Court: Marijuana use cause to deny workers compensation

Category: News | Posted on Thu, January, 12th 2012 by THCFinder
LITTLE ROCK — Two workers who tested positive for marijuana after being injured in an explosion when they tried to use a blow torch to open a 55-gallon drum that had contained flammable liquid were rightly denied workers’ compensation, the state Court of Appeals ruled today.
In a split decision, the court affirmed a state Workers’ Compensation Commission ruling against Matthew Edmisten and Greg Prock in a case stemming from a November 2007 accident at Bull Shoals Landing on Bull Shoals Lake in North Arkansas.
Three dissenting judges said there was no evidence that the accident occurred because of marijuana use.
According to the majority opinion, Edmisten held the barrel, which had contained marine oil, while Prock applied an acetylene torch to it in an attempt to cut it open. The resulting explosion caused both men to be engulfed in flames, from which they escaped by jumping into the lake.
At a hearing on their claims, the men testified that they had not used marijuana on the day of the accident, though they had used it in the past. A co-worker testified he had seen the men on the day of the accident and they did not appear to be impaired.
Edmisten and Prock also testified that they had not been warned against using a torch to open barrels. Prock testified that he had used that method previously.
Steve Eastwold, co-owner of Bull Shoals Landing, testified that he had shown Prock how to use a pneumatic air chisel to open barrels. He said he had never seen Prock use an acetylene torch for that purpose and had never approved that method.
An administrative law judge ruled that the injury was the result of an attempt to finish a task quickly, not the result of drug use. The commission overturned that ruling, finding that the men’s testimony was not credible.
The commission also said the testimony of a co-worker that the men did not appear impaired was not persuasive because about 90 minutes transpired between when the co-worker saw the men and the accident, and the men could have smoked marijuana during that time.
In its majority opinion today, the Court of Appeals said the commission weighed the credibility of the witnesses and reached a reasonable conclusion.
“We affirm because the commission’s decision displays a substantial basis for the denial of relief,” Judge Doug Martin wrote in the majority opinion in Prock’s appeal.
Judges David Glover, John Pittman, John Robbins, Waymond Brown and Jospehine Linker Hart joined Martin in voting to uphold the commission. Judges Larry Vaught, Raymond Abramson and Cliff Hoofman voted to overturn the commission.
“The commission had to resort to speculation or conjecture to conclude that the use of marijuana caused the accident because there was no evidence of impairment and no evidence that drug use caused this accident,” Abramson wrote in the minority opinion in Prock’s appeal.


Pot Dispensary Judge 'Made a Mistake'

Category: News | Posted on Thu, January, 12th 2012 by THCFinder

Biased Judge does the right thing last minute...probably to save his own ass!

A Long Beach judge recused himself today from the case of two men convicted of illegal marijuana sales at their dispensaries in Long Beach and Orange County, saying he wrote a glowing letter about the trial prosecutor prior to his sentencing of them.
Frankly, I made a mistake,'' Long Beach Superior Court Judge Charles Sheldon told attorneys in the case of Joseph James Byron and Joe Matthew Grumbine of Lake Elsinore, who were convicted Dec. 21 and were awaiting sentencing by Sheldon.
The attorney for Grumbine and Byron had asserted throughout the trial that the judge was overtly biased in favor of the prosecution and had successfully appealed one of his rulings that was overturned.
A courtroom audience packed with supporters of the two men applauded loudly after the judge announced that he was voluntarily recusing himself from the case. In the "mistake" letter dated Jan. 4, the judge wrote to Deputy District Attorney Jodi Castano's supervisor, Sally Thomas, that the prosecutor ``was unflappable, composed, steady, organized, and totally professional from beginning to end.''
The judge also wrote in the letter that he wanted to let Thomas know that ``you chose the right lawyer to handle this difficult case.'' The judge also forwarded a copy of the letter to attorneys for Byron and Grumbine on Jan. 5, noting in a letter to them that their clients' sentencing was ``coming up soon'' and that he felt they were entitled to know that the letter had recently been sent to the District Attorney's Office and the prosecutor.
``It's pretty obvious who was favored in this case and who wasn't,'' said Grumbine's attorney, Christopher M. Glew. ``To send a letter like that before sentencing, even he said, is a mistake ... Their (judges') job is to be neutral.''


Don't Ban Medical Cannabis in Los Angeles

Category: News | Posted on Thu, January, 12th 2012 by THCFinder

Some City Councilmembers in Los Angeles want to ban medical cannabis (marijuana) patients' cooperatives and collectives outright.


Patients and other community members have been working with the City Council to promote, develop, and implement sensible regulations for the city since 2005.


Banning patients' associations now means the City Council is turning its back on the large majority of local patients who rely on cooperatives and collectives for safe access to medicine.


Tell the Los Angeles City Council to live up to the promises they made to legal patients and the community over the years.


Fill in the form below and click "send your message" today. You can customize the letter if you wish.





Marijuana doesn't harm lung function, study found

Category: News | Posted on Wed, January, 11th 2012 by THCFinder
CHICAGO (AP) -- Smoking a joint once a week or a bit more apparently doesn't harm the lungs, suggests a 20-year study that bolsters evidence that marijuana doesn't do the kind of damage tobacco does.
The results, from one of the largest and longest studies on the health effects of marijuana, are hazier for heavy users - those who smoke two or more joints daily for several years. The data suggest that using marijuana that often might cause a decline in lung function, but there weren't enough heavy users among the 5,000 young adults in the study to draw firm conclusions.
Still, the authors recommended "caution and moderation when marijuana use is considered."
Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law although some states allow its use for medical purposes.
The study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham was released Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The findings echo results in some smaller studies that showed while marijuana contains some of the same toxic chemicals as tobacco, it does not carry the same risks for lung disease.
It's not clear why that is so, but it's possible that the main active ingredient in marijuana, a chemical known as THC, makes the difference. THC causes the "high" that users feel. It also helps fight inflammation and may counteract the effects of more irritating chemicals in the drug, said Dr. Donald Tashkin, a marijuana researcher and an emeritus professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Tashkin was not involved in the new study.
Study co-author Dr. Stefan Kertesz said there are other aspects of marijuana that may help explain the results.
Unlike cigarette smokers, marijuana users tend to breathe in deeply when they inhale a joint, which some researchers think might strengthen lung tissue. But the common lung function tests used in the study require the same kind of deep breathing that marijuana smokers are used to, so their good test results might partly reflect lots of practice, said Kertesz, a drug abuse researcher and preventive medicine specialist at the Alabama university.
The study authors analyzed data from participants in a 20-year federally funded health study in young adults that began in 1985. Their analysis was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Marijuana Use Most Rampant in Australia

Category: News | Posted on Fri, January, 6th 2012 by THCFinder
SYDNEY — A study published Friday in a British medical journal may have finally uncovered the secret behind Australia’s laid-back lifestyle, and it turns out to be more than just sun and surf: The denizens Down Under, it turns out, consume more marijuana than any other people on the planet.
The study, an analysis of global trends in illegal drugs and their effect on public health published in The Lancet, a prestigious journal, found that Australia and neighboring New Zealand topped the lists globally for consumption of both marijuana and amphetamines, a category of drugs whose use the study found to be growing rapidly around the world.
The study’s co-authors, Professors Louisa Degenhardt of the University of New South Wales and Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland, reported that as much as 15 percent of the populations of Australia and New Zealand between the ages of 15 and 64 had used some form of marijuana in 2009, the latest year for which data were available.
The Americas, by comparison, clocked in at 7 percent, although North America batted above the neighborhood average with nearly 11 percent of its population partaking. Asia demonstrated the lowest global marijuana use patterns at no more than 2.5 percent, the study said, although difficulties in obtaining accurate data in less developed countries were cited as one possible reason for the low figures.
The results were not surprising and reflected trends that have been in place for more than a decade, Mr. Hall said in an interview on Australian radio Friday. Despite the high figures in the report, he said, the rate of marijuana use in Australia has actually been dropping “steadily for the better part of a decade.”
Mr. Hall blamed both the ubiquity of the drug — Australia and New Zealand have no shortage of remote rural areas where policing is difficult and the plant grows like, well, a weed — and cultural mores that place the consumption of intoxicants at the center of social life.
“Just look at the way we take alcohol as an integral part of everyday life. I think a lot of young people see cannabis in the same way that we see alcohol: as no big deal, as a drug just to use to have a good time,” he said.
Stepping back for a global perspective, the study found that marijuana was the world’s most widely consumed illicit drug, with anywhere from 125 million to 203 million people partaking annually. Use of the drug far outstrips that of other illicit drugs globally, with 14 million to 56 million people estimated to use amphetamines, 14 million to 21 million estimated to use cocaine and 12 million to 21 million estimated to use opiates like heroin.
Still, despite marijuana’s significantly outpacing other illicit drugs in terms of the volume of use, the study found that it was the least likely of all illicit drugs to cause death. Additionally, barely 1 percent of deaths in Australia annually can be attributed to illegal drugs, the report said, compared with almost 12 percent from tobacco use.
The prevalence of marijuana use in Australia is widely accepted if not openly condoned, and at least three states have moved to decriminalize the possession of small quantities for personal use.
But the findings in the report most likely to cause concern to the Australian government were those relating to the use of amphetamines, and particularly methamphetamine, which has become a major public health concern over the past two decades. As much as 3 percent of the Australian population has used amphetamines like speed, compared with just 0.2 percent to 1.4 percent in Asia.


Marijuana Smoking For Middle-Aged Men Can Actually Improve Mental Sharpness

Category: News | Posted on Thu, January, 5th 2012 by THCFinder
Given the schizophrenic state of marijuana studies, we wouldn't blame if you just ignored the nerds and continued on with that joint.
It makes you drive better. It makes you crash.
It makes you insane in the membrane. It makes you slightly sharper.
Huh? That's right. That's the latest contention about L.A.'s favorite medicinal remedy in a new study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology:
Pot use actually appeared to improve "cognitive functioning" among the middle-aged men it examined.
Researchers looked at a whopping 8,992 men who used drugs, mainly marijuana, at age 42, and then again at age 50. They were given tests to determine their level of brain functioning. The study concluded:
A positive association was observed between ever (past or current) illicit drug use and cognitive functioning.
Reuters notes that " ... marijuana was by far the most common indulgence for the participants" of the study by Alex Dregan of King's College London.
Hell yeah, said the shaved-headed, 50-year-old creep who still has a bong and goes to raves. In your face, dad.
The study warns that heavy, long-term drug use could still be bad for your smarts and memory. But a little toke now and then with the boys? Eh.
An abstract of the study concludes:
At the population level, it does not appear that current illicit drug use is associated with impaired cognitive functioning in early middle age.



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