of vapors released into nearby air.

Co author Dr Tom Bruno said: "PLOT-cryo is an extremely sensitive technique for capturing and analyzing things in the vapor phase. It was a natural candidate for this type of problem."

He invented PLOT-cryo eight years ago - and airport security staff now use it to sniff passengers or luggage for traces of explosives.

It has since been used to sniff fire debris for evidence of arson and to find clandestine graves by following the faintest scent of decomposition.

It is so sensitive it can analyze even the relatively few molecules of THC that escape as vapor.

In experiments they swept a harmless gas across a sample to capture them, then chilled the gas to collect them.

By measuring their mass in a known volume and temperature, the researchers calculated the vapor pressure as well as a second compound, cannabidiol, which is less psychoactive.

Accurate vapor pressure measurements for THC will help ensure marijuana breathalyzers are calibrated to a consistent standard.

Added Bruno: "Fundamental measurements are the basis of standardization. We are laying the foundation for the reliable systems of the future."

The study published in Forensic Chemistry said the next step is to understand how breath levels of THC correlate with blood levels, and the amount that indicates a person is too impaired to drive.

THC stimulates cells in the brain to release dopamine, creating a happy feeling, but can also cause hallucinations, delusions and affect rational thinking.

On average, the effects last for around two hours.

Taking drugs affects people's driving skills, and can give them slower reaction times, nausea, hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, 'the shakes,' dizziness and fatigue.

It affects their ability to concentrate properly, which could increase their chance of having a road accident.

Penalties for drug driving include a minimum 12 month driving ban, criminal record, a fine of up to £5,000 and/or six months in prison.



The problem is, not everyone is affected by the actives in cannabis in the same way so even if they can detect the substances it's not a true indication of a drivers impairment. Guess it doesn't matter so much in the UK where there is a zero tolerance policy in place.
 

turk

Active Member
...it's not an accurate test....and they don't care...they just want to have a established system in place....for legal and liability purposes...
...I was married (one time) to a assist d.a...when the alcohol laws went into effect (yeah, I'm that old to remember (easily) when there was less real enforcement )....my wife told me, she never uses the word drunk in court...you are over the limit...think about it for a second...it's a arbitrary designation agreed upon by law (a number)...that if you're tested, and you're above it...you are guilty...whether you are "drunk"...inebriated...tipsy or completely unaffected is of no importance...if you are above this number...it's all over....
...I do NOT operate a motor vehicle if I have had a alcoholic beverage....can't do it....I mean, I will...be stopped...(I'm black...so there's that...)
...to think that the incompetent boobs (that keep getting elected) will come up with a better system for evaluating this...well I see NO evidence...that's going to happen....
 

GreenHopper

20 going on 60
...it's not an accurate test....and they don't care...they just want to have a established system in place....for legal and liability purposes...
...I was married (one time) to a assist d.a...when the alcohol laws went into effect (yeah, I'm that old to remember (easily) when there was less real enforcement )....my wife told me, she never uses the word drunk in court...you are over the limit...think about it for a second...it's a arbitrary designation agreed upon by law (a number)...that if you're tested, and you're above it...you are guilty...whether you are "drunk"...inebriated...tipsy or completely unaffected is of no importance...if you are above this number...it's all over....
...I do NOT operate a motor vehicle if I have had a alcoholic beverage....can't do it....I mean, I will...be stopped...(I'm black...so there's that...)
...to think that the incompetent boobs (that keep getting elected) will come up with a better system for evaluating this...well I see NO evidence...that's going to happen....
Unfortunately I think everything you said is true. They want a yard stick to beat you with even if that stick hideously inaccurate.

EDIT:

What really concerns me are the possible false positives that can occur due to daily use. I may not have had any for over 12hrs and be completely clear/capable but still test positive.
 

herbivore21

Well-Known Member
The Institute's Moore defended its approach, saying, "We looked at the correlation of states with similar insurance claim frequencies, and the states we chose had the highest correlation.”
And the institutes' Moore fucked up in his defense of this approach, since every science student who has finished their first year at college will tell you that correlation does not equal causation.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
This pertains to members in the U.S.......

Infographic: Know Your Rights When Driving With Cannabis


Getting pulled over by law enforcement while you’ve got a stash of cannabis on board presents a very delicate situation. Depending on which state you’re being pulled over in, the penalties for possessing cannabis can range from a small fine to six months (or more) in jail. There are no guarantees when it comes to transporting cannabis (even within a legal state), so just in case, keep this handy checklist on hand to make sure you know your rights:

Know Your Rights:
You have the right to remain silent.
If you prefer not to speak, you have a right to, so long as you present your license and registration and otherwise cooperate with the traffic stop. This may not go over well with the officer, but you can also stick to short, one-word answers.

You do not have to consent to a search.
The best, most direct course of action is to simply say, “Officer, I have nothing to hide, but I don’t consent to any searches.” Officers may try to convince drivers that they just need to “take a quick look” in your trunk or backseat, but you do not have to consent to a search, which means they’ll need probable cause or a search warrant.

Keep your cannabis locked up tight.
The best way to transport cannabis is in a scent-proof container in your trunk. Treat it like liquor–no open containers in the car, and keep it in a secure location, out of sniffing distance of roadside officers.

The smell of marijuana can be considered probable cause for a search of your vehicle or person.
In Arizona, a court ruling overturned a marijuana possession case in 2013, finding that the scent of cannabis alone does not constitute probable cause for a search. However, in many states, the odor of cannabis is enough for an officer to believe that a crime is being committed and that searching the car may reveal the crime. Keeping your cannabis in an odor-proof container (ideally in the trunk) is the safest way to avoid this scenario.

You may ask if you’re free to go at any time.
If you’ve done nothing wrong and the officer has not searched your vehicle, or has searched your vehicle and turned up empty-handed, ask politely, “Officer, am I being detained or am I free to go?” If they have no reason to detain you, be persistent. “Officer, am I free to go?”

You have the right to ask for a lawyer.
If you’re not free to go, you are being detained. At this point, the first thing you should do is request a lawyer. “I’m going to remain silent, and I would like to see a lawyer.” This will protect you from further questioning by the police and allow you the chance to seek legal counsel before proceeding. It’s also a very smart plan to keep the business card or phone number for a lawyer in your wallet, just in case of a legal emergency.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Stoned Driving: Marijuana DUIs Leave Lawmakers Dazed & Confused

America's history with marijuana is lengthy and fraught with hiccups. After decades of prohibition, the doorway of decriminalization paved the path for legal pot.

Weed is legal for recreational use in eight states plus DC. 20 states allow medical marijuana, and most of the remaining states decriminalized the drug. More states are currently pushing for full legalization.

The change in legality has led to some growing pains for lawmakers and police. Chief among them is how to handle stoned drivers. Many current testing methods have inherent flaws. Accurately diagnosing and prosecuting drivers impaired by pot is a challenge.

Legal cannabis is slowly becoming common. But it's still illegal at the federal level. The lack of standards and peer-reviewed studies makes pioneering states testing grounds for legal weed.

Current Climate of Cannabis and Cars
As legalization picks up steam across multiple states, studies and stats trickle in. Here are key findings:

  • Pew Research survey reveals that 57 percent of Americans currently support legalization. That's a huge leap from 16 percent in 1990. This gap that will increase.
  • Columbia University found that drunk drivers are 16 times more likely to get in a fatal accident than drivers who test positive for pot.
  • Center for Disease Control says that marijuana users are 25 percent more likely to get in an accident. They stress that factors like age and gender may play a role in higher crash rates.
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says collision claim frequency in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon rose by three percent. They say that recreational cannabis is the main culprit behind the increase.
  • American Journal of Public Health, on the other hand, found no increase in fatality or crash rates in Colorado and Washington.
It's difficult to draw conclusions about the affects of legalization. More studies will paint a clearer picture as recreational cannabis reaches more states. Some current findings seem to contradict each other, perhaps due to study controls and conclusions.

It's also not yet clear how weed impacts motor skills. The NCBI found that “most marijuana-intoxicated drivers show modest impairments on actual road tests." A driving simulation by the NIDA shows that stoned drivers suffer slight cognitive difficulties.

Law enforcement, as a result, struggle with accurately testing and applying laws to reefer users. It’s a double faceted problem: we don't have proper drug testing methods largely because we don't completely understand cannabis. It's no surprise that many current cannabis DUI testing methods are under fire.

Today, states use two approaches to test stoned drivers: per se or effect-based laws. Both tests face criticism. "Neither type of test is accurate because neither is validated to detect marijuana impairment," says Jolene Forman, staff attorney with the Drug Policy Alliance.

Per Se DUI laws lack science
Per se laws, or THC threshold tests, are controversial. They set a limit for how much cannabis can be in a person's system while driving. If tests find a specific trace amount of THC in the driver, they are deemed impaired.

Contrary to other tests, per se DUIs do not require any signs of impairment. And the science behind them is contentious.

"THC threshold tests only measure, at best, whether a person has consumed marijuana at some point in the past few days," says Forman. Many others share her opinion.

"Such laws are generally unpopular because science has not validated the presence of specific thresholds of substances other than alcohol as predictors of driver impairment," says Paul Armentano, NORML's deputy director. NORML is an advocacy group focused on drug law reform.

Failing a per se sobriety test doesn't guarantee that a driver is high. Most states with per se DUI laws have set the limit at five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. Critics of the laws claim that limit is arbitrary. They also contend that THC measurements are inherently inaccurate.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agrees. "It is difficult to establish a relationship between a person's THC blood or plasma concentration and performance impairing effects," their study concludes. "It is inadvisable to try and predict effects based on blood THC concentrations alone."

People metabolize marijuana and alcohol differently. Daily pot users will have THC in their blood long after use. They can fail a per se DUI test without recently using cannabis. Cases where a sober driver gets a drug driving chargeare already happening in per se states.

"Marijuana may be detected hours, days, or even weeks after use, long after any possible impairment has dissipated," says Forman. "This would be equivalent to a test showing that a person had a glass of wine or some beer nights or even weeks prior. It would tell you very little about whether the person is presently impaired," she concludes.

"[Users] can test positive for four days for infrequent users, and up to ten days for daily users," says Ravi Spaarenberg, CEO of Sensi Seeds. "This clearly does not provide a conclusive answer to the question if the person was in fact under the influence of cannabis while driving."

Here are the biggest criticisms of per se pot laws:

  • Not scientifically sound. There aren't widely accepted levels of impairment for cannabis like alcohol. Heavy users can have illegal amounts of THC in their system without using any pot.
  • Doesn't account for tolerance. Five nanograms of THC, the legal limit, impacts people differently.
  • No consensus. There are various sobriety tests like hair, urine, or blood analysis. Each tests may analyze different cannabis compounds, and they can contradict one another. Standardized tests backed by science are necessary.
  • Risk of false positives. Equipment and technology to determine intoxication aren't foolproof.
Disputing effect-based DUI laws
Some states forego THC threshold tests in favor of effect-based tests. This requires evidence of impaired driving. Courts must also prove that impaired performance was due to cannabis. Like per se laws, effect-based laws come with their fair share of criticism and debate.

When a cop pulls over a suspected drunk driver, they look for visual clues. Slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, decreased motor skills, and the smell of alcohol are some indicators. With the exception of red eyes and a potential smell, stoned drivers don't give off such clues.

"When law enforcement stop a vehicle and interact with the driver, it is often very difficult to tell if a person is under the influence of marijuana," says attorney Matt Pinsker.

Even with obvious signs of impaired driving, it's not easy to tie it weed. Law enforcement don't have standardized THC test kits and detection techniques. This is partly due to the recency of legalization.

"There are a host of problems with drug testing techniques and analyses, including the substantial risk of false positive test results, false negative test results, specimen contamination; and chain of custody, storage, and re-testing issues," says Forman.

"THC tests are unreliable and often incorrect," she continues. "Chemical testing, like many other forensic disciplines, is highly technical and imperfect."

The discrepancies with these tests make prosecuting pot DUIs a challenge.

Courts struggle to convict users
Changing sobriety standards, no caselaw to reference, and unreliable test methods make prosecuting pot DUIs a challenge.

"Cases are more complicated to prosecute and take considerably longer than a classic drunk driving case," says attorney Todd Spodek. Courts across the country have trouble proving that stoned drivers are too stoned to drive.

There are several examples of overturned marijuana DUI charges:

  • Unscientific nanogram limits: Several drivers have successfully argued that their DUIs were based on inaccurate nanogram levels.
  • Faulty impairment recognition: One officer in Georgia made over 90 DUI arrests in 2016. Judges dismissed many charges after further testing invalidated his findings.
  • Medical exceptions: Drivers with medical marijuana authorizations get extra leeway in some states.
  • Improper testing: Some police use inappropriate methods to entice a confession. Without proof of impairment, that confession is less convincing.
Why is it so difficult to properly identify stoned drivers?
We're still learning the science behind the psychoactive properties of pot. According to the NCPIP, there are more than 480 natural components in cannabis, 66 of which are unique chemicals known as cannabinoids. They're divided into the following subclasses:

  • Cannabigerols (CBG)
  • Cannabichromenes (CBC)
  • Cannabidiols (CBD)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC)
  • Cannabinol (CBN) and cannabinodiol (CBDL)
  • Other cannabinoids (such as cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin (CBE), and cannabitriol (CBT)
Studies have found that the cannabinoid most responsible for making users feel 'high' is THC. THC is fat-soluble while alcohol is water-soluble. This means that THC takes much longer to breakdown. Essentially, THC stores itself in your fat cells while alcohol dissolves quickly through your liver.

Failing an alcohol breathalyzer means alcohol is active in your system. But finding THC in your bloodstream doesn't mean said THC is active.

THC metabolizes into two main forms: 11-OH-THC, or hydroxy-THC and THC-COOH, or carboxy-THC. THC-COOH, unlike THC, is not psychoactive. Conversely, 11-OH-THC, the active metabolite of THC, has psychoactive properties.

A urine test may reveal THC-COOH in the system, but that doesn't prove that 11-OH-THC is present. Drug tests that look for THC-COOH, therefore, aren't conclusive in determining impairment.

THC-COOH is easier to detect for a longer period. Some lawmakers don't understand the nuances of THC, thus many sobriety tests look for any form of THC. And tests become even murkier when factoring varying levels of tolerance or ingestion methods.

We need more studies to fully understand the science of how we ingest marijuana and how it impacts driving. That's why many people advocate for new approaches to testing stoned drivers.

Improving Marijuana DUI Laws
It's clear that current approaches to determining cannabis intoxication fall short. The lack of conclusive tests make prosecuting stoned drivers a challenge.

"These tests are so unscientific that they both under and over punish drivers," says Forman. She states that, due to testing and prosecuting inconsistencies, innocent drivers can be incorrectly punished. Similarly, actual stoned drivers may beat sobriety tests or have their cases dropped.

What can lawmakers do to improve marijuana DUI tests? For starters:

  • Improve technology: Current testing methods aren't foolproof. Authorities should study and invest in new tech. Several startups hope to develop better methods, but their efficacy isn't yet known.
  • Better training: Law enforcement must work to better recognize symptoms of reefer impairment. New equipment should also be incorporated.
  • Understanding cannabis: More marijuana studies are absolutely necessary. Since the plant is illegal on a federal level, research grants and funding is hard to come by. As legalization becomes common, more studies will unearth new findings.
Marijuana DUI Statistics
There are some studies on stoned driving in legal states. These are their findings:

  • Washington Traffic Safety Commision: Studied toxicology reports from 1,773 fatal accidents between 2010 and 2014.
    • 60 percent of drivers tested positive for alcohol, pot, or other drugs.
    • Eight percent of drivers tested positively for only marijuana.
    • In 2014, 84 percent of pot-positive drivers had hydroxy-THC in their system. Of those, about half exceeded the five nanogram legal limit.
    • THC positive drivers were involved in more daytime crashes. Alcohol accidents, on the other hand, frequently occurred in the night.
  • Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation: Examined data from the Colorado Department of Transportation.
    • Less than eight percent of DUI citations involved solely weed.
    • 12.3 percent of all drivers in fatal crashes tested positive for cannabis. 32.7 percent tested positive for alcohol.
    • Total number of cannabis DUIs decreased by 1.3 percent from 2014 to 2015.
These are some of the first marijuana DUI statistics and studies. In reality, there isn't much concrete information yet. It's difficult to make definitive statements about the impacts of pot after only a few years of legality. Time will reveal more trends and correlations.

What to do if Arrested for Marijuana DUI
Without an accurate measure of THC levels, drivers must simply drive when they feel sober. So, police are more conscious of stoned drivers, and they charge more drivers with marijuana DUIs.

If you are pulled over and arrested for driving high, you automatically consent to take a blood test. You do have the option to refuse the blood test. This requires a hearing with the department of licensing that can result in a long license suspension. Some attorneys recommend taking the blood test, as murky weed DUI laws could work in your favor:

“There is little case law on the admissibility of marijuana chemical tests in New York. Therefore the statute would guide that if a driver consented to a test, there is a strong case for admissibility” says Kimberly Anne Palesz Defense and Family Law.

A good lawyer can question the process leading to a DUI arrest, including poking holes in the testing process. As we know, today's testing methods aren't reliable.

"Although Field Sobriety Tests can be somewhat reliable for marijuana, unlike the breath test in the field for alcohol, there is no scientific instrument which measures levels of THC in the field," says Pinsker.

Just because you’ve been arrested for a pot DUI doesn’t mean you can’t save money on car insurance. Compare auto insurance quotes from multiple auto insurance companies and lower your insurance rates.

Fighting a Marijuana DUI
Regardless of the specifics of your case, hiring a competent DUI lawyer is a must. They give you a much higher chance of getting a good case result. Not only that, but our research shows that DUI lawyers are always worth the cost.

The newly imposed laws give authorities more ground to charge you with a DUI. That said, you’re also more likely to beat the DUI charge. Lawyers can question the legitimacy of the blood test to see if officers use proper procedure. In most states, only a few labs have approval for blood tests.

“DUI Marijuana cases are much easier to defend. If an attorney knows the science behind the chemical testing, DUI marijuana is typically one of the easiest cases to win,” says criminal attorney Michael A. Dye.

In states that don’t have a legal limit, it’s even easier to prove your innocence in court.

"It’s not enough to merely suspect someone has consumed marijuana. In the absence of an admission or a blood test, it can be very difficult if not impossible to prove that this person has used marijuana," says criminal defense attorney Glenn Kurtzrock.

Even with a positive test, authorities must prove that poor driving is due to intoxication. This has led to some novel and interesting cases by defendants in cannabis DUI cases.

“One position that many defendants take is to state they are frequent users of marijuana, therefore even if they test above 5 nanograms of active THC they are still not impaired,” says Lindsey Parlin a Colorado attorney.

What Happens if Convicted of a Marijuana DUI
Weed-related driving laws in many states are ambiguous. This can give you an advantage in court. However, there is still a very real chance you will be convicted of a pot DUI.

A pot DUI carries the same criminal punishment as an alcohol-related DUI. But it can result in greater fines and jail time due to marijuana’s drug classification.

While legal in some states, the DEA still classifies reefer as a Schedule 1 drug. Marijuana DUI penalties can lead to greater fines or jail time depending on the offense.

Aside from fines and jail time, the state can suspend your license. After license suspension, the state notifies your insurer. This will impact your policy in a negative way.

Insurers will likely classify you as a high-risk driver. This increases your car insurance premiums for up to seven years. Depending on your driving history, your insurer could cancel your policy.

In some states, you may need to file for an SR-22. An SR-22 proves that you have purchased the state minimum amount of coverage. Don’t let a weed DUI force you to overpay for car insurance.

DUI’s are expensive. The whole process on average costs $10,000 and another $5,000 in car insurance rate increases! If you get a pot DUI, it pays to compare quotes from other companies. Your current insurer may no longer offer you good deals, but there may be companies that have better rates for you.

The Future of High Driving
There's a gold rush to come up with a scientifically sound pot sobriety test. From experimental breathalyzers to sobriety test apps and saliva swabs, the race is on.

"Unfortunately, no one has come close to perfecting the technology for an accurate cannabis breathalyzer," says Rebecca Gasca, CEO of Pistil and Stigma.

Advocates stress that there's no golden goose for cannabis detection. A sound detection policy needs a bottom-up approach with several different recognition methods.

"These include greater use of drug recognition evaluators, the use of modified roadside field sobriety tests, the provisional use of use of roadside cannabis-sensitive detection technology, such as saliva test or breath test, and the provisional use of handheld performance technology," says Armentano.

As more and more states open the door to recreational pot, we will learn more about cannabis and driving. The pioneer states are crucial in guiding the conversation to form sensible policy for dealing with stoned drivers.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
On another forum there was a very lively, and sometimes heated, discussion of driving baked. Now, I fully understand the extreme limits of current THC field testing products and, in particular, that they really only measure metabolites which may remain detectable for up to 4-6 weeks and IN NO WAY ARE AN ACCURATE INDICATOR OF INEBRIATION OR IMPAIRMENT. I do get that and agree wholeheartedly.

But I just can't accept the position of some that they should be able to drive high without consquences and many have opined that they 'think' they drive better baked than not. I would, in return, throw out the question of whether they would be happy if their A-300 pilot or neurosurgeon was baked before doing their job. The reply was often, and I summarize impressions and do not quote, that driving isn't as critical and its not like having 300 passenger's lives in your hands.

I attended my aunt's funeral yesterday. She was in Lancaster County, PA which is fairly rural in areas with a lot of two lane, curvy, country roads. A fella in a pickup crossed into her lane on a curve, hit her head on, he was killed instantly while she lingered for a day or so before passing. We have no idea if he suffered a stroke, had a heart attack, was distracted with his phone, just lost control of his vehicle, or was perhaps drunk or high. We have no idea.

However, as I stood at the grave site looking at my three wonderful cousins....my aunt's sons.....as they cried in their devastation; I once again thought about throwing the bullshit flag on people who defend driving impaired...on anything at all. I once again confronted the personal agony that results from such accidents and once again am reminded of the VERY HIGH level of responsibility I have when behind the wheel and the terrible impact of doing otherwise as it spreads pain and loss far and wide.

Ok, I'm done with my rant.



Nearly half of all Americans worry about this if marijuana is legalized

The marijuana industry is growing like wildfire, at least according to data from cannabis research firm ArcView. Sales of legal weed in the North American market grew by 34% to $6.9 billion last year, and they're slated to grow by 26% annually through 2021. By that time we could be talking about a legal cannabis market that's worth $22 billion.

Leading this sales charge has been a major shift in the way the public views cannabis. In 1979, according to a CBS News poll, just 27% of respondents were in favor of legalizing pot nationally. This percentage stayed fairly consistent throughout the 1980s and 1990s during the War on Drugs campaign. However, the April 2017 survey showed support at an all-time high of 61%. Presumably, the more people who want to see weed legalized, the more pressure that'll be put on elected officials in Washington to make changes to its scheduling.

47% of Americans fear this if weed is legalized

However, despite this call for legalization among a majority of Americans, a fairly recent survey from national pollster Gallup shows that nearly of half of all people share one common fear if cannabis is legalized. Namely, 47% worry about what'll happen to drivers behind the wheel if access to marijuana becomes as easy as heading to your local convenience store.

The June 2017 survey asked a random sample of 1,007 adults across the U.S. whether they believed legalizing pot would make the roads: "a lot less safe," "a little less safe," or "not make much difference. Though exactly half of all respondents believed it wouldn't make much difference, 47% believed that legalizing marijuana would have negative consequences on driver safety, including 30% who believe it'll make things "a lot less safe."

One of the biggest issues with legalizing marijuana is that there are no established parameters to determine what comprises a legal amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the blood versus what doesn't. THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis.

For example, there's a well-defined line in the sand when we're talking about alcohol consumption. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.08%, and you're stopped by a peace officer, you're likely going for a ride downtown. Even if your BAC is under 0.08%, you can still be arrested and charged if you appear impaired.

By comparison, there are no guidelines for what level of THC is or isn't acceptable. Making matters more complicated, THC can stick around in the bloodstream for days or weeks, which isn't something that alcohol will do. Thus, blood tests could turn up THC for a driver days, or even weeks, after use, making it difficult for peace officers to determine when the marijuana use actually occurred. This isn't to say that dual breathalyzers that can detect alcohol and marijuana aren't in development, but they still have a ways to go before they have a shot of becoming mainstream.

There are other worries, too

Of course, driving under the influence of cannabis is far from the only concern. There are also worries about what might happen if a home-grow option is available, which would be an expectation of a full legalization bill. Growing cannabis plants at home can certainly help bring down marijuana costs, but it also, presumably, gives adolescents easier access to marijuana. A few studies have shown that adolescent use of cannabis can adversely impact long-term memory. To be clear, there's still a lot to be learned about how marijuana can affect the developing brains of teens, but initial evidence suggests it's clearly not all good news.

There are environment and electrical grid concerns, too. A 2012 study from scientist Evan Mills, Ph.D., at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found at the time that 1% of all electricity demand in the U.S. came from existing cannabis farms. Remember, this is before eight states had legalized recreational marijuana. If the entire country legalized pot, the strain on electrical grids as a result of the high-pressure sodium lights often used to grow cannabis plants would be enormous.

The chances marijuana will be rescheduled are slim to none

For those folks who share these concerns, you'll be happy to know that the chances the U.S. will legalize marijuana anytime soon are very, very small. For the majority of you who favor legalization in polls, this may not be such great news.

The heart of the resistance lies with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in May requested that congressional leaders repeal the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. This is the amendment that protects cannabis businesses in legal states from federal prosecution. This request from Sessions signals that he'll pretty much stop at nothing to slow or halt the expansion of marijuana.

Capitol Hill also has very little incentive to take up cannabis legislation, even with the public in support of such a move. Lawmakers are spending most of their time in Washington discussing tax or healthcare reform measures, and there's very little room on the docket for marijuana at the moment. It's also unclear whether President Trump would support marijuana's expansion. Back in February, now-former White House press secretary Sean Spicer intimated that a toughening stance from the Trump administration on marijuana should be expected in the future.

What could change politicians' minds? My guess is we'd need to see a plethora of Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical data that outlines the benefits and risks of cannabis. It's possible that if support of cannabis increases enough, and politicians run the risk of being voted out of office if they don't conform to the will of the people, we could see change. But I don't believe we're anywhere near that point yet.

For the time being, the outlook for the legal-weed industry in the U.S. remains very much constrained by Washington, and that's not necessarily a good thing for investors in this space.
 
Last edited:

elykpeace

exVASted
On another forum there was a very lively, and sometimes heated, discussion of driving baked. Now, I fully understand the extreme limits of current THC field testing products and, in particular, that they really only measure metabolites which may remain detectable for up to 4-6 weeks and IN NO WAY ARE AN ACCURATE INDICATOR OF INEBRIATION OR IMPAIRMENT. I do get that and agree wholeheartedly.

But I just can't accept the position of some that they should be able to drive high without consquences and many have opined that they 'think' they drive better baked than not. I would, in return, throw out the question of whether they would be happy if their A-300 pilot or neurosurgeon was baked before doing their job. The reply was often, and I summarize impressions and do not quote, that driving isn't as critical and its like having 300 passenger's lives in your hands.

I attended my aunt's funeral yesterday. She was in Lancaster County, PA which is fairly rural in areas with a lot of two lane, curvy, country roads. A fella in a pickup crossed into her lane on a curve, hit her head on, he was killed instantly while she lingered for a day or so before passing.

I stood at the grave site looking at my three wonderful cousins....my aunt's sons.....as they cried in their devestation and I once again throw the bullshit flag on people who defend driving impaired...on anything at all. I once again confronted the personal agony that results from such accidents and once again am reminded of the VERY HIGH level of responsibility I have when behind the wheel and the impact of doing otherwise spreads pain and loss far and wide.

Ok, I'm done with my rant.



Nearly half of all Americans worry about this if marijuana is legalized

The marijuana industry is growing like wildfire, at least according to data from cannabis research firm ArcView. Sales of legal weed in the North American market grew by 34% to $6.9 billion last year, and they're slated to grow by 26% annually through 2021. By that time we could be talking about a legal cannabis market that's worth $22 billion.

Leading this sales charge has been a major shift in the way the public views cannabis. In 1979, according to a CBS News poll, just 27% of respondents were in favor of legalizing pot nationally. This percentage stayed fairly consistent throughout the 1980s and 1990s during the War on Drugs campaign. However, the April 2017 survey showed support at an all-time high of 61%. Presumably, the more people who want to see weed legalized, the more pressure that'll be put on elected officials in Washington to make changes to its scheduling.

47% of Americans fear this if weed is legalized

However, despite this call for legalization among a majority of Americans, a fairly recent survey from national pollster Gallup shows that nearly of half of all people share one common fear if cannabis is legalized. Namely, 47% worry about what'll happen to drivers behind the wheel if access to marijuana becomes as easy as heading to your local convenience store.

The June 2017 survey asked a random sample of 1,007 adults across the U.S. whether they believed legalizing pot would make the roads: "a lot less safe," "a little less safe," or "not make much difference. Though exactly half of all respondents believed it wouldn't make much difference, 47% believed that legalizing marijuana would have negative consequences on driver safety, including 30% who believe it'll make things "a lot less safe."

One of the biggest issues with legalizing marijuana is that there are no established parameters to determine what comprises a legal amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the blood versus what doesn't. THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis.

For example, there's a well-defined line in the sand when we're talking about alcohol consumption. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.08%, and you're stopped by a peace officer, you're likely going for a ride downtown. Even if your BAC is under 0.08%, you can still be arrested and charged if you appear impaired.

By comparison, there are no guidelines for what level of THC is or isn't acceptable. Making matters more complicated, THC can stick around in the bloodstream for days or weeks, which isn't something that alcohol will do. Thus, blood tests could turn up THC for a driver days, or even weeks, after use, making it difficult for peace officers to determine when the marijuana use actually occurred. This isn't to say that dual breathalyzers that can detect alcohol and marijuana aren't in development, but they still have a ways to go before they have a shot of becoming mainstream.

There are other worries, too

Of course, driving under the influence of cannabis is far from the only concern. There are also worries about what might happen if a home-grow option is available, which would be an expectation of a full legalization bill. Growing cannabis plants at home can certainly help bring down marijuana costs, but it also, presumably, gives adolescents easier access to marijuana. A few studies have shown that adolescent use of cannabis can adversely impact long-term memory. To be clear, there's still a lot to be learned about how marijuana can affect the developing brains of teens, but initial evidence suggests it's clearly not all good news.

There are environment and electrical grid concerns, too. A 2012 study from scientist Evan Mills, Ph.D., at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found at the time that 1% of all electricity demand in the U.S. came from existing cannabis farms. Remember, this is before eight states had legalized recreational marijuana. If the entire country legalized pot, the strain on electrical grids as a result of the high-pressure sodium lights often used to grow cannabis plants would be enormous.

The chances marijuana will be rescheduled are slim to none

For those folks who share these concerns, you'll be happy to know that the chances the U.S. will legalize marijuana anytime soon are very, very small. For the majority of you who favor legalization in polls, this may not be such great news.

The heart of the resistance lies with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in May requested that congressional leaders repeal the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. This is the amendment that protects cannabis businesses in legal states from federal prosecution. This request from Sessions signals that he'll pretty much stop at nothing to slow or halt the expansion of marijuana.

Capitol Hill also has very little incentive to take up cannabis legislation, even with the public in support of such a move. Lawmakers are spending most of their time in Washington discussing tax or healthcare reform measures, and there's very little room on the docket for marijuana at the moment. It's also unclear whether President Trump would support marijuana's expansion. Back in February, now-former White House press secretary Sean Spicer intimated that a toughening stance from the Trump administration on marijuana should be expected in the future.

What could change politicians' minds? My guess is we'd need to see a plethora of Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical data that outlines the benefits and risks of cannabis. It's possible that if support of cannabis increases enough, and politicians run the risk of being voted out of office if they don't conform to the will of the people, we could see change. But I don't believe we're anywhere near that point yet.

For the time being, the outlook for the legal-weed industry in the U.S. remains very much constrained by Washington, and that's not necessarily a good thing for investors in this space.

Good morning @Baron23 Sorry for your loss..



I see a TON of dui arrests everyday in my county. My Gma was killed by a drunk driver when my dad was in college.. I never got to meet her. The drunk who hit them walked away from the accident.
Impaired driving has always been an issue. I think that someone who is sleepy is just as impaired as someone who has had a lot to drink ..or maybe a bit too much sleep medications...my point is you can't prevent impaired driving. Even someone who has received multiple dui and had a license revoked can and most likely still get behind the wheel and put others in danger. To be honest I hate driving and get major anxiety driving long distances..

Bring on the self driving cars!
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
While this article is Canadian, it could become pertinent to drivers in other areas as well...

How marijuana legalization could affect accident benefits
November 17, 2017 by Jason Contant, Online Editor

The upcoming legalization of marijuana will have a “resultant effect upon the accident benefits and damages recovered by those involved in motor vehicle accidents,” one lawyer suggested to Canadian Underwriter on Thursday.


In Ontario, entitlement to income replacement benefits, non-earner benefits and other expenses are excluded under Section 4.4 of the Ontario Automobile Policy where a claimant is convicted of a criminal offence while operating an automobile.

“As well, in personal injury claims, where an individual brings a claim against a driver who was found to be impaired at the time an accident occurs, an insurer will be in a position to restrict the responding policy limits to the statutory minimum of $200,000 on the basis that the impaired driver was in breach of the policy conditions,” Jennifer Huneault, a partner at Hughes Amys LLP told Canadian Underwriter in an interview.

“To add to that, should a driver get into an accident when found to be impaired by THC,” Huneault said referring to the chemical compound in cannabis, “their auto insurer is also on solid footing to deny any claims they bring for repairs to their own vehicle.”

On Tuesday, the Government of Alberta proposed a bill to put in place new provincial sanctions for cannabis-impaired and cannabis/alcohol-impaired driving offences. Alberta proposed to update the Traffic Safety Act to reflect federal changes to impaired-driving laws in the Criminal Code of Canada and “ensure that sanctions for drug-impaired driving would be aligned with those already in place for alcohol-impaired drivers.”

The Government of Canada has introduced legislation that would legalize the use and possession of non-medical cannabis and make changes to federal impaired-driving laws in the Criminal Code. The proposed federal changes include three new impaired driving charges specific to cannabis, cannabis/alcohol combination and other drugs.




 

herbivore21

Well-Known Member
Let us remember that doctors prescribe drugs that are normally not allowed to be used by drivers but that actually improve driving performance in people with certain medical conditions (due to their different physiology etc).

For example: There is a large body of literature highlighting that people with ADHD, drive more safely under the influence of stimulant drugs (Ritalin, Adderall et al.) which would be grounds for DUI charges if others used them and got behind the wheel. Here's a scientific review speaking to this: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022437507000060

What we must consider is that in some medical populations, we are dealing with people who have different neurology and biochemistry, and for whom we might find different results when exposed to psychoactive substances. When we accept this, we then need to consider the literature on cannabis and driving.

First of all, there is very little research literature that has directly considered the effects of cannabis on driving in ADHD affected individuals in a controlled way. There are major legal barriers throughout most of the world to such research ever happening in the first place. Also, we've only have case reports emerging in the last decade or so, and there are not yet large sample controlled studies to draw from. What we do know is that from individual case reports, there is evidence to suggest that cannabis may improve driving-related problematic symptoms of ADHD which contribute to the greatly increased risks of traffic incidents observed among drivers with ADHD.

http://mcforadhd.free.fr/ARTICLE ADHD DRIVING GERMANY.pdf

"A 28-year old male, who showed improper behaviour and appeared to be very maladjusted and inattentive while sober, appeared to be completely inconspicuous while having a very high blood plasma level of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Performance tests, which were conducted with the test batteries ART2020 and TAP provided sufficient and partly over-averaged results in driving related performance. Thus, it has to be considered, that in the case of ADHD, THC can have atypical effects and can even lead to an enhanced driving related performance."

Of course, the above is not a study that allows us to extrapolate much, but the following is known:

In the cases of conditions such as ADHD, Tourettes and other conditions of neurological difference, drugs that we would normally consider to impair driving may have the opposite effect.

There is a small amount of early case-study evidence from recent times to suggest that cannabis may improve driving in some with ADHD (ADHD is one of the most commonly occurring 'neurodevelopmental disorders' in the US and elsewhere). We do know that other drugs normally considered to be drugs of abuse and impairment in the non-ADHD population (amphetamines and other stimulants), demonstrably improve the driving performance of those with ADHD beyond what it would be if they were not taking these substances. We also know that people with ADHD have demonstrably different neurological physiology and functioning from the non ADHD population.

Different people have different physiology and we must understand that in some cases, forcing people to drive without certain of these substances may have a negative, not positive effect and lead to more, not less accidents.

I say all of this to highlight that many here and elsewhere are talking in very broad strokes about whether people should or should not be allowed to drive on cannabis. Some of the arguments on either side (including those who would not advocate for cannabis use by any drivers!) may inadvertently lead to more harmful outcomes. For those who are against cannabis use by drivers, we must consider the cases of people whose different bodies and brains do not respond conventionally to those substances.

I know that a great deal of the MMJ community medicate these kinds of conditions and we need to remember that at the end of the day, we need to do what has the best outcomes for the most people. If that means that certain people should be not only allowed, but encouraged to drive under the influence of psychoactive substances in order to demonstrably improve their driving (as has been the case with ADHD patients!) - then so be it!

I am not saying that this means that everybody should take several large dabs and get behind the wheel. There are many who will not feel comfortable doing so and may justifiably feel that it impairs their driving. That may indeed turn out to be the majority of people, past a certain point of consumption depending on their physiology and other relevant factors. If you don't feel comfortable driving too soon after using cannabis, then I say listen to that discomfort and avoid driving until you feel up to the task.

What we must remember is that at least a portion of a number of significant minorities of people with a variety of medical conditions (many of whom are already driving and legally allowed to drive, despite increased risks of traffic incidents as a result of their symptoms!) may potentially be expected, based on our current knowledge, not to be impaired in their driving by using cannabis - and we may find that some drive better with cannabis than without!

For me personally, I'd be cautious to make broad sweeping judgements about allowing or not allowing driving under the influence of cannabis related compounds. I do hope that researchers can find more clarity on this topic with more generalizable results sooner than later, hopefully legal jurisdictions springing up around the world more and more will facilitate the development of this research. :peace:
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Well @Baron23 I know you probably wont agree with these findings....

First of its Kind Study Finds Virtually No Driving Impairment Under the Influence of Marijuana

As cannabis prohibition laws crumble seemingly by the day, it’s allowing more research to be performed on this psychoactive substance that has long been a part of the human experience.

The first study to analyze the effects of cannabis on driving performance found that it caused almost no impairment. The impairment that it did cause was similar to that observed under the influence of a legal alcohol limit.

Researchers at the University of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator carried out the study, sponsored by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Institute of Drug Abuse, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy

In fact, some would argue that it makes them drive safer or slower.

The study’s findings further illuminate the fact that alcohol is a much more dangerous drug than cannabis, and somehow the former is legal while the latter is not.

With cannabis being decriminalized across the country, law enforcement will be getting their “rules and regulations” in place for the driving masses. They should be based on science and not Reefer Madness mentalities.

Another important finding should deter any attempts to deploy instant roadside tests for THC-blood levels.

“THE STUDY ALSO FOUND THAT ANALYZING A DRIVER’S ORAL FLUIDS CAN DETECT RECENT USE OF MARIJUANA BUT IS NOT A RELIABLE MEASURE OF IMPAIRMENT.

“EVERYONE WANTS A BREATHALYZER WHICH WORKS FOR ALCOHOL BECAUSE ALCOHOL IS METABOLIZED IN THE LUNGS,” SAYS ANDREW SPURGIN, A POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW WITH THE UI COLLEGE OF PHARMACY. “BUT FOR CANNABIS THIS ISN’T AS SIMPLE DUE TO THC’S METABOLIC AND CHEMICAL PROPERTIES.”



“ONCE IN THE SIMULATOR—A 1996 MALIBU SEDAN MOUNTED IN A 24-FEET DIAMETER DOME—THE DRIVERS WERE ASSESSED ON WEAVING WITHIN THE LANE, HOW OFTEN THE CAR LEFT THE LANE, AND THE SPEED OF THE WEAVING. DRIVERS WITH ONLY ALCOHOL IN THEIR SYSTEMS SHOWED IMPAIRMENT IN ALL THREE AREAS WHILE THOSE STRICTLY UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF VAPORIZED CANNABIS ONLY DEMONSTRATED PROBLEMS WEAVING WITHIN THE LANE.

DRIVERS WITH BLOOD CONCENTRATIONS OF 13.1 UG/L THC, OR DELTA-9-TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL, THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT IN MARIJUANA, SHOWED INCREASED WEAVING THAT WAS SIMILAR TO THOSE WITH A .08 BREATH ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION, THE LEGAL LIMIT IN MOST STATES. THE LEGAL LIMIT FOR THC IN WASHINGTON AND COLORADO IS 5 UG/L, THE SAME AMOUNT OTHER STATES HAVE CONSIDERED.”

As expected, there was impairment in all areas when alcohol and cannabis were mixed. But cannabis itself, when taken in moderate amounts, seems to cause no significant driving impairment.



 

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