NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- February 26, 2004

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- February 26, 2004
Posted by CN Staff on February 26, 2004 at 15:47:55 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Criminal Justice System Drives Marijuana "Treatment" Admissions, Federal Study SaysFebruary 26, 2004 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Fewer than one in five people admitted to drug treatment for marijuana in 2001 did so voluntarily, and more than half were referred by the criminal justice system, according to statistics released recently by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Among the 255,000 individuals admitted to treatment in 2001 (the last year for which data is available) primarily for marijuana, 57 percent were referred by the criminal justice system. In many cases, these were first-time offenders arrested for marijuana possession, and given the option by a judge or drug court of entering drug treatment as an alternative to jail."The HHS data indicate that the dramatic rise in marijuana 'treatment' admissions over the past decade is primarily because of a proportional increase in individuals arrested on marijuana charges and referred to drug treatment in lieu of incarceration," NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre explained, noting that annual arrests for pot increased from 289,000 in 1991 to 724,000 in 2001. "This increase in marijuana 'treatment' admissions is not attributable to any significant changes in the number of individuals checking themselves into drug treatment because they are experiencing social or health consequences from their marijuana use, or exhibiting clinical symptoms of dependence from cannabis."According to HHS, only 17.5 percent of those admitted for marijuana treatment in 2001 did so voluntarily, compared to 65 percent for heroin and 40 percent for cocaine. Other sources of marijuana treatment referrals included "substance abuse or other health care provider" (11 percent), "school" (4 percent), and "employer" (1.2 percent).Among youth aged 12-17, well over 60 percent of those in drug treatment in 2001 were referred by the criminal justice system, up from approximately 37 percent in 1992. Among adolescents admitted to drug treatment primarily for marijuana, 54 percent were referred by the criminal justice system.St. Pierre said that he is troubled by the dramatic rise in criminal justice referrals, stating that the increase in marijuana arrests is forcing judges to inappropriately use drug treatment clinics as temporary repositories for low-level marijuana offenders."A disturbing percentage of America's drug treatment resources are being siphoned off by recreational pot smokers who don't meet any scientific criteria for dependence, but instead have been mandated to attend treatment in lieu of jail," he said. "At a time when tens of thousands of hard drug addicts are being denied access to drug treatment due to a lack of bed space and federal funding, it is unconscionable that America's drug treatment centers are bursting at the seams by needlessly housing marijuana smokers."For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of the NORML Foundation at (202) 483-5500. Treatment data for marijuana and other drugs is available online: "Drugged Driving" Conference Calls For Expanded Role For Drug Testing February 26, 2004 - Tampa, FL, USAFuture Laws Could Mandate Drivers To Submit To Random Roadside Drug Screening Tampa, FL: State DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) laws should allow police expanded authority to randomly draw bodily fluids from drivers in order to deter people from driving while impaired by illicit drugs, recommended panelists at this week's two-day symposium on drugged driving, sponsored by The Walsh Group, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).The meeting, entitled "Developing Global Strategies for Identifying, Prosecuting, and Treating Drug-Impaired Drivers," focused on ways police could better identify drivers who have used marijuana. Panelists proposed allowing law enforcement officials to collect blood, saliva, and/or urine samples from drivers during roadside stops to test for either illicit drugs or, in some cases, drug metabolites (inert compounds indicative of past drug use). Panelists agreed that an ideal policy would allow police the authority to test drivers both with cause (i.e. drivers believed by the officer to be impaired) and without cause (i.e. drivers not believed to be impaired)."America's experience with workplace drug testing (where suspicionless drug testing is allowed) has prepared us for drugged driving testing," former NIDA director Robert DuPont said. "We must move away from the concept of 'You can't drive impaired by drugs,' to 'You can't drive on drugs at all.'"Currently, nine states (Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Rhode island, Utah, and Wisconsin) have enacted so-called "zero tolerance" per se laws which make it a criminal offense to operate a motor vehicle while having a drug or metabolite in one's body or bodily fluids. Under such statutes, individuals can be found guilty of violating the law if the driver is found to have been operating a motor vehicle with any amount of a prohibited substance present in their system. In the case of marijuana, the inactive metabolite remains identifiable in the urine for days and sometimes even weeks after its use.NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup called such laws unfair and bad public policy. "While driving under the influence of pot is never acceptable, neither is it acceptable to treat sober drivers as if they are impaired simply because low levels of inactive marijuana metabolites may be detectable in their blood or urine," he said. "These 'zero tolerance' laws are neither a safe nor sensible way to identify impaired drivers; they are an attempt to misuse the traffic safety laws to identify and prosecute marijuana smokers per se."For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.DL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: February 26, 2004Copyright: 2004 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- Feb. 19, 2004's Weekly News Bulletin -- Feb. 12, 2004's Weekly News Bulletin -- Feb. 5, 2004
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Comment #20 posted by hempsterdude on February 28, 2004 at 03:42:17 PT:
drugged driving
hope you are well
i hope this can help
 back around 1972,73 i attended drivers ed class in fayetteville, north carolina.
 It was taught at the schools in the summer and you attended the class the summer before your 16th birthday if you wanted your drivers license.
 Part of the classes were movies.
 One of these movies was
 made by a research institute in canada.(wish i knew the name,but i dont,sorry).
 They had interviewed and selected some people and put them in different groups. each group was given a different drug; alcohol,barbituites/valium,cannabis and a placebo group.
 Each hour the selected drug was administered and then the people in the group would drive a rigorous course and were then graded.
 At the end of the day the scores were tallied and guess what,
 the winners were the cannabis smokers,they even beat the placebo group.
 Their only fault was they averaged 5 miles and hour slower than everyone else.
 Some people in the alcohol group never finished the test.
i know that drivers ed. class was taught throughout the state so alot of people had to have seen this movie. there has to be a copy of it somewhere.
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Comment #19 posted by mamawillie on February 27, 2004 at 14:50:37 PT
Peace out, brother. 
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Comment #18 posted by Dankhank on February 27, 2004 at 14:14:42 PT
stoned and drivin'
so, mamawillie ...found enough to justify caging humans for smoking and driving?I know a woman who doesn't drink, smoke ... nic or pot, do any other drugs, except pharma drugs and scares the crap out of any who rides with her.
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Comment #17 posted by mamawillie on February 27, 2004 at 11:18:21 PT
Erowid has a collection of research
I just found this and post it for anyone who is looking for more information on the topic:*****While it is widely accepted that cannabis use can slow motor skills and reduce task-attention, increasing in severity with dose, research has shown that cannabis use is less likely to dangerously impair driving abilities than alcohol at similar levels of intoxication. Cannabis intoxication often makes smokers more aware of their impairment, causing them to slow down and become more cautious while also worsening reaction time and attention. Cannabis users often report that driving speeds are experientially 'faster' than normal: driving a given speed feels faster and more dangerous than the same speed does while sober.There have been a number of studies which have looked at this issue and most have found that cannabis smoking does degrade driving performance. There is a little contradictory evidence about whether cannabis in combination with alcohol causes worse impairment than alcohol alone, but so far the data heavily favors the view that the combination substantially increases risks over either alone. The research so far does not provide a clear answer to how much risk of accidents increase with moderate levels of cannabis intoxication, but only confirms that the risks of cannabis-alone impairment are lower than those of alcohol-alone impairment. The following are a collection of summaries & papers which look at the issue of cannabis & driving performance.*****That link contains several links...mama
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Comment #16 posted by mamawillie on February 27, 2004 at 11:15:23 PT
Thanks, Joe Citizen 
That information you posted was really what I was looking for. Thanks.
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Comment #15 posted by Nuevo Mexican on February 27, 2004 at 10:06:06 PT
Thanks E.J.! You have the last word!
Not flaming, just outraged! Driving while enhanced on Cannabis for over 30 years now, I am a living example of a 'cannabis using driver'. When I look over at the driver smoking a joint while driving, I don't fear for my life, in fact, I have no reaction, other than wanting to partake!But when I see 16 year olds, jumping into a car with a 12-pack of beer that some adult purchased for them, I freak!
I see it all the time, as most have here, don't deny it.Alcohol kills, Cannabis chills!Driving sober, in a rush to get to work, hopped up on caffeine, while nicotine rushes through your bloodstream, while listening to Rush Limbaugh, and talking on a cell phone, while on a prescription for who knows what, where are the studies that show these drivers are a danger. Where is the 'concern'? It has to be manufactured by the faux media. Only some here at C-News 'buy it'.Keith Stroup is out of the loop, lets email all of these studies to him, and hold him accountable! Don't but into the propagandists' lies, and misunderstandings.Don't buy mamawillies lack of insight and maybe experience about driving while enhanced. Base your experience on your own experience!Mamawillie shouldn't drive while enhanced, and noone is forcing MW to, as it should be left up to the individual as to whether the feel up to the task.Check in with yourself. Do I feel like going to the grocery at this very moment, or should I wait 15 minutes til I feel more confident and less enhanced. Make your decision for yourself, we don't need someone telling us if were to enhanced to drive or not. Personal Responsibily starts at birth and ends at death.I drive better while high, years of research have proven this, and while driving in L.A. on the freeway I notice everyone puffing, and i've never felt concerned, but relieved! Driving while not enhanced on the 405 is not recommended, but discouraged from this persons experience.It is simple. It is called taking responsibility for ones actions. Period. End of subject.E.J. rocks as usual, thanks for your prolific writing abilities, you are an inspiration for all C-newsers to take that writing class!
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Comment #14 posted by JoeCitizen on February 27, 2004 at 09:35:35 PT
Driving impairment is dose related
[Low doses of cannabis do not tend to impair drivers much, but high doses do.E.J. - if your medical needs require you to smoke a heavy amount of cannabis on a daily basis, you may indeed need to refrain from driving, or possibly even give up your license if you are never unimpaired (not to Keith Stroup, but to your state government, who issues that license.) I don't think the issue of driving on cannabis is any different than someone driving after taking doses of opiates, or muscle relaxers, tranquilizers, etc.  If your medicine impairs you, you shouldn't drive. Whether that's "fair" to medical users or not, accidently running over someone should not be an option. - JC] 
From the Bulletin of The International Association for Cannabis as Medicine (IACM)Science: The effect of cannabis on driving capability is dose-
dependentAccident causes were analysed in an Australian study with 3398 
fatally-injured drivers. While drivers with low THC concentrations 
in their blood had a lower probability of causing a traffic accident 
than drug free drivers, higher THC concentrations were 
associated with a considerable higher culpability ratio.For all drivers with only THC in their blood the odds ratio (OR) 
for causing an accident compared to drug free drivers was 2.7 
(which means 2.7-fold). For drivers with more than 5 ng/ml THC 
in the blood the OR increased to 6.6. However, the culpability 
ratio for drivers with 5 ng/ml THC or less in their blood was lower 
than drug free drivers. Drug free means that no legal (alcohol, 
medical drugs) or illegal drugs were found.The culpability ratio of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration 
above 0.05 per cent was about three times higher than that for the 
THC only group. The OR for drivers with THC and alcohol 
compared to the THC only group was 2.9, suggesting an additive 
effect of THC and alcohol on impairment of driver performance.Drivers above the age of 60 and below the age of 25 had a higher 
culpability risk than drivers 30-59 years of age, the first probably 
due to a decreased psychomotor performance, the latter probably 
due to unexperience and higher risk-taking. The OR of drivers 18-
25 years of age compared to drivers of 30-39 years of age was 
1.7, the OR of drivers above the age of 60 compared to drivers of 
30-39 years of age was 2.2. (Sources: Drummer O, et al. The involvement of drugs in drivers 
of motor vehicles killed in Australian road traffic crashes. Accid 
Anal Prev 2004;36(2):239-48; personal communication by Olaf 
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Comment #13 posted by afterburner on February 27, 2004 at 07:52:42 PT:
They Don't Like It...Hey, Mikee
Drug tests urged for police
Feb. 27, 2004. 09:46 AMToronto police should face mandatory drug tests before they are promoted or transferred to "sensitive or high risk" units such as the drug squad, says a hard-hitting report made public yesterday. Crime reporter Betsy Powell has the details.  [Full Story]
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Comment #12 posted by darwin on February 27, 2004 at 06:42:29 PT
While I agree that most people can drive fine while high, there are two reasons that we can't publicly state this. 
1) The average non-user will never go for legalization without calming there fears about stoned drivers. We can convince them of the damage of prohibition, but you'll never convince the average soccer mom that stoned drivers are safe. Once we legalize, then people can challenge the driving issue. One step at a time.
2) Inexperienced users can have a much more intense high and experience anxiety. They should not be driving in this state. 
We should urge users to be as responsible as possible, to be politically palatable and to protect new users from making big mistakes. Harm reduction is how we win, not by trying to portray cannabis as the miracle drug that it is.
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Comment #11 posted by Dankhank on February 26, 2004 at 20:35:54 PT
when and where
There are specific metabolites in saliva within a couple of hours that rapidly degrade beyond detectability.I increasingly read of the THC-COOH as indicative of recent Cannabis ingestion, smoked ... maybe other ways is mentioned in the 078 study.
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Comment #10 posted by Dankhank on February 26, 2004 at 20:28:52 PT:
Under the level of measurable metabolites of the dosage desired by the Government researchers that did the study.I hope I don't sound too short, but, it's the governments own studies ...Either of the two I summarized are available online 
Google search ...and see for yourself.DOT HS 808 078 uses 300 ug/kgDOT HS 808 939 used 100-200 ug/kg it's not really a u in the preceding, can't readily make the funny u of the report.It's ok to be forceful, little if any flaming ever happens in here ... if you flame, FOM will getcha :-)
Hemp N Stuff
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Comment #9 posted by mamawillie on February 26, 2004 at 20:13:05 PT
define under the influence of marijuana
We all spout off how there is no way to tell if one is currently "under the influence" of marijuana since the metabolites stay in the body for days to weeks depending on the level of usage.So tell me how that study determined that the pot smokers were actually under the influnce at the time of the accident studied?Define what levels of THC determine "under the influence". How do we know these people hadn't smoked hours before the accident and were not actively under the influence.You can't have it both ways. Tell me what levels of THC define "under the influence" of marijuana or "impaired" driving because of current marijuana usage.Again, not flaming... just discussing...
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Comment #8 posted by Dankhank on February 26, 2004 at 19:32:48 PT:
Pot has minor effect on driving ...
Pot and driving
pot and driving
WILL IT NEVER END?I received 6 studies in the mail today from the DOT, department of transportation.These in response to my query of the head of the NHTSA, national highway transportation safety administration, regarding his comment in 2003 "last year {2002} 38,000 accidents were caused by marijuana-impared drivers" and where HIS data came from.DOT HS 808 078 "Marijuana And Actual Driving Performance"... says on page 108 " It is possible to safely study the effects of marijuana on driving on highways or city streets in the presence of traffic."if that's the case ... WHY are we arguing???????"Drivers under the influence of marijuana tend to over-estimate the adverse effects of the drug on their driving ability andcompensate whe they can; e.g. by increasing effort to accomplish the task, increasong headway or slowing down, or a combination of these."All in all, NONE of the conclusions state that marijuana users' driving skills are particularly affected.Department of Transportation Highway Study (DOT HS)DOT HS 808 939 Marijuana, Alcohol and Actual Driving Performance" says on page 40 in Specific Conclusions that under the influence of a typical dose marijuana users wobble a bit more in the lane and have a bit of trouble maintaining 'headway.' (keeping steady distance from vehicle in front).There are serious concerns about Marijuana and Alcohol mixed and the almost synergistically adverse effect on driving ability.This just confirms what Fearless Frank, a fabulous furry freak brother, said in the sixties ... "remember boys and girls, smoking dope and drinking beer is like pissin' in the wind."He's correct according to the DOT.I received 6 packets, have perused 2 and will work on the rest. I will submit final report on all six here soon.
Hemp N Stuff
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Comment #7 posted by E_Johnson on February 26, 2004 at 19:18:06 PT
Should we ban driving for medical users?
Medical users smoke every day.What is Stroup saying to us?That we need to surrender our licenses to him?I object. And the science is behind me, not him.
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Comment #6 posted by E_Johnson on February 26, 2004 at 19:11:22 PT
It's a perfectly reasonable extrapolation
If they can't find anything wrong that means it's fine.It says in the article depite trying, they can't find anything wrong.Eventually you have to give up and admit -- there's nothing wrong with it.And other research shows a slight benefit. The study Clinton tried to squelch back when he first took office showed a slight benefit.And I believe it because I think it does help me drive better.If they find it's not causing accidents -- then that means something.It doesn't just mean that they were too lazy or stupid to find what was really there.It means what they were looking for really isn't there.It really isn't there.And we should not go around claiming it is!!!!
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Comment #5 posted by mamawillie on February 26, 2004 at 18:29:43 PT
This is what I was talkign about
You post 1 study that doesn't even say driving while under the effects of marijuana is fine. Then you use that as your defense that "it is fine to drive on pot". That study does NOT say what your purport. NOR does it say "people drive better while on pot."All that study says is: "It has been impossible to prove marijuana affects driving adversely."You can't take a study and make it say something it doesn't, nor can you decide that it says people drive fine while on pot, when it doesn't say that at all.All that study did is compare the incident of pot related accidents (which we already know is hard to prove due to the metabolite issue, which the study does not address BTW) to the incident of alcohol related accidents.By posting that study, all you did was disprove everything you purported.Mama
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Comment #4 posted by E_Johnson on February 26, 2004 at 18:28:25 PT
Going one more time
Not flaming, just telling me that I was wrong. heheheThese are facts. Facts do exist and what I printed about breast cancer and body weight -- that was as factual as the medicinal powers of marijuana.It's a fact that marijuana doesn't impair the way people actually drive on the road and it's a fact that estrogen makes breast tumors grow and it's a fact that estrogen can be synthesized by fat cells and it's a fact that a recent study says that women who gain over 20 pounds after high school have a 40% greater likelehood of getting breast cancer than women who keep their weight in line.You can't correct me on those things because you then have to go and correct all the science -- and you can't do that because the science is valid.
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Comment #3 posted by E_Johnson on February 26, 2004 at 18:21:26 PT
I certainly will go there
You can't build freedom on lies. PROOF CANNABIS PUT DRIVERS AT RISKStudies had found it impossible to prove cannabis adversely affected driving, an Adelaide University researcher said yesterday.Professor Jack Maclean, director of the road accident research unit, said, while there was no doubt alcohol affected driving adversely, that was not the case with marijuana."It has been impossible to prove marijuana affects driving adversely," he told the Australian Driver Fatigue Conference in Sydney."There is no doubt marijuana affects performance but it may be it affects it in a favourable way by reducing risk-taking."Professor Maclean said a study of blood samples taken by SA hospitals from people injured in road accidents found marijuana was the second most common drug, after alcohol, in the bloodstream.Those with marijuana in their blood, however, were at fault in less than half of the accidents."Alcohol was by far the most common drug and 80 per cent of those with alcohol on board were judged to be responsible ( for accidents )," he said."The next most common drug, but much less, was marijuana and about 48 per cent of the people with marijuana were judged to have been responsible for their crash."He said the lack of proof that marijuana was detrimental to driving was not because of a lack of effort by researchers."I can say that there are some quite distinguished researchers who are going through incredible contortions to try and prove that marijuana has to be a problem," he said.Professor Maclean said some researchers also found the risk of crashing while driving at the speed limit in a metropolitan area actually decreased if a driver had been drinking but was under the 0.05 blood alcohol limit."Perhaps for some people one or two glasses of alcohol may steady them down," he said.As speed and alcohol concentration rose, however, the risk of accidents rose exponentially. 
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Comment #2 posted by mamawillie on February 26, 2004 at 18:13:51 PT
Won't go there, E_Johnson
It isn't fine to drive while on pot... not as a rule. You may drive fine while on pot. I have once and I will *NEVER* drive while high again.There should never be any type of rule or establishment that says it is fine to drive while high.Now, I am very afraid of the scary stuff in that newsletter, most especially the part about no-cause taking of bodily fluids... that's frightening beyond words.I also took exception to your comments in an earlier thread about stomach stapling, but I don't have enough time to counter all of the mistakes in that one...Not flaming... just calling you on what I feel... don't wish to pursue this further....Mama
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on February 26, 2004 at 17:27:43 PT
NORML pandering to pseudoscience?
It's never acceptable to drive on pot?It's fine to drive on pot, because people drive better on pot. That's what the science says. It says it over and over again. If NORML can't speak the truth in public, then who can?
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