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Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:11 PM

How will over-the-limit, DUI driving infractions be determined

under the newly legalized pot laws in CO and WA?

Just had an interesting conversation with my brother who's an ER doc in CA. He sees the catastrophic results of alcohol/drug-related driving on a daily basis.

In CA, he sees road accidents due to THC impairment even under CA's legalized medical marijuana laws.

Question: How are pot smokers and law enforcement supposed to determine when someone is driving under the influence?

How can a smoker know if they're over some "impairment" limit? If they've toked one too many? Will there be some sort of roadside test similar to the breathalizer?

THC cannot be detected on the breath, apparently. So, will they have to come up with instant blood-drawing kits for use by the highway patrol?

Enquiring minds want to know...just how will this brave new world of legalized pot work out on the road?

P.S. I'm all in favor of legalization. Just wonder about what adjustments society will have to make. I don't think letting stoners drive willy-nilly after several joints would be a really safe bet.

At best, they'd tend to fall asleep at the wheel. At worst, their lack of alertness and slow reflexes would be a menace to themselves and others.

Edit: typos

93 replies, 5415 views

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Reply How will over-the-limit, DUI driving infractions be determined (Original post)
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 OP
arcane1 Dec 2012 #1
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #3
morningfog Dec 2012 #46
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #48
morningfog Dec 2012 #51
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #56
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #5
green for victory Dec 2012 #11
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #22
green for victory Dec 2012 #66
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #70
brewens Dec 2012 #57
green for victory Dec 2012 #67
JaneyVee Dec 2012 #40
brewens Dec 2012 #54
arcane1 Dec 2012 #60
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #2
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #4
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #7
Spike89 Dec 2012 #86
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #88
Spike89 Dec 2012 #92
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #93
Kalidurga Dec 2012 #6
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #8
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #9
Kalidurga Dec 2012 #10
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #13
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #20
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #25
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #28
digonswine Dec 2012 #12
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #15
digonswine Dec 2012 #18
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #36
RainDog Dec 2012 #41
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #47
RainDog Dec 2012 #49
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #52
RainDog Dec 2012 #55
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #58
blueamy66 Dec 2012 #14
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #16
Posteritatis Dec 2012 #24
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #30
RainDog Dec 2012 #42
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #45
RainDog Dec 2012 #65
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #71
jmowreader Dec 2012 #85
RainDog Dec 2012 #89
RainDog Dec 2012 #53
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #17
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #19
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #27
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #32
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #35
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #38
tabasco Dec 2012 #21
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #29
DirkGently Dec 2012 #23
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #26
former9thward Dec 2012 #33
DirkGently Dec 2012 #61
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2012 #31
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #34
RegieRocker Dec 2012 #37
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #43
RegieRocker Dec 2012 #90
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #91
Skittles Dec 2012 #39
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #44
Skittles Dec 2012 #64
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #72
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #50
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #59
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #63
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #73
Warren Stupidity Dec 2012 #62
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #74
Warren Stupidity Dec 2012 #77
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #80
jmowreader Dec 2012 #68
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #75
jmowreader Dec 2012 #87
AgainsttheCrown Dec 2012 #69
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #76
AgainsttheCrown Dec 2012 #82
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #84
JustABozoOnThisBus Dec 2012 #78
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #79
eridani Dec 2012 #81
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #83

Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:18 PM

1. Roadside sobriety tests, I presume, just like they have now

It is, after all, already illegal to drive under the influence. I doubt that would change after legalization

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:22 PM

3. But, as with alcohol, just because you can walk a more or less straight line

doesn't mean you're legally sober? It seems to me that some upper limit of THC in the blood will have to be determined. And roadside blood samples drawn.

edit: typo

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:33 PM

46. If someone can walk a line and pass a field sobriety test,

I don't think they should get a DUI for anything. If you are in control, you are in control. Taking blood, piss, or breath is not an accurate indicator of ability to function.

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Response to morningfog (Reply #46)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:07 PM

48. But, they would likely have done something showing impaired judgment

to have been stopped in the first place.

Some people can fake being "sober" really well, once they're under scrutiny.

Just because a guy can walk a more or less straight line or follow the cop's finger, doesn't mean I'd want him back behind the wheel coming at me down the road.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #48)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:16 PM

51. An experienced cop can find a reason to pull anyone over after following them

for only a few minutes. You can't really fake sober. If you are sober enough to fake it, you aren't so impaired as to not be able to function.

To be clear, I am not trying to minimize or justify drunk driving. I am just saying that some people at some time may be "under the influence" when given a breathalyzer, blood or piss test, but be in adequate control of their faculties. I think a field sobriety test is a better judge and a fairer way to determine whether someone should be driving. There are elderly who may not be able to pass a field sobriety test, they should not be permitted to drive, regardless of whether they have ingested anything.

It gets worse when looking at a drug such as marijuana. It stays in your system for weeks. There is no blood test, or any test, other than a field sobriety test, to accurately indicated the intoxication level at that time.



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Response to morningfog (Reply #51)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:22 PM

56. Agree about some elderly drivers--a menace to themselves and everybody else.

Then there's my mother, who at 93, has just revalidated her license by taking the written and practical test, and is still driving around the environs of her small town.

No long trips anymore, because it tires her and she worries about remaining alert.

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:25 PM

5. I've been wondering how they would measure how much under the influence with pot ...

quantitatively and not just qualitatively.

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:46 PM

11. in WA it changed- for the worse

 

but that didn't make much news

Impact of I-502 passage on Prosecution of Marijuana DUI in Washington

Prior to November 6, 2012, Marijuana DUI cases in Washington were prosecuted the same as every other "drug" DUI case. Since no per se limit of THC existed, in order to prove a marijuana DUI actual impairment had to be proven.

Now, as of December 6, 2012, the state of Washington has enacted a specific Marijuana DUI statute which proscribes driving after having a set limit of THC in the blood stream, establishes administrative licensing consequences, and provides specific funding to enforce the new law.

It is now unlawful for drivers to operate a motor vehicle with .05 nanograms or greater of THC in the blood stream as determined by an authorized blood draw and analysis. Those who are convicted under this statute will face the same DUI penalties as one convicted under the alcohol DUI statute.

One major difference is that a blood test showing a level of THC greater than or equal to .05 will now require the Washington DOL to take an administrative action against the driver's license as it would for .08 or higher alcohol cases. If the action was upheld, it would mean a license suspension of 90 days to two years depending on the driver's history.>>>MORE

http://www.washingtondui.com/seattle-marijuana-dui-lawyer/wa-drug-dui-attorney

people didn't want to hear about this before the election, now they're going to get a surprise.

WA voters got what they deserved- tougher DUI laws and a cannabis industry that will be totally controlled (if the feds let them) by the state liquor control board.

very few yes voters bothered to read the initiative.

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Response to green for victory (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:16 PM

22. Very informative, green for victory. Thanks for taking the time to

post this.

I was wondering if just such unforeseen consequences might not result when pot took on all sorts of "legalized" trappings.

So, WA has actually established upper THC blood limits to get behind the wheel, is that right? What is that limit--do you know?

So, WA pro-potheads are just beginning to realize what they have voted for, huh?

Ah, the LAW of UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES strikes again! LOL!

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #22)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 02:52 AM

66. .05 nanograms or greater of THC in the blood stream

 

as determined by an authorized blood draw and analysis. Those who are convicted under this statute will face the same DUI penalties as one convicted under the alcohol DUI statute.

http://www.washingtondui.com/blog/I502-washington-marijuana-dui-law-changes

"...Studies suggest that individuals can pass physical and cognitive tests at a much higher THC level than the current legal standard. Additionally, people would likely register the 5 nanograms level or higher even several hours after marijuana consumption. So whereas the laws as they relate to alcohol DUI at least attempt to criminalize driving after consuming an amount that would affect one's ability to drive, the recently passed THC levels appear to more arbitrary. In fact, whereas there is tolerance within the law for driving after drinking alcohol responsibly, no such tolerance exists with respect to marijuana consumption prior to driving after the passage of I-502..

Effects on Medical Marijuana users

It's one thing to tell a recreational drug user that there is no tolerance for driving after consumption of the drug. It's another thing entirely to take the keys out of the hands of one who relies on a prescription medication regardless of impairment or lack thereof. Unfortunately, that is exactly what I-502 appears to do. Because the established legal limit is so low, it is very likely that anyone who uses marijuana on a daily basis for medical and therapeutic purposes will find themselves over the new legal limit at virtually all times.

***
Consequences of DUI Marijuana

Regardless of how a person is affected, anybody found driving over the legal limit of .05 milligrams in Washington can and will be slapped with consequences that include a 90 day license suspension for first time offenders, and 2 years for a second. Medical marijuana users are concerned, being that they generally have high levels of THC in their systems most of the time.

The moral of the story is that while using marijuana is legal in Washington, getting caught driving after having consumed any amount can lead to a DUI. With the marijuana laws so new, and other states likely to follow suit, you are sure to variations of these laws springing up with revisions, redactions, and plenty of people fighting them, but there is one thing that’s for sure—laws that seek to define “under the influence of marijuana” are here to stay.

http://www.duiprocess.com/blog/washington-legislation-defines-driving-influence-marijuana/

***

Colorado:

Marijuana DUI Bill Dies: State Senate Rejects Bill After House Approval

"...The Colorado Senate fell a single vote short on the bill setting a drivers' blood standard for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The measure failed on a 17-17 tie, one vote short of the number needed to advance it.

Earlier Tuesday, the state House signed off again on the bill that would limit drivers to 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. Sponsors talked about Colorado's rising arrest rates for people driving under the influence of drugs, as well as data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showing more drivers in fatal accidents test positive for marijuana.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/marijuana-dui-bill-dies-s_n_1518617.html

Colorado's Newly Legal Pot Smokers May Face Stricter DUI Standard

The Denver Post reports that Colorado legislators are moving toward a new standard for driving under the influence of marijuana now that Amendment 64 has made the plant legal for adults 21 and older to grow and consume. ...>>more

http://reason.com/blog/2012/12/11/new-dui-standard-for-colorado-pot-smoker

***

NORML: DUID Legislation: What It Means, Who's Behind It, and Strategies to Prevent It

There's a new front in the "War on Drugs" and its name is DUID.

DUID, short for "driving under the influence of drugs," is the latest buzzword among politicians and police -- however, in this case, words can be deceiving.

Though billed by its proponents as a necessary tool to crack down on persons who operate a motor vehicle while impaired by illicit drugs, in reality, many newly proposed DUID laws -- in particular "zero tolerance" per se laws -- have little to do with promoting public safety or identifying motorists who drive while intoxicated. Rather, these laws potentially classify many sober drivers as impaired under the law solely because they were presumed to have consumed a controlled substance -- particularly marijuana -- at some previous, unspecified point in time...>>MORE

http://norml.org/library/item/you-are-going-directly-to-jail

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Response to green for victory (Reply #66)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:50 AM

70. Wow! Who knew that those referendum votes in WA and CO

would put such a chain of circumstances in motion. Bet those potheads who voted "YES" on Nov. 6th had no idea what they were implicitly voting for.

The legislative fine-tuning, legal challenges and court actions have only just begun.

Thanks so much for finding and posting these documentary supports, green!

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Response to green for victory (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:24 PM

57. Yeah, that's a disaster. I knew about it but am across the boarder in Idaho. It almost makes

it more likely that the cops will be all over anyone they suspect of smoking weed, trying to nail them for DUI. I'll be interested to see just how easy it is for them to take someone in and order a blood test.

Maybe that part of the law won't hold up in court. In the end, they should have to prove you were actually impaired.

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Response to brewens (Reply #57)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 03:03 AM

67. I think you've nailed it

 

"It almost makes it more likely that the cops will be all over anyone they suspect of smoking weed, trying to nail them for DUI"

follow the money

502 was more about total control and regulation than freedom to smoke.

Cannabis is everywhere these days and LEOs cannot afford to continue prosecuting thousands of people for a bag of pot.

So this is the next step- "legalization" -the carrot, and strict laws are the stick

remember that it's illegal still to grow a single plant in WA (without a med card)

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:15 PM

40. The guy in this video is outraged too:

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:18 PM

54. Dude. Getting pulled over kills your buzz! You can pass that field sobriety test no problem!

The cops hate that worse than anything and I've done it myself. I was pulled over for having a headlight out one night. I was stoned to the bone and had four cases of beer on the floor in the passenger side of my truck. I had only drank a couple of O'Douls non-alcoholic brews though. My eyes were bleeding red and the cops knew I was baked but couldn't do squat about it! Even if they had searched illegally, I didn't have any weed on me. They were pissed!

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Response to brewens (Reply #54)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:49 PM

60. Indeed it does!

Back in my early 20's I had to do the nose-touching, and saying the alphabet from D to T, and do the head-back leg-raised thing, while high as a kite. I passed the test with flying colors. One thing was clear to me: if I had partaken of even two beers, I would have never been able to do it. It really was a good test of impairment.

Heck, I wonder how many people are driving around right now high on prescription pain-killers who wouldn't be able to pass that test!

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:21 PM

2. I've wondered the same. Maybe some form of sobriety test for walking, hand/body positions and all

like they do for alcohol. I have no idea. ... but I agree, some type of testing needs to be available. I want pot legalized, but I'm uncomfortable of going along the road with someone super high coming at me. ... some will take it to excess and then drive, just like with alcohol.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:23 PM

4. That's precisely my brother's medical POV...

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:26 PM

7. Yep, and it's an excellent question!!! n/t

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:54 PM

86. But it already is illegal

There isn't a place in the US where driving under the influence is legal and WA and CO did NOT make it legal. The new laws aren't likely to bring in tons of new smokers--the laws just leave the folks that smoke out of jail.

The truth is pretty obvious, legal or not, people will be (and have been!) smoking pot. There isn't going to be a new epidemic of stoned drivers.

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Response to Spike89 (Reply #86)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:09 PM

88. Pot should be legal everyplace. What I was wondering is how is a fair test administered if

a cop thinks someone has had a bit too much pot?

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #88)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 11:51 AM

92. They've been doing it for decades

It is pretty much the same thing they do with prescription drugs, other recreational drugs, and other impairments (too sleepy). They observe unsafe driving, pull you over, try and determine why you were driving poorly (spill coffee, talking on a cellphone, etc). If they suspect you're under the influence, they have you do a field test.

None of that is any different than alcohol. By the time they have you blow during a DUI stop, they've pretty much already made a case. The actual test pretty much only strengthens the case, blowing below .08 isn't proof you are innocent of impaired driving, and isn't even an automatic non-drunk driving event.

Without doubt, there will be some overzealous cops trying to pin DUI on pot smokers who aren't stoned while driving. There will also be plenty of pot smokers behind the wheel when they shouldn't be. Pretty much just like it has always been. I don't think blood tests for THC will hold up, the test currently isn't meaningfully connected to the subject's level of impairment. Chronic/regular smokers will have a high level long after the effects have worn off and casual smokers may not register much even though they could be totally baked.

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Response to Spike89 (Reply #92)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 12:17 PM

93. Thanks! Good analysis!

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:25 PM

6. What is being done right now?

Will making pot legal really put more pot smokers on the road? Do we know how pot effects driving?

True story, I knew a lady that claimed she couldn't drive without taking a hit on a joint. She said she was too nervous to drive otherwise. I have a hard time believing her claim. But, I did she her toke and drive several times. As far as I know she never got into an accident.

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Response to Kalidurga (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:33 PM

8. According to my brother, a driver suspected of DUI for drugs is

stopped, put through the usual roadside tests, i.e. straight line, follow the finger, etc. If they don't test out, they're taken to an ER where a blood sample is drawn.

But, like my brother says, many alcohol-drunk drivers appear "sober" during physical roadside tests. They're only booked on a DUI charge after failing the breathalizer and having blood drawn at police headquarters or the ER.

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Response to Kalidurga (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:33 PM

9. I went to school with a guy that claimed the same for alcohol. He said if he had had a few

drinks he drove more carefully because he knew he might be impaired without realizing it ... He strictly followed the speed limit and took no chances passing and all. Where I grew up we had lots of country roads. I never heard of this guy getting in an accident. I know if I've been out ... and under the limit ... I drive very carefully ... maybe even a bit paranoid. No way do I want to get in a car accident even if I am under the limit.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:41 PM

10. One of the things I was told to look for as far as drunk drivers was...

if the driver is driving very slowly and carefully they may be drunk. It's not always driving that looks out of control and reckless. But, irregardless I wouldn't want to get into an accident whether I had a beer or not. But, then I don't drink or drive or drink and drive so it's not a real issue for me.

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Response to Kalidurga (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:50 PM

13. Know that "slow-drive" routine well from my younger,

more dare-devil days.

I've been known to have one (1) glass of nice Bordeaux before driving my Vespa, but no more.

As the French anti-drunk driving campaign used to say: "Un verre ça va...trois verres, bonjour les dégats!" (One glass, OK...three glasses and "hello" damage).

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Response to Kalidurga (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:11 PM

20. I've come across drivers at night going along slowly, maybe 45 in a 55 zone ...

I'm careful of them and get away from them ... I just assume something is going on ... Smartest thing is what you said, "don't drive and drink!"

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:21 PM

25. The French anti-drunk driving movement

has a great slogan: "Boire ou conduire--il faut choisir!" ("Drink or drive--you have to choose!", but it rhymes in French).

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:34 PM

28. +1, n/t

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:47 PM

12. A guy I know says-

generally, driving under the influence of THC is no biggie. There are qualifiers, though.
If the driver never smokes--it could be a problem if he or she suddenly does, and drives without knowing the effects.
If one is a regular user, it is no biggie--unless this person has JUST gotten high.

From what I am told, a person is either high or not. THC is not like alcohol-one generally gets high and cannot get higher.

My friend says that he drives fine, as long as he has not taken a hit in the last 10 minutes.

One who is baked tends not to drive and does whatever he can to convince his friend to drive.

My friend says that driving across country while under the influence, while listening to CCR is quite pleasant.

My friend says that, unless one has just smoked up with killer stuff, driving is pretty simple. Just don't ask that person to interact with others.

Seriously-a person is only really high for a short time. And it is only AFTER that time when they will be willing to drive somewhere.

It is NOTHING like alcohol

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Response to digonswine (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:57 PM

15. Haven't toked up for many a long year, so it's hard to remember

just how long one tends to stay stoned. True dat, though. Right after a smoke or some brownies, you just want to lie back.

It's the delayed reflexes, even in the first few minutes, that would seem to be an issue to me.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:03 PM

18. So I am told-

these affects are very temporary. There are no delayed reflexes, depending upon when it was used.

I would not suggest driving right after a good toot.

After 30 minutes--no problem.

And always, ALWAYS--I would rather a high driver on the opposite side from me than a drunk one.

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Response to digonswine (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:05 PM

36. Agree--better a pothead than a drunk, any time!

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:21 PM

41. acccording to recent tests, 2 to 3 hours per "high"

If someone smokes a joint or a few puffs on a pipe or whatever and doesn't do it again, the effects may be noticeable as "high" usually two, maybe three hours. Four is the outlier.

This was for tests of driving under the influence of mj compared to alcohol. Alcohol is worse, even if someone is somewhat impaired by mj.

After that time, the mj has a calming effect but not really a psychotropic one.

Saliva tests for thc are available in Australia and New Zealand, iirc.

The test MUST check for THC, not THC metabolites. Immediately after someone smokes mj, the body starts to break down the TCH to a metabolite that does not have measurable psychotropic effects, even tho it may stay in the body and slowly disperse. This is why there is no hangover and no withdrawal, other than psychological - the drug leaves the system slowly.

This is also the reason why blood tests are not good indicators, but are better than urine tests - which are the worst for THC b/c they are only measuring what is no longer psychotropic but has been metabolized and is being excreted.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #41)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:36 PM

47. Hey, Rain Dog, thanks for all of this pertinent information.

Hope a lot of those newly legal potheads in WA and CO are reading this for future reference. LOL!

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #47)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:08 PM

49. here are some links

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/29/study-legalizing-medical-marijuana-reduces-traffic-fatalities/

From a study by the Institute for the Study of Labor - Legalizing Marijuana Reduces Traffic Fatalities.

Opponents of medical marijuana often focus on the social detriment to making America’s most valuable cash crop available to those approved by doctors, arguing that medical marijuana legalization makes it easier for teens to buy pot and that they’ll soon move to more dangerous drugs. They also suggest that legalization would increase the number of vehicle accidents — and that very argument was one of the main reasons why California voters did not approve full legalization in 2010.

Studying data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, researchers also found that legalizing medical marijuana did, in fact, drive up usage among adults. But contrary to medical marijuana critics’ claims, they were unable to find evidence of it growing the number of minors on the drug.

A further analysis of data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, spanning from 1990 to 2009, revealed that states which legalized medical marijuana saw a decline in alcohol consumption. A decline in traffic fatalities was a direct side effect of that.

Traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death for Americans age 35 and under.


Here's an article from a while ago about driving and marijuana -

http://www.pewstates.org/projects/stateline/headlines/driving-laws-explained-in-the-medical-marijuana-age-how-high-is-too-high-to-drive-85899381036

...Concerns over cannabis intoxication won’t go away. Voters in Colorado and Washington State will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana use, while a dozen more states are considering legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. In this explainer, Stateline examines the research surrounding marijuana and road safety, and explores why it’s so difficult to say how high is too high to drive.

...According to a study by researchers from Yale University, alcohol-impaired drivers struggle with complex tasks like merging onto a crowded highway, but can generally perform automatic functions like turning on the car. Marijuana users, however, can better handle complex situations than simple tasks like following the curve of a road. The Yale study also notes that the effects of cannabis can vary a lot more between individuals than with alcohol. Factors such as a user’s age, weight, tolerance and smoking technique all can make a large difference in how the body absorbs THC.

Users of alcohol and marijuana also differ in their perceptions of their own impairment. Alcohol users tend to underestimate their level of impairment and drive faster and more recklessly. Drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.04 percent — half the legal limit in most states — experienced impaired driving performance even though drivers themselves rated themselves as unimpaired, according to a frequently cited 1993 study from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

By contrast, marijuana users tend to overestimate their impairment and don’t display as many obvious impairment symptoms. In the same government study, drivers who were given about one-third of a joint to smoke rated themselves as impaired even though their driving performance was not.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722956/#__articleid2994706aff-info


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Response to RainDog (Reply #49)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:16 PM

52. Excellent documentary evidence, RainDog. Thanks for taking the trouble

to look it up and post it.

Very interesting negative correlation between the legalization and increased use of pot and the percentage of drunk-driving fatalities:

"...states which legalized medical marijuana saw a decline in alcohol consumption. A decline in traffic fatalities was a direct side effect of that."

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #52)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:19 PM

55. No problem at all

Someone got me started on doing some research and keeping track of this subject and, if you're interested, there's a lot of interesting information in the Drug Policy Forum.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #55)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:27 PM

58. I'm such an "habitué" of GD that I didn't even know there

was a Drug Policy Forum. Thanks for the tip!

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:53 PM

14. How long does THC stay in the system?

 

nt

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Response to blueamy66 (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:02 PM

16. For several days or even up to a week. If you've toked up within the last

seven days, you're likely to fail any blood-sample drug test.

But, judging from the fact that you only stay stoned for an hour or two, I'd guess the high dose of THC must dissipate very quickly, and only microscopic traces remain in the blood.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:20 PM

24. Of course, those tests look for it being present *at all*

If someone was testing for actual impairment there'd presumably be some thresholds involved - if you can catch a five-days-hence amount of THC in someone's system then obviously a two-hours-hence amount could be seen too, and the difference between the two known.

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:41 PM

30. For drugs testing in schools, prisons, etc., yes.

Sounds logical to me, that after a few days, there are trace amounts at most.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #30)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:24 PM

42. Businesses etc. can titrate the tests to allow someone to have smoked over a weekend

Last edited Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:28 PM - Edit history (1)

but be stone cold sober at work.

But these are not urine tests, as I noted above. Even with urine tests, the company can request x level of the metabolite (again, it's no longer THC) that is being excreted.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #42)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:33 PM

45. Good point about being non-THC impaired at work. As a doctor,

my brother posed the vexed question:
"How would you feel about being operated on by a surgeon who'd just smoked a bong before scrubbing up for surgery?" Valid point, I think.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #45)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 11:08 PM

65. It was the same issue before legalization

There are doctors who use cannabis now.

Some of them may be surgeons. I bet none of them have made a choice to operate right after a bong hit.

There are adults who use things responsibly among drinkers and those who prefer cannabis.

Considering all of the beneficial effects of cannabis for various health issues, I would much prefer a toker surgeon than a drinker.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #65)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:59 AM

71. like I said up-thread, better a pothead than a drunk anytime!

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Response to RainDog (Reply #42)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:40 PM

85. Businesses are starting to use their antidrug policies as a marketing tool

We print a Washington newspaper, and "100% Drug Free Company!" starbursts are appearing in ads.

Next week I am going to Spokane and will check employee bulletin boards at stores for "smoke a J, lose your J-O-B" signs, which I am sure are coming. Just because it's legal doesn't mean anyone has to let you do it.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #85)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:18 PM

89. These are going to be interesting times

As I noted here a few years ago - any time people go through changes in legislation, even when the legislation is for the good, there is a backlash among authoritarians.

Anyone who makes him or herself a public figure in any sort of commercial venture in CO, for instance, will probably get targeted by the Feds.

But more and more people recognize what a failure the drug war has become and also know that cannabis use is less harmful than coffee use. Everything in moderation in the right set and setting... that's something that works in most aspects of life.

I think Americans are sick and tired of corporate control of their lives, their health care, their financial prospects, when those corporations turn around and act like the law and any sort of responsibility for one's own actions only applies to those who don't have the money to buy off the legal system.

Does nothing for those who want to find a job. But legalization (on the CO model, more than WA) does wonders for entrepreneurs and those who want to offer products that are more earth friendly in just about every area of manufacturing, from car bodies and their fuel to hemp seed food products (which aren't psychotropic, btw.)

This law is not just about those who use recreationally. Too bad those same companies don't force their employees to take home a piss test for Saturday night. But discrimination under the law is as American as apple pie.


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Response to blueamy66 (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:17 PM

53. THC stays in the system for an avg. of 2 hours

IMMEDIATELY after THC is consumed, it begins a process of breaking down the molecules to 11-OH-THC. This metabolite is still psychoactive and is further oxidized to 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH).

11-COOH-THC is not psychoactive itself, but has a long half-life in the body of up to several days (or even weeks in very heavy users), making it the main metabolite tested for when blood or urine testing for cannabis use. More sensitive tests are able to distinguish between 11-OH-THC and 11-COOH-THC, which can help determine how recently cannabis was consumed; if only 11-COOH-THC is present then the cannabis was used some time ago and any impairment in cognitive ability or motor function will have dissipated, whereas if both 11-OH-THC and 11-COOH-THC are present then the cannabis was consumed more recently and motor impairment may still be present.

If someone has "the munchies" - they are under the influence of 11-OH-THC. They are still under the influence but the effect is not the same and the high is waning as the metabolized THC is removed from the cannabinoid receptors in the brain to make their way through the digestive system.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:03 PM

17. Driving under influence of marijuana is already illegal so just enforce it the same way it is

currently enforced. No change needed in that respect.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:08 PM

19. But, as I explained up-thread, some people appear "sober" during roadside

stops, while others appear stoned after just one hit. Seems to me that some kind of blood THC limits will have to be determined, just as with alcohol.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:31 PM

27. I don't see any connection to the legalization issue.


Driving stoned is already illegal and it stays illegal. There is no change in the legal status of driving stoned, so I don't see any need to develop a new blood test in response to the newly legal status.

If you're wondering what adjustments society will have to make, I don't see why any adjustments need to be made when it comes to DUI field sobriety testing.

Unless maybe you are thinking there is going to be a sudden increase in the amount of driving baked, so much that it would present some sudden new safety concern?

If anything, I would guess there will be a decrease in driving baked, because people will people be able to buy weed at a store and take it home to use it responsibly. The illegal status of weed often forced people to hide in weird places like cars to smoke it.

Maybe we should see some evidence that legalization increases drugged driving, and that there is some significant increase in the risk to public safety, before we start empowering police to do roadside blood tests.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #27)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:51 PM

32. That's just what I'm wondering, limpy...

If there might not be "a sudden increase in the amount of driving baked, so much that it would present some sudden new safety concern".

If it's newly legal and more people toke up just because they can, might there be an uptick in road incidents or accidents?

For insurance purposes and legal reasons, there might arise the need for more precise, easily-deployable means of measuring when one is really "driving under the influence".

Maybe portable THC blood-concentration tests or some such.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #32)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:05 PM

35. I'm not against something like the THC tests because it may be the price we have to pay to

reassure a nervous public, so we can pass the laws to get legal weed.

But I think some of the fears of increased public safety risk on the road may be unfounded. I really think legalization will decrease the amount of people driving high, but it's only a hunch, maybe like your hunch.

Here is an interesting article I found, but this is just one article.
Economists Daniel Rees of the University of Colorado Denver and Mark Anderson of Montana State University looked at traffic fatalities in thirteen states that enacted medical marijuana laws between 1990 and 2009. They found that on average, traffic fatalities in those states fell nearly 9 percent after medical pot became legal.

“What’s going on is that young adults– especially males– were drinking less when medical marijuana became legal,” Rees tells ABC News, pointing to data from the Beer Institute that showed a drop in beer sales in states with new medical marijuana laws. “You legalize medical marijuana and the highways become safer.”

Why? Rees and Anderson have two theories.

“One hypothesis is that it’s just safer to drive under the influence of marijuana than it is drunk,” Rees says. “Drunk drivers take more risk, they tend to go faster. They don’t realize how impaired they are. People who are under the influence of marijuana drive slower, they don’t take as many risks.”

The other theory, Rees says, is that people smoking marijuana simply don’t go out as much. ...
via http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2011/12/02/driving-stoned-safer-than-driving-drunk/

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #35)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:13 PM

38. Thanks for the informative link, limpy. I think Mr. Rees may

just have stumbled on the answer to the riddle: "The other theory, Rees says, is that people smoking marijuana simply don’t go out as much."

Which begs the question--once it's legal and you can toke up at your favorite watering hole, will more people be out and about while stoned?

Ah, questions, questions! Plus the law of "Unintended Consequences" possibly at work. LOL!

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:14 PM

21. Gee, we better make alcohol illegal because of these problems

and put people in jail for possession of small amounts.

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Response to tabasco (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:35 PM

29. Well, just half a gram over the legal limit can get you

a DUI charge and deducted points.

I'm of the notion that if alcohol were to be discovered today, with all of its attendant possibilities for abuse and addiction, it would be categorized as a Schdedule 1 controlled substance.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:17 PM

23. Don't think it will be that tricky. Sobriety tests?


Before BAC, it was the old "walk a straight line" standard.

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Response to DirkGently (Reply #23)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:25 PM

26. Straight lines and follow the finger are still used on occasion, according to my brother--

then the breathalizer is brought out and then its the BAC test.

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Response to DirkGently (Reply #23)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:53 PM

33. No one has to take a sobriety test.

I always tell my clients to refuse sobriety tests. All the cop is doing is collecting evidence to be used against you. In most states there are penalties for refusing breath or blood tests so those have to be taken. Even if you refuse them the police can get a warrant for a blood test.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #33)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 10:05 PM

61. I think the penalty here is a suspended license.


A year for the first refusal, I think. DUI's a much bigger penalty, of course. But we already know people aren't all going to refuse, so there will be kind of theoretical test devised.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:48 PM

31. From my limited experience, I'd say reaction times would be the problem with pot

not coordination, as measured by "touch your nose with your eyes closed/walk a straight line" tests. Something that can measure that (hell, the low tech solution is drop a ruler and get them to catch it) might be an answer.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #31)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:54 PM

34. Good points, muriel--just get them to catch the ball.

But, I think some kind of portable THC blood sampler will have to be devised. Some people can fake "sobriety" pretty well.

For sure, it's reflexes that go with pot.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:13 PM

37. TTTD

 

To tired to drive.

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Response to RegieRocker (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:25 PM

43. But, what about toking up at the wheel? As fas as I

remember, it's illegal to have open alcohol in the car or to drink alcohol while driving. At least it used to be where I grew up.

Then, by the same rational token, it should be illegal to toke up at the wheel. Or am I being a Jesuit-style legalist about this?

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #43)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:02 PM

90. Open container laws were not

 

always in existence. They came into being. Some drivers are impaired without a drug, sleep etc. Ability is not measured by level of intoxication. It is by ability alone. Some can score very high on ability and still be higher than the average person while under the influence. Humans keep trying to simplify everything and because of that they keep failing. It is never so evident as it is today. To answer your question simply, yes.

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Response to RegieRocker (Reply #90)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:16 PM

91. True enough...you see it on the road everyday.

People can be reflex or judgment impaired for any number of reasons besides booze and pot.

That being said, the legal ramifications of these new laws will take a long time to settle, if only from an insurance liability POV.

A DU member and law-enforcement officer, AgainsttheCrown, had some interesting observations here:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=1975869

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=1976174

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:14 PM

39. sobriety tests

there are some tasks you should easily be able to perform before you get behind the wheel

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Response to Skittles (Reply #39)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:27 PM

44. True enough--I expect the DMVs in WA and CO are

drawing up guidelines of dos and don'ts as we speak!

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #44)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 11:04 PM

64. your ability to resist a cheeto, for example



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Response to Skittles (Reply #64)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:08 AM

72. Bwaaahaaaaa! Or maybe having an inordinate number of munchy bags

on your person could show cause...

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:11 PM

50. No, he doesn't. He sees the results of accidents where marijuana is present and assigns

 

fault to the pot with no evidence to support that assignation.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #50)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:32 PM

59. Believe me, that was part of my counter argument.

He's a RWer and choses his evidence selectively.
He's even against medical MJ in CA.

That being said, his question about the surgeon who smokes a bong just before scrubbing up for my surgery, did give me pause for reflection...LOL!

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #59)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 10:38 PM

63. I don't think I would. If we are to assume that the surgeon is well experienced, I'd rather have him

 

buzzed and take longer to do what he knows than to rush through my procedure to make his tee time. Pot, unlike alcohol, doesn't impair your abilities with that false confidence and lack of judgment. OTOH, if I was suffering multiple traumas and bleeding out, I wouldn't chose the stoned surgeon.

Overall, give me the stoned healer over the money grubbing asshole that's in it for the Big Bucks every time.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #63)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:14 AM

73. My bro is an ER doc and deals with "mutiple trauma

and bleeding out" everyday, so his POV may be skewed in that sense.

Agree totally with your last contention. Give me a mellow pothead over a nasty drunk any day.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 10:22 PM

62. Traffic fatalities down 12% 2010 compared to 2009 in California.

So obviously other factors are in play, but the HUGE problem of effectively legal pot in California is not resulting in an increase in traffic fatalities.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #62)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:22 AM

74. Excellent trend. But, of course, my RW MD brother in CA would

say there's been a decrease due to other factors besides legalized medical pot.

His knee-jerk opposition to weed is in fact philosophical and not scientific (just don't tell him that, LOL!)

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #74)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:03 AM

77. He can say whatever he wants, what he can't do is claim that

Medical pot is making traffic fatalities worse unless he can demonstrate that fact. I'm not claiming that there are zero fatalities caused by pot impaired drivers, I'm claiming only that the data shows a downward trend in traffic fatalities. The only inference I can make from that is that pot impaired driving is probably not a huge factor in traffic deaths.

Your rw brother has to come up with actual data and he knows that. Anecdotes don't count. The actual data does not support an hysterical claim of a crisis.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #77)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:42 AM

80. Medical MJ, immigration, "anchor babies", welfare cheats--he's got

anecdotal "evidence" for everything.

I keep telling him that his daily working experience is not statistical proof--that the nature of his job (ER surgeon in Southern CA), necessarily skews his POV.

Seeing dozens of road trauma victims, not to mention untold numbers of undocumented patients every day, would tend to twist one's world view, I suppose.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 03:33 AM

68. How Pot Metabolizes

THC goes through four phases.

In the plant, the evil, soul destroying chemical exists as THC-COOH. This isn't psychoactive, so make yourself a nice pot salad and you won't feel a thing.

Heating it knocks that carboxylic acid group off, giving Oyou the THC that gets you where you want to go. This stays with you for no more than eight hours.

It metabolizes to 11-OH-THC, which makes you hungry.

This then metabolizes back to THC-COOH, which soaks into your fat cells.

My guess is they already have roadside sobriety tests for weed...gaze nystagmus, walking a line, then having the cop put his car keys on the hood, telling the suspect there's a box of Little Debbies in the trunk of the cop car and watching how gracefully the suspect gets into them.(It was originally Twinkies, but shit happens.) If the guy jerks his eyes around, stumbles, scratches the paint and eats the whole box, off to the emergency room!

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #68)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:28 AM

75. Bwaaahaaaaa! Love the mental picture!

"...there's a box of Little Debbies in the trunk of the cop car and watching how gracefully the suspect gets into them.(It was originally Twinkies, but shit happens.)"

Booked for swallowing baked goods with unseemly haste! LOL!

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #75)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:07 PM

87. You know, Le Few, I've been thinking...

Numerous scientific studies have confirmed cannabis is a superior antiemetic highly useful in the treatment of chemotherapy patients. It helps them to eat so starvation doesn't kill them before cancer gets a chance to.

Now check this out...11-OH-THC stimulates appetite. Anyone who's ever seen a pothead in the Throes of the Killer Weed knows it takes a few minutes from the time the pot takes effect before the desire to empty the fridge takes hold. That's a problem in pediatric oncology because you just want the kid hungry, not high.(There is a 7-year-old pediatric MMJ recipient in Central Washington. She does not like being high.) Now...imagine the wonders if (1) we find out the OH metabolite is responsible for nausea control and (2) we figure out how to make it. You could have special "Chemo Kids" meals - nutritionally balanced healthy meals the patients can't stop eating because they're laced with 11-OH. Given sufficient testing 11-OH could become the default treatment for appetite suppression.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:46 AM

69. A limit will require...

An invasive blood test...at least for the short term. Someone mentioned a saliva test...but I've never heard of it used in US Law Enforcement. But then I don't know everything about US Law enforcement...

Based on how many clues...I guess we'll call them the violator...gets on the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (And any other tests I decide to use), the failure of the pupils to constrict when light is applied, and the appearance of the tongue...I could arrest a smoker for DWI with a blood sample refusal and leave it at that. But I'd want as much evidence to make my case, so I'd get a warrant for blood to tie a nice bow around the case.

To be honest many officers are not comfortable making the arrest because a marijuana high isn't as obvious as drunkenness from alcohol. Last week a rookie passed up the arrest of a guy who was clearly high (almost ran someone off the road...smell of marijuana in the car), because he passed one test (failed all the others when I suggested he continue).

What he didn't know at the time was that marijuana doesn't cause Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (The clearest indicator of intoxication from alcohol)...It causes pupil dilation.

Obviously this legalization will be a challenge for law enforcement because it's easier to arrest a drunk who refuses all tests than someone who's stoned. Agencies will have to send their officers to Drug Recognition Expert training or incorporate it in to the academies. The school is a month long and supposedly pretty intensive...so it's not likely that current officers will be sent to it.


I've wondered how cops will police in a world with legalized drugs...

As a cop who is for legalization, but hates intoxicated driving I find this fascinating. CO and WA are pioneering what will happen in Texas in about...20 years.

Will we will still be able to use the smell of marijuana as probable cause to search a vehicle? How will any impairment level be determined? I have no clue how the level of impairment for alcohol was determined. If breathalyzer results are inadmissible in court will saliva tests for THC share the same fate? And then there's the whole federal vs state pissing match...


It will be interesting to see how this display of democracy plays out...

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Response to AgainsttheCrown (Reply #69)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:49 AM

76. Hey, AgainsttheCrown, thanks for checking in! I was hoping

to hear from somebody with first-hand knowledge of the issue from the law enforcement angle. You and your colleagues are on the front lines of this socio-cultural change.

Like you say, WA and CO "are pioneering what will happen in Texas in about...20 years" not to mention in the rest of the states and then nationwide on the federal level.

This was the whole point of my OP: "How will any impairment level be determined?"
Even my brother, the ER doc, couldn't tell me "how the level of impairment for alcohol was determined" originally.

For sure, it'll be interesting to see how all of this plays out in the state legislatures, the state and federal courts, and the Congress, not to mention the pharmaceutical labs.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Reply #76)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:51 AM

82. I found the backstory on .08

http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/pub/impaired_driving/BAC/introduction.html

Research that occurred over "several decades" led to a consensus on the level impairment. Now all 50 states are at .08. (Why can't scientific consensus get global warming laws passed?)

I doubt NHTSA will be funding studies for this. So now that it's legal perhaps the states will fund studies to figure out when impairment kicks in

Or they could just set an arbitrary level...

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Response to AgainsttheCrown (Reply #82)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:10 AM

84. Really interesting link, AtC. Thanks for finding and posting...

"Research that occurred over "several decades" led to a consensus on the level impairment (for alcohol)".

And there you have it--it took decades to perfect the science and subsequent legislation on DUI.

It's bound to take at least several years, if not a decade, for scientists, legislators and law enforcement to come to some common consensus on DWS (Driving While Stoned).

P.S. FYI, eridani made some pertinent points in this post:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=1976171

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:04 AM

78. How have the infractions been determined up to now?

These laws only legalize behavior that's been happening for decades. Without these laws, people were still smoking pot and driving. Stoners have been driving willy-nilly (good way to put it).

It's not a "brave new world", just a saner view of the world "as-is".

Before breathalyzers, how did cops determine someone was driving impaired?

It's a good question, though. Quick story: waaay back when, a few of us were stoned in a car. Nobody noticed anything wrong with how the driver was doing. We got pulled over for doing 25 on a 55 mph freeway. One of the "quicker thinkers" told the cop we were having engine trouble and the car wouldn't go faster. The cop let us go, told us to get off the freeway, take regular streets. I'm sure the cops had a good laugh about it at the donut shop.



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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #78)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:33 AM

79. LOL! The ol' "slow-drive while stoned" trick. Know it well, but never got stopped, thank heaven!

Did you happen to see AgainsttheCrown's post here?
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021973756#post69

He/she is a law enforcement officer and has a very interesting take on the coming changes.

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Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:50 AM

81. The current test is for THC only, not metabolites

I think that the testing aspect is going to have to be adjusted based on actual experience. I think there is too much focus on THC and not enough on the cannabidiols that put you to sleep, though they don't get you high. Being sleepy and driving is a VERY bad idea.

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/its-not-about-the-stoners/Content?oid=15084994

I-502's loudest critics are concern trolls. Moreover, they're concern trolls who have got theirs—folks who aren't going to get busted because they're largely white, authorized as medical marijuana patients, or wealthy from the medical marijuana market—and have little to gain by passing the initiative. Despite being a monumental leap for civil rights, they quibble, I-502 isn't ideal. But I-502 shouldn't be compared to the ideal law; it should be compared to prohibition, which is the only alternative we've got right now.

To the extent that people dislike compromises in I-502, I get that. Personally, I don't like the per se cutoff for driving, which says that you are automatically guilty of a DUI if the active THC in your blood is above the five-nanogram level; I think prosecutors should have to prove impairment. But per se cutoffs are the standard that we already have for alcohol, and like it or not, it's the same model we're going to see for marijuana. The reason those strict DUI provisions are in there is to help get this thing passed. Attacks focusing on stoned driving have played a big role in defeating other pot initiatives, such as Proposition 19 in California. A poll last year by Quinlan Rosner Research found that the DUI provision alone prompted 62 percent of voters to say that they were more likely to support I-502, and only 11 percent said it would make them less likely to support the initiative. Same goes for home growing; voters don't support it.

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Response to eridani (Reply #81)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:52 AM

83. Thanks for your take on this, eridani. You made some pertinent points...

"...there is too much focus on THC and not enough on the cannabidiols that put you to sleep, though they don't get you high. Being sleepy and driving is a VERY bad idea."

That's what I said in the OP. Driving stoned, not good. Sleeping at the wheel, even worse.

Another excellent point: "But I-502 shouldn't be compared to the ideal law; it should be compared to prohibition, which is the only alternative we've got right now."

Not perfect, but a worthy beginning. Now come the fine-tuning, field testing and legal challenges. No revolutionary piece of legislation is ever letter perfect on the first go-round.

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