cannabisnews.com: NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- May 13, 2004





NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- May 13, 2004
Posted by CN Staff on May 13, 2004 at 17:38:16 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
No Increased Risk For Drivers Exposed To Cannabis, Study SaysMay 13, 2004 - Tilburg, The NetherlandsTilburg, The Netherlands: Drivers who test positive for marijuana in their urine do not experience elevated risks for having a motor vehicle accident, according to case-control data to be published in the July issue of the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.
Researchers at the St. Elisabeth Hospital in the Netherlands estimated the association between drug use and motor vehicle accidents by conducting a prospective observational case-controlled study. Cases were drivers involved in road crashes requiring hospitalization. Controls were drivers recruited at random while driving on public roads.Authors found that drivers' risk for road trauma significantly increased with the use of benzodiazepines and alcohol. Increased risks, although not statistically significant, were also assessed for drivers using amphetamines, cocaine, or opiates."No increased risk for road trauma was found for drivers exposed to cannabis," authors concluded.Previous reviews have found similar results, noting that drivers with trace amounts of cannabinoids in the blood and/or urine are typically no more likely than drug-free drivers to be culpable in road crashes. By contrast, recent use of cannabis (i.e., within the past 1-3 hours), particularly in higher doses, may elevate a driver's risk for injury compared to drug-free drivers, according to recently published epidemiological data.For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano or Allen St. Pierre of the NORML Foundation at (202) 483-5500. Copies of the study, entitled "Psychoactive substance use and the risk of motor vehicle accidents," will appear in the July 2004 issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention.DL: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6073Third National Clinical Conference On Cannabis Therapeutics To Take Place Next WeekMay 13, 2004 - Charlottesville, VA, USACharlottesville, VA: Patients Out of Time and the University of Virginia School of Medicine will hold the Third National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics next week, May 20-22, at the Omni Charlottesville Hotel in Charlottesville, Virginia.Clinicians, researchers and health professionals from the US, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom will speak at the conference, entitled "Cannabis Use Throughout the Life Span."Speakers at the Third National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics include: Melanie Dreher, Dean of the University of Iowa School of Nursing; Geoffrey Guy, Founder and Executive Director of GW Pharmaceuticals; Raphael Mechoulam, Chair of the Hebrew University in Israel; and NORML board member Valerie Corral, Director of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM).NORML will have a table at the event.For a conference brochure and agenda, please visit: http://www.medicalcannabis.com/DL: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6076Conference To Question Medical Cannabishttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread18835.shtmlSurvey: MS Patients Claim Cannabis Is BeneficialMay 13, 2004 - Canberra, AustraliaCanberra, Australian Capital Territory: Patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) consistently cite marijuana as beneficial for treating symptoms of the disease, according to survey data published in the April issue of the journal Multiple Sclerosis.More than 2,500 volunteers responded to the anonymous, Internet-based survey, which asked people with MS their opinion on how various extrinsic factors affected their condition. "Common factors reported as beneficial were cannabis, cold baths, meditation and dietary factors," authors concluded.A previous 2002 British survey of Multiple Sclerosis patients found that 43 percent of respondents used marijuana therapeutically. Among current users, nearly three quarters said marijuana alleviated their spasms, and more than half said it relieved their pain.In addition, a 1997 survey of MS patients published in the Journal of European Neurology found that 97 percent of respondents reported marijuana improved their symptoms, including spasticity, chronic pain and tremor.Most recently, a 2003 survey conducted by the University of Calgary reported, "Subjective improvements in symptom experience were reported by the majority of people with MS who currently use cannabis."For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500.DL: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6074Canadian Decrim Plan Fizzles For Second Straight Year May 13, 2004 - Ottawa, ON, CanadaOttawa, Ontario: Parliament is scheduled to adjourn without approving legislation that would have made marijuana possession a fine only offense, The Globe and Mail has reported. Similar legislation introduced last year in Parliament also failed to receive a final vote in the House of Commons, despite having the support of then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien.This year's proposal, Bill C-10, "was repeatedly placed at or near the bottom of the list of bills to be debated, dragging out its progress through the Commons," The Globe and Mail reported. If passed, the proposal would have reduced penalties on the possession and use of up to 15 grams (about half an ounce) of cannabis to a ticketable offense.Representatives from the Bush administration lobbied vociferously against the legislation."It's a shame that Parliament has once again let 'Reefer Madness' get in the way of sound policy-making," NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. "Both the Senate and House select committees previously determined unequivocally that criminal consequences for the possession of marijuana by adults are disproportionate to any potential harms associated with its responsible use. Parliament would be best to defer to their recommendation rather than the unfounded concerns of prohibitionists."For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of the NORML Foundation at (202) 483-5500.DL: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6075Liberals Prepared To Allow Marijuana Bill To Diehttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread18822.shtmlSource: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: May 13, 2004Copyright: 2004 NORML Contact: norml norml.org Website: http://www.norml.org/NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- May 6, 2004http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread18815.shtmlNORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- Apr. 29, 2004 http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread18759.shtmlNORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- Apr. 20, 2004 http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread18703.shtml
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on May 14, 2004 at 17:31:30 PT
Canadian Decrim
"It's a shame that Parliament has once again let 'Reefer Madness' get in the way of sound policy-making," NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. "Both the Senate and House select committees previously determined unequivocally that criminal consequences for the possession of marijuana by adults are disproportionate to any potential harms associated with its responsible use. Parliament would be best to defer to their recommendation rather than the unfounded concerns of prohibitionists."Perhaps some of these gentlemen and ladies of their parliament are trying to read the Senate report. I imagine it's all pretty mind boggling considering the boxes they've lived in so long.
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Comment #15 posted by Dankhank on May 14, 2004 at 15:12:51 PT
Me too tense today ...
My first comment asked why NORML emulated Prohibitionist tactics of "information" release. Make a statement and let us search for their reference. I am today sending a CRL to the OK PFDFA with another disc of stories culled primarily from this site. It includes the story of the death attributed to Cannabis of a man in Wales. I am not afraid of the information, rather I welcome every story and use it to instruct. I quit talking about Impaired Driving until I studied it more and got Government Studies recommended by an official in the NHTSA. This is beginning to sound like a military story with all the acronyms.I still haven't had a chance to look at the full study, I scanned the info provided and my initial sense of it is as follows. It appears that getting baked is unwise as a way to prepare for driving. Took a lot to figure that out I suppose. Cannabis smokers often recognise the effects on them and as metioned here, "decline to drive." Good move. No one should drive if they feel unable to. Boozers overestimate their prowess. Sleepy people shouldn't drive. So I'll leave it there for now, I can't remember attacking anything here save NORML and their flawed News release. NORML of all organizations must know better.  I have recently called the NHTSA, PFDFA and yesterday was talking to the FDA. I demand accountability from them and NORML gets no less. Today I found NORML wanting.
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Comment #14 posted by ubas on May 14, 2004 at 14:05:57 PT
See Also
"For drivers with blood THC concentrations of 5 ng/ml or higher the odds ratio was greater and more statistically significant (OR 6.6, 95% CI 1.5-28.0)."Accid Anal Prev. 2004 Mar;36(2):239-48. 	Related Articles, Links 
 
The involvement of drugs in drivers of motor vehicles killed in Australian road traffic crashes.Drummer OH, Gerostamoulos J, Batziris H, Chu M, Caplehorn J, Robertson MD, Swann P.Department of Forensic Medicine, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, 57-83 Kavanagh Street, Vic. 3006, Southbank, Australia. olaf.drummer med.monash.edu.auA multi-center case-control study was conducted on 3398 fatally-injured drivers to assess the effect of alcohol and drug use on the likelihood of them being culpable. Crashes investigated were from three Australian states (Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia). The control group of drug- and alcohol-free drivers comprised 50.1% of the study population. A previously validated method of responsibility analysis was used to classify drivers as either culpable or non-culpable. Cases in which the driver "contributed" to the crash (n=188) were excluded. Logistic regression was used to examine the association of key attributes such as age, gender, type of crash and drug use on the likelihood of culpability. Drivers positive to psychotropic drugs were significantly more likely to be culpable than drug-free drivers. Drivers with Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their blood had a significantly higher likelihood of being culpable than drug-free drivers (odds ratio (OR) 2.7, 95% CI 1.02-7.0). For drivers with blood THC concentrations of 5 ng/ml or higher the odds ratio was greater and more statistically significant (OR 6.6, 95% CI 1.5-28.0). The estimated odds ratio is greater than that for drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10-0.15% (OR 3.7, 95% CI 1.5-9.1). A significantly stronger positive association with culpability was seen with drivers positive to THC and with BAC > or =0.05% compared with BAC > or =0.05 alone (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.1-7.7). Strong associations were also seen for stimulants, particularly in truck drivers. There were non-significant, weakly positive associations of opiates and benzodiazepines with culpability. Drivers positive to any psychoactive drug were significantly more likely to be culpable (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3-2.4). Gender differences were not significant, but differences were apparent with age. Drivers showing the highest culpability rates were in the under 25 and over 65 age groups.PMID: 14642878 [PubMed - in process]
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Comment #13 posted by ubas on May 14, 2004 at 13:43:03 PT
Driving Studies
"Previous reviews have found similar results, noting that drivers with trace amounts of cannabinoids in the blood and/or urine are typically no more likely than drug-free drivers to be culpable in road crashes. By contrast, recent use of cannabis (i.e., within the past 1-3 hours), particularly in higher doses, may elevate a driver's risk for injury compared to drug-free drivers, according to recently published epidemiological data."These statements are not incompatible. The first sentence acknowledges many of the studies cited by Dankhank et al (in many cases, where drivers were simply exposed to cannabis at some point in the past), while the latter acknowledges the dose-related studies from Australia, etc. where the time of exposure was found to be fairly recent.
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Comment #12 posted by ubas on May 14, 2004 at 13:30:40 PT
NORML Link
NORML's website provides a link to the full text 2004 Australian study in the online version of its press release.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on May 14, 2004 at 11:35:22 PT
Just a Comment
I don't want to interfere here but I just wanted to say one thing about cannabis and driving. I believe it would help prevent road rage. That's all.
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Comment #10 posted by JoeCitizen on May 14, 2004 at 11:15:20 PT
Dankhank, my response
I don't think your combative tone is particularly helpful or necessary. We are trying to share/compare information here, and learn from it.Secondly, I'm aware of virtually all of the studies you posted/referenced. I've read them in the past, and I scanned through them again after you posted the links to them. I don't think they contradict the study that I posted.None of the earlier studies, Australian, British, or American, took into account the degree of cannabis concentration in the body. None of them made reference to amount of THC/milliliter of blood. Since most people driving will likely not have the higher concentrations, they would fall into the lower and hence safer category. No dispute or contradiction there.Most of the earlier studies had fewer cases, although the larger Australian ones had at least comparable orders of magnitude (2500 cases for the 1998 Aussie study vs. 3398 cases for the recent 2004 study.) Larger doesn't definitively mean more accurate, but if the given methodologies of the studies are accepted, the larger study will tend to be more accurate.Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the recent (2004) study focused solely on crashes where the driver was fatally injured, whereas the other ones included non-injury crashes, or crashes where there was injury but not fatality. This difference is crucial. Almost all of the studies on the subject agree that cannabis DOES affect reaction time and perception, but that the cannabis-using subjects compensated for this effect by driving more cautiously. But what about situations where there is little to no chance of compensating, where the driver simply must react swiftly and decisively? If a speeding truck swerves across the center line at you, it really doesn't matter how slowly you were driving or whether you remembered to use your turn signal at the last intersection. You MUST REACT, and very quickly, to avoid a head-on collision.Light cannabis usage doesn't slow that reaction time significantly, it may even slightly help it, as shown by video game studies. But heavy cannabis usage DOES slow reaction time, and that can be the difference between a near-miss and a fatal collision. That is both supported by the known facts, and by simple common sense.Driving is a risky activity. People shouldn't do it while heavily impaired by cannabis, any more than they should drive while sleepy, drunk, or busily engaged with their cellphone/radio/make-up kit, etc. 99.9% of the time you won't need lightning reflexes. But once in a great while, you absolutely will. This study reflects that fact, and both NORML and IACM passed the information along.Communicating accurate information should NOT be seen as "propagating", the term you used, which is most often associated with disinformation, rumors, and propaganda. I first saw this information in an IACM bulletin long before NORML posted it, and as I said in my previous post, the IACM is hardly a prohibitionist organization.Here is a link for the 2004 Australian study, so you can evaluate it for yourself. Only the Abstract is free, if you want to view the PDF or HTML of the whole study it will cost you $30, which I don't have free to throw at this right now. The direct link is too darn long to fit in the URL box of this form, so 
use the green link below, then click on Vol 36-Issue 2 (March 2004), and then it's item #10 on that page.JC
Accident Analysis and Prevention Index
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Comment #9 posted by Dankhank on May 14, 2004 at 09:00:42 PT
Epidemiology
I don't mind reading the opposition cant re: Impaired Driving, what I don't like is NORML propogating the info the same way the government and politicians like to do. If you want to refer to a study that agrees with your point of view or your stated opinion, whatever, let's see or hear where to find the study. I will have more to say when I study the report.The gentleman who sent me the six DOT studies seemed to think the studies would prove the danger of Impaired Driving. You see the result of MY research. Get the studies youself if you don't believe I am accurate, they come from the DOT, should be free and come fairly soon. I am currently not at my computer, I am substituting in a JHS health class. What an education re: health I could give them if I never wanted to sub again.Main Entry: epidemiology 
Pronunciation: "e-p&-"dE-mE-'-l&-jE, -"de-mE-
Function: noun
Etymology: Late Latin epidemia + International Scientific Vocabulary -logy
1 : a branch of medical science that deals with the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population
2 : the sum of the factors controlling the presence or absence of a disease or pathogenStatistical studies of a sort, I surmise.
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Comment #8 posted by Dankhank on May 14, 2004 at 08:14:30 PT
more studies
I think the science daily article is offline, will search further. Hey ... some of these studies are fron Austrailia, too ... Australia: No Proof Cannabis Put Drivers At Risk (2001) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1849/a09.htmlUK: Cannabis May Make You A Safer Driver (2000) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v00/n1161/a02.html University Of Toronto Study Shows Marijuana Not A Factor In Driving Accidents (1999) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases\1999\03\990325110700.htm Australia: Cannabis Crash Risk Less: Study (1998) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98/n945/a08.html Australia: Study Goes to Pot (1998) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98/n947/a06.html
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Comment #7 posted by Dankhank on May 14, 2004 at 07:54:04 PT
Once more
So those who think pot causes crashes jump on single studies to gain proof. Here are some studies produced in America by the American governmentDOT HS 808 078 “Marijuana and Actual Driving Performance” Final Report, Nov. 1993 Conclusions on page 108 of the copy I received from the NHTSA are interesting and informative. A sample : “It is possible to safely study the effects of marijuana on driving on highways or city streets in the presence of other traffic.” “Drivers under the influence of marijuana tend to over-estimate the adverse effects of the drug on their driving ability and compensate when they can; e.g. by increasing effort to accomplish the task, increasing headway or slowing down, or a combination of these.”
DOT HS 808 939 “Marijuana, Alcohol and Actual Driving Performance” July 1999 Conclusion on page 39 midway of paragraph 5.1of the copy I received: The addition of the new data, (for marijuana), broadens the range of reactions that may be expected to occur in real life. This range has not been shown to extend into the area that can rightfully be regarded as dangerous or an obviously unacceptable threat to public safety.DOT HS 809 020 “Visual Search and Urban City Driving under the Influence of Marijuana and Alcohol” March 2000: Conclusion 1 on page 24 of the copy I received. “Low doses of marijuana taken alone, did not impair city driving performance and did not diminish visual search frequency for traffic at intersections in this study.”General Discussion on page 22. Previous on-the-road studies have also demonstrated that subjects are generally aware of the impairing properties of THC and try to compensate for the drug’s impairing properties by driving more carefully (Hansteen et al, 1976; Casswell, 1979; Peck et al, 1986; Robbe 1994).DOT HS 809 642 “State of Knowledge of Drug Impaired Driving” Sept 2003: Experimental Research of Cannabis, page 41 midway: “The extensive studies by Robbe and O’Hanlon (1993), revealed that under the influence of Marijuana, drivers are aware of their impairment, and when experimental tasks allow it, they tend to actually decrease speed, avoid passing other cars, and reduce other risk-taking behaviors.”DOT HS 808 065 “The Incidence and Role of Drugs in Fatally Injured Drivers” Oct. 1992 In discussing the “Distribution of Ratings on Driver Responsibility” Table 5.12 page 64 of the copy I received, paragraph (p.65); “Responsibility , drugs and alcohol, third paragraph, ”the following appears: “Note that the responsibility rates of the THC-only and cocaine-only groups are actually lower than that of the drugfree drivers. Although these results too are inconclusive, they give no suggestion of impairment in the two groups. The low responsibility rate for THC was reminiscent of that found in young males by Williams and colleagues (1986). This study is remarkable in it’s propensity to attack itself as inconclusive.Forensic Science Review Vol. 14, Number One/Two, Jan 2002, surely must be the reference of note regarding metabolic functions and where the THC goes following ingestion. This review discuses THC and it’s metabolites; THCCOOH, 11-OH-THC to mention the most discussed. Location and type of measured quantities of these and other metabolites should be easy to use to determine if a driver is “stoned” or was stoned yesterday, or last week. Mention was made of a man who had measurable levels of metabolites sixty-seven days after ingesting Cannabis.Chap IX paragraph D, “Summary” appears to be of two minds. While stating: “Studies examining Cannabis’ causal effect through responsibility analysis have more frequently indicated that THC alone did not increase accident risk …” it continues optimistically suggesting that further exhaustive research may rebut that.All of the studies agree that Cannabis shouldn't be in combination with Alcohol ... a major deleterious effect on driving skills, as is benzoates with Cannabis … it rapidly becomes evident that Cannabis in combination with any number of other drugs is not to be desired, but that Cannabis and Cocaine alone in all six studies have the smallest perceived safety risk of all the drugs and drug combinations tested.
Truth
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Comment #6 posted by JoeCitizen on May 14, 2004 at 07:38:47 PT
Nice, ubas
You got that up while I was still composing my post. It's really wonderful how many well-informed people read this board. Keeps me coming back every day!JC
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Comment #5 posted by JoeCitizen on May 14, 2004 at 07:36:00 PT
Because NORML is honest about science
The information about cannabis' effects on driving being dose dependent came from a recent Australian study. Drivers with lower cannabinoid content in their blood (5ng/ml or less) were less likely than even drug-free drivers to cause an accident. Drivers with higher than that amount were 2.7 times as likely to cause an accident as a drug-free driver.I would add from personal experience that there were times when I KNEW I was too high to drive safely. The difference between cannabis and alcohol is that when you're stoned, you don't lose your judgement about such things. Being drunk, however, even impairs the part of your brain that can make such judgements, and you say, "No, I'm fine." And then maybe smash your car into a family of six.NORML is a an honest broker of scientific information. They don't play the pick-and-choose game that the U.S. Govt. engages in, they don't just highlight the stuff that makes our cause look good and ignore the rest.In fact, I learned at a NORML conference a few years ago that the best, biggest, and most definitive study ever done on mortality involving cannabis (done by Kaiser-Permanente in the early 80's, before Reagan's Drug War ideology stifled any such research), showed that although cannabis users don't seem to die from lung or heart problems at any higher rate than normal, they DO tend to have more fatal accidents, often involving power tools. So don't get high and play with the table saw...Here's a link for the info on the Aussie driving study, it comes from IACM (International Association for Cannabis as Medicine), not exactly a rabid prohibitionist group.
The effect of cannabis on driving ability is dose-dependent
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Comment #4 posted by ubas on May 14, 2004 at 07:26:35 PT
Link to study
http://edata.ub.unimaas.nl/www-ereaders/FdP-readers/e-readerdocs/Ramaekers-Dose.pdf "Surveys that established recent use of cannabis by directly measuring THC in blood showed that THC positives, particularly at higher doses, are about three to seven times more likely to be responsible for their crash as compared to drivers that had not used drugs or alcohol." Drug Alcohol Depend. 2004 Feb 7;73(2):109-19. 
 
Dose related risk of motor vehicle crashes after cannabis use.Ramaekers JG, Berghaus G, van Laar M, Drummer OH.Experimental Psychopharmacology Unit, Department of Neurocognition, Faculty of Psychology, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, MD 6200 Maastricht, The Netherlands. j.ramaekers psychology.unimaas.nlThe role of Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in driver impairment and motor vehicle crashes has traditionally been established in experimental and epidemiological studies. Experimental studies have repeatedly shown that THC impairs cognition, psychomotor function and actual driving performance in a dose related manner. The degree of performance impairment observed in experimental studies after doses up to 300 microg/kg THC were equivalent to the impairing effect of an alcohol dose producing a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) >/=0.05 g/dl, the legal limit for driving under the influence in most European countries. Higher doses of THC, i.e. >300 microg/kg THC have not been systematically studied but can be predicted to produce even larger impairment. Detrimental effects of THC were more prominent in certain driving tasks than others. Highly automated behaviors, such as road tracking control, were more affected by THC as compared to more complex driving tasks requiring conscious control. Epidemiological findings on the role of THC in vehicle crashes have sometimes contrasted findings from experimental research. Case-control studies generally confirmed experimental data, but culpability surveys showed little evidence that crashed drivers who only used cannabis are more likely to cause accidents than drug free drivers. However, most culpability surveys have established cannabis use among crashed drivers by determining the presence of an inactive metabolite of THC in blood or urine that can be detected for days after smoking and can only be taken as evidence for past use of cannabis. Surveys that established recent use of cannabis by directly measuring THC in blood showed that THC positives, particularly at higher doses, are about three to seven times more likely to be responsible for their crash as compared to drivers that had not used drugs or alcohol. Together these epidemiological data suggests that recent use of cannabis may increase crash risk, whereas past use of cannabis does not. Experimental and epidemiological research provided similar findings concerning the combined use of THC and alcohol in traffic. Combined use of THC and alcohol produced severe impairment of cognitive, psychomotor, and actual driving performance in experimental studies and sharply increased the crash risk in epidemiological analyses.
Publication Types: 
*  Review
*  Review, AcademicPMID: 14725950 [PubMed]
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on May 14, 2004 at 07:15:22 PT:
Unrelated...but very enlightening
I've pointed out before what's been happening with regards to State and local government's when the once-flush Feds have been forced to cut back on dispensing OUR money back to those governments. The tensions rise in direct proportion to the fiscal loss. To the point that fights break out as to who gets the crumbs.But even more interesting: A minority councilmember points out that it's the minorties that are being arrested with far more frequency than the majority...and the use of the drugs issue as politically opportunistic stair-climbing:It's War!
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v04/n717/a04.html?1042from the article:*Mayor Worley, siding with Jones and Newman, called for a holistic approach while urging caution. "The process needs more attention," he observed. City Council, said the mayor, is "universally concerned" about drugs in the community, but before taking action, he wants to hear from the new police chief - who won't start work until mid-June. Worley went on to raise several questions of his own: "Where's the cost/benefit analysis? Is there a problem compared to other cities? . Let's be realistic: I don't think any of us are going to eliminate the drug problem." Dunn, however, argued that there has already been too much talking and not enough action. "We can't just sit back and study the problem - we need to take a step. ... There are criminals out there corrupting our children," he declared. And Davis reminded his colleagues, "If we miss this opportunity, we're talking about a year down the road" before Council once again discusses the budget. Newman then brought the debate to the national level, asking: "How much money does the U.S. spend every year fighting drugs? This is a theory that says that if we spend another million, the problem is going to go away. These problems are going to stay here even if we spend $2 million." Mumpower responded: "Brownie, you're right - we're not going to eliminate it, but by god, we're going to reduce it." A tale of two sons: After biting her lip through the better part of this debate, Council member Bellamy [the only minority member of the council - k.] waded into the fray. "Dollar for dollar - if you get a million for police, I want a million for after-school programs. Dollar for dollar - if we increase patrols in Deaverview, then increase them in north Asheville as well. Dollar for dollar!" Bellamy then bitterly flashed back to last year's budget battle, when she'd been the one to speak out about the drug problem in public housing - and Mumpower had been one of several Council members who rejected her request for additional police funding. "Last year I begged for this issue - begged!" she bellowed angrily. "But it takes somebody running for office to make it happen" - a not-so-subtle dig at Mumpower's political aspirations. She also stressed the differing realities faced by blacks and whites in the war on drugs, noting that she was the lone African-American in the room during the debate. Mumpower reminded Council that he has "a 20-year-old son, and if my only two choices are seeing him on a corner with a gun in his pocket selling poison to children or prison - then I'd choose prison." Bellamy shot back: "Well, I have a 1-year-old son, and chances are he's more likely to go to jail than your son." A scowling Mumpower charged, "That's a racist statement." And Bellamy glared as she shot back in a thundering voice: "Give me the numbers! How many have been arrested?"*As you can see, many minoriy pols are - finally! - awakening to the fact that their public support of the DrugWar has cost their own communities dearly.Look for more of these fireworks to happen at local and State levels as the economic situation gets worse. For if 'social justice' will not be the guiding light, then perhaps fiscal realities shall end the DrugWar... 
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Comment #2 posted by Dankhank on May 13, 2004 at 18:41:10 PT
What??????
--------By contrast, recent use of cannabis (i.e., within the past 1-3 hours), particularly in higher doses, may elevate a driver's risk for injury compared to drug-free drivers, according to recently published epidemiological data.-------------I can't believe NORML would fall into the same cant as Uncle Sugar ...WHAT recently published epidemiological data???????And WHY would NORML make this kind of statement???Curious minds want to know ...
Resist
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Comment #1 posted by Ganda on May 13, 2004 at 18:14:10 PT
BAN THAT VIDEO
I wish to air my dissapointment that the US hasn't banned this very offensive video. It encourages drug use, targetting kids in particular.ps i haven't actually seen the video.
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