Stoned Drivers Hit Test Course In Washington To Evaluate Marijuana DUI Limits
As legislators in Colorado and Washington wrestle with a haze of questions regarding the regulation of legal marijuana, one issue often stands paramount: how high is too high to drive?
Given the lack of precedent, Washington TV station KIRO opted to elevate action over words. In a February 13 segment, the station assembled a group of volunteers, had them smoke pot (appropriately, the strain was called "blueberry train wreck"), and set them loose on a driving test course.
A handful of police officers stood nearby, keen to pick up on any telltale signs of stoned driving. To minimize dangers posed to bystanders, a driving school instructor, in the passenger's seat, sat ready to take the wheel or stomp the brake pedal at a moment's notice.
The results, while entertaining, unfortunately don't add much clarity to the question at hand. A regular smoker of marijuana tested above the legal limit to begin with, yet drove without much of a problem (at least initially). Two casual smokers also navigated the course without incident. (Spoiler alert: after smoking more marijuana, things devolve quickly).
In 2012, Colorado legislators declined to pass a law that would have limited drivers to 5 nanograms of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, per milliliter of blood.
"This is a bit of unprecedented territory, so trying to find the right approach has proven difficult and cumbersome," explained Rep. Dan Pabon, a lawmaker on Colorado's marijuana-legalizing task force, to CBS News in 2012.
Washington lawmakers, meanwhile, passed a law in 2012 setting the threshold for legal impairment at 5 nanograms of THC, reports NPR.
Ultimately, though, it comes down to common sense. Explains Bob Calkins, a Washington State Patrol spokesman, to The Oregonian, "We don't just pull people over and draw blood... If you're driving OK, we're not going pull you over. But driving impaired is still driving impaired."
Cville Attorney: Nix Jail Time for Marijuana Possession
A Charlottesville attorney is trying to take away jail time as a consequence for possessing marijuana.
Attorney Jeff Fogel says it's inappropriate, and some Charlottesville city councilors agree. Tuesday night, the touchy issue will get tackled at a City Council meeting.
The argument centers on prevention versus punishment, and developing a local ordinance that goes against the grain. Fogel said, "It is a very simple and modest proposal, simply: let's keep jail time out of this."
Fogel says going to jail for possession of pot is an expensive waste of time and resources.
"It's not an appropriate response. It doesn't serve anybody's interests, it doesn't stop people from smoking marijuana, it costs the rest of us money to keep them in jail and it's simply not appropriate," he said.
Currently, state law says anyone caught with marijuana faces up to 30 days behind bars for the first offense, and up to a year in jail for any subsequent offense. The proposed ordinance set to go before City Council would provide an option for law enforcement and city attorneys to take away the jail sentence for first offenders. Fogel says they should do away with jail sentences all together, and plans to present his own proposal to City Council Tuesday.
Fogel explains that if a proposed ordinance was adopted, whether to charge under the municipal ordinance or the state statute is a decision made by police in the first instance. The prosecutor can then also alter the charge either from or to the ordinance or the statute. He says it would be an expectation that law enforcement and city attorneys follow the city's policy.
Charlottesville City Councilor Kristin Szakos agrees jail time is extreme.
Read more: http://www.nbc29.com
Marijuana, Both Legal And Illegal, Triggers License Confusion For Doctors, Cops
BOSTON — Tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents could be at risk of losing their jobs if they use marijuana for medical relief, as government agencies work to balance the new state medical marijuana law with federal law, which says the drug is illegal under all circumstances.
Marijuana starts on a shelf during the opening of a Seattle medical marijuana market on Feb. 13 (Elaine Thompson/AP)
One potential scenario: A doctor who becomes a medical marijuana patient would be at “significant risk” of violating his or her license to practice medicine, according to Bill Ryder, legislative and regulatory counsel for the Massachusetts Medical Society.
Ryder says the main problem for doctors is a question on the state license application that asks, “Do you use an illegal drug?” The state Board of Registration in Medicine, which reviews physician licenses and applications, may still be bound to interpret “illegal drug” according to federal law.
“So the board could require you to report that and then judge you on the basis of the fact that you may have violated federal law,” Ryder explains.
Even if the board makes an exception for medical marijuana, and a physician has a certificate from his or her doctor, Ryder says the physician who is a patient may still put his or her license at risk.
Read more: http://www.wbur.org
The Battle Over Marijuana Headed To Reality TV In "Weed Country"
Category: News | Posted on Mon, February, 18th 2013 by THCFinder
The Discovery network is ready to shine a light on the world of the North California marijuana trade in the new reality series Weed Country. The six-part series will follow the growers, dealers, and law enforcement officers involved in the illegal marijuana industry centered in the quickly spreading area known as “The Emerald Triangle.”
The show is essentially about the “drug war” between weed growers who are constantly searching for scientific advancements to make stronger grade of weed and the cops who are on a mission to shut them down.
With the marijuana trade being an estimated $50-100 billion dollar industry in the US alone, the show will also examine the turf battles between the independent growers, and the struggles and triumphs of being in the weed business.
The legalization of cannabis has become a political hot button issue over the last several years with a lot of the prevailing trends leaning toward making marijuana legal for adults.
There are currently 20 states (including the District of Columbia) that allow the use of marijuana in some form. The most notable being Colorado and Washington whose citizens voted last November to allow persons over 21 years of age to purchase and consume cannabis for recreational use – the first such laws in the nation.
Ariz. court ruling upholds DUI test for marijuana
Category: News | Posted on Thu, February, 14th 2013 by THCFinder
PHOENIX (AP) -- An appeals court has issued a ruling that upholds the right of authorities to prosecute pot smokers in Arizona for driving under the influence even when there is no evidence that they are actually high.
The ruling by the Court of Appeals focuses on the chemical compounds in marijuana that show up in blood and urine tests after people smoke pot. One chemical compound causes drivers to be impaired; another is a chemical that stays in people's systems for weeks after they've smoked marijuana but doesn't affect impairment.
The court ruled that both compounds apply to Arizona law, meaning a driver doesn't have to actually be impaired to get prosecuted for DUI. As long as there is evidence of marijuana in their system, they can get a DUI, the court said.
The ruling overturns a decision by a lower court judge who said it didn't make sense to prosecute a person with no evidence they're under the influence.
The lower court judge cited the proliferation of states easing their marijuana laws, but the Court of Appeals ruling issued Tuesday dismissed that by saying Arizona's medical marijuana law is irrelevant regarding DUI. More than 35,000 people in Arizona have medical marijuana cards.
Grand Rapids to proceed with marijuana decriminalization
Category: News | Posted on Wed, February, 13th 2013 by THCFinder
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - The city manager plans to authorize decriminalization of marijuana possession and use “very soon.”
Grand Rapids administrators said they are preparing a news release to specify a date for implementation of the voter-approved decriminalization, which is being challenged in court by the Kent County prosecutor. Kent Circuit Judge Paul Sullivan last month lifted a temporary injunction on decriminalization while Prosecutor Bill Forsyth’s case plays out.
Though the city now can implement decriminalization, it has not yet done so.
“I believe we will very soon do that,” City Manager Greg Sundstrom said. “I want to make sure our (police) department is ready. I want to make sure our courts are in alignment. This is nothing to be taken lightly.”
Read more: http://www.mlive.com
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