Your License, Your Urine

Your License, Your Urine
Posted by CN Staff on June 03, 2004 at 18:42:28 PT
By Paul Armentano
Source: Heads Magazine 
Imagine if it were against the law to drive home after consuming a single glass of wine at dinner. Now imagine it was illegal to drive after having consumed a single glass of wine two weeks ago. Guess what? If you smoke pot, it's time to stop imagining.Legislation weaving its way through the US Congress demands all 50 states pass laws granting police the power to drug test drivers and arrest anyone found to have "any detectable amount of a controlled substance ... present in the person's body, as measured in the person's blood, urine, saliva, or other bodily substance." Though the expressed purpose of the law is to target and remove drug-impaired drivers from US roadways, the proposal would do nothing of the sort.
Most troubling, the proposed law -- H.R. 3922 -- does not require motorists to be identifiably impaired or intoxicated in order to be criminally charged with the crime of "drugged driving." Rather, police have only to demonstrate that the driver has detectable levels of illicit drugs or inactive drug metabolites in their blood, sweat, saliva, or urine. As many pot smokers know, marijuana metabolites are fat soluble, and remain identifiable in the urine for days and sometimes even weeks after past use. Consequently someone who smoked a joint on Monday could conceivably be arrested on Friday and charged with "drugged driving," even though they are perfectly sober! Here's how the law would work. Police, at their discretion, could order motorists during a traffic stop to undergo a drug test, most likely a urine test. If the driver's urine tests positive for prior pot use then he or she would automatically be charged and eventually found guilty of the criminal offense of driving under the influence of drugs -- even if the pot in question was consumed weeks earlier. Under the law, the fact that the driver is not impaired is irrelevant; the only "evidence" necessary is the positive test result.SO WHO'S BEHIND THIS? Over the past five years, a small cabal of prohibitionists, drug testing proponents and toxicologists have pushed for legislation criminalizing drivers who operate a vehicle with inert drug metabolites present in their system. To date, their efforts have persuaded ten states -- Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin -- to pass such "drugged driving" laws, known as zero-tolerance per se laws. Leading this charge is the Walsh Group, a federally funded organization that develops drug testing technology and lobbies for rigid workplace drug testing programs. Walsh Group President, Michael Walsh, is the former Director of the Division of Applied Research at the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and formerly served as the Associate Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), informally known as the Drug Czar's officeIn November 2002, the group partnered with the ONDCP to lobby state legislatures to amend their drugged driving laws. Every state has laws on the books prohibiting motorists from driving "under the influence" of a controlled substance. Like drunk driving laws, virtually all of these laws require the motorists to be impaired by their drug use in order to be charged with "drugged driving."Nevertheless, the Walsh Group argued that these existing laws are too lax on illicit drug users. To bolster their claim, they argued -- without explanation -- that actually linking illicit drug use to impaired driving is a "technically complicated and difficult task." Their solution? States should enact zero tolerance per se laws redefining "drugged drivers" as any motorist who tests positives for any level of illicit drugs or drug metabolites, regardless of whether their driving is impaired."There is clearly a need for national leadership at the federal level to develop model statutes and to strongly encourage the states to modify their laws," the organization concluded in a widely disseminated report. Notably, the authors failed to mention that the widespread enactment of such a policy would be a political and financial windfall for the Walsh Group's drug testing technology and consulting services.The Walsh Group is hardly the only organization with something to gain from the Bush administration's proposed "drugged driving" crackdown. Speaking at a White House-sponsored symposium in February, former 1970s Drug Czar Robert DuPont -- another ex-NIDA director who now helms the workplace drug testing consultation firm Bensinger, Dupont & Associates (BDA) -- also demanded the federal government mandate zero-tolerance drugged driving laws."Workplace drug testing has prepared us for drugged driving testing," Dupont told attendees, arguing that just as many public and private employees are subjected to random drug screening, so should motorists. Those drivers who test positive, says Dupont, should then be monitored through regularly scheduled drug tests, including hair testing, for a period of two to five years. "The benefits of this approach will be improved highway safety," he concluded, failing to explain how punishing sober drivers while simultaneously lining BDA's pockets would make America's roadways any safer.CRUISING ON CANNABIS: WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? "Driving under the influence of, or after having used, illegal drugs has become a significant problem worldwide," states the preamble to H.R. 3922. However, despite the government's claim, epidemiological evidence on the number of motorists who drive under the influence of illicit drugs is scarce. Further, among the limited evidence that does exist, much of it finds that pot's measurable yet relatively mild effects on psychomotor skills do not appear to play a significant role in vehicular crashes, particularly when compared to alcohol. "Crash culpability studies have failed to demonstrate that drivers with cannabinoids in the blood are significantly more likely than drug-free drivers to be culpable in road crashes," summarized researchers Gregory Chesher and Marie Longo in the recent book Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential. A 2002 Canadian Senate report was even more succinct, stating, "Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving."Nonetheless, Congress' proposed bill specifically and disproportionately targets motorists who may occasionally smoke pot because marijuana's metabolites exit the body more slowly than other drug metabolites, often remaining detectable in urine for several weeks at a time. Equally troubling, there currently exists no technology that can accurately correlate drug metabolite concentration to impairment of performance.Of course, such concerns are no bother to those in Congress who intend to ride this latest wave of drug war rhetoric to reelection. Nor are they of much worry to those in the drug testing industry who stand to make a fortune prosecuting and jailing sober pot smokers.As for everybody else, be afraid; be very afraid. And be sure to keep a fresh sample of urine in the glove compartment. Note: New State and Federal Laws Seek to Charge Non-Impaired Pot Smokers With "Drugged Driving"Source: Heads Magazine (US)Author: Paul ArmentanoPublished: June 2004 pp 18-19Copyright: 2004 Worldwide Heads, Inc.Contact: editor headsmagazine.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:NORML Bill is Excessive Targets 'Drugged Driving' Would Penalize People for Being High
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Comment #11 posted by breeze on June 05, 2004 at 00:25:02 PT
#6- Sam Adams
If what you say is true, then I have to say that I give up- let the tyrants win- I am out numbered, I quit. I fought a good fight, and now, i think I will just allow the police state mentality to take over- it will serve the shits proper for them to have to endure the tyranny they have just plain ignored, and we others have tried to warn them against. Its not been easy- its not been a joy, its definitely not been a "conspiracy theory"- its been coming. I am not being sarcastic- i am serious.From all of my efforts,and the response I have seen abroad to others efforts, etc- it seems that you are correct.I bid you all the best...
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Comment #10 posted by aolbites on June 04, 2004 at 20:40:36 PT
saliva-based test system
Press Release	Source: LifePoint, Inc.Oklahoma City Among LifePoint's First Criminal Justice Customers
Tuesday June 1, 8:30 am ET
IMPACT Test System Now in Routine Use by CustomersONTARIO, Calif., June 1, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- LifePoint, Inc. (AMEX:LFP - News), a leader in non-invasive drug diagnostic technologies and solutions, today announced that the Oklahoma City Department of Court Administration, Oklahoma is one of the first criminal justice agencies to fully adopt the IMPACT Test System, where it is being used to test individuals under the supervision of the probation department and the drug court.``The IMPACT Test System has proven to be easy-to-use and a very effective tool for testing our probation clients -- especially juveniles,'' stated Chief Probation Officer LaShawn Thompson. ``Oklahoma City has added the saliva-based test system to their testing protocol in order to eliminate problems with gender specific urine sample observation, and concerns regarding adulteration and substitution that can occur when collecting and testing for drugs. The IMPACT Test System is fully automatic, from sample collection to test results. Its user friendliness and ability to be used anywhere, at any time, by any member of our staff makes it an outstanding addition to our drug testing program,'' continued Ms. Thompson. ``We are proud to be among the first group of agencies in the country to employ this unique new non-invasive drug testing system.''-=cut=-
Press relese
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Comment #9 posted by rchandar on June 04, 2004 at 20:30:00 PT:
drugged driving
how likely this one will pass congress? any party breakdown (I'd been hearing that some republicans had broke party ranks on marijuana)?--rchandar
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 04, 2004 at 09:08:20 PT
Mark of The Devil
Drug testing reminds me of how they stripped women during the Salem Witch Trials to see if they had the mark of the devil on their body. Drug testing is a witch hunt. Shame on John Walters and all those who think it's ok to do this to people.
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on June 04, 2004 at 08:57:56 PT
Hands Off my Genitals, Hair, Blood, Spit
"Crash culpability studies have failed to demonstrate that drivers with cannabinoids in the blood are significantly more likely than drug-free drivers to be culpable in road crashes," summarized researchers Gregory Chesher and Marie Longo in the recent book Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential. A 2002 Canadian Senate report was even more succinct, stating, "Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving."No good reason for these tests. Get over it.
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on June 04, 2004 at 06:18:40 PT
Don't forget, probably 80% of Americans don't use illegal drugs. Of the 40% of Americans that vote, it's probably more like 90%. Young people generally don't vote.That's what these fascists are relying on. No one reads the newspaper. Most people will never even hear about this law. Of the ones that do, it will be a brief blurb passed on by some sexy news anchor, in between commercials. Our police state is built on apathy. Look around, the people that are enslaving you are everywhere. The US has the lowest voting rate in the entire world. 
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on June 04, 2004 at 04:23:31 PT:
Closet fetishists
Mentally borderline people who have unnatural obsessions about bodily fluids is how I characterize these 'drugged drivng' legislation proponents. Closet sickos attempting to cloak their private, disgusting quirks behind 'legitimate' government policy...and hoping to make some money off of it.
Twisted. Just plain twisted.
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Comment #4 posted by breeze on June 04, 2004 at 02:05:21 PT
The Police state draws nigh
This article, if it bears any manner of truth whatsoever, should be presented to every individual who believes in the rights passed down to us by the fathers of our nation.It clearly presents a constitutional fault- the right to be absent from illegal search and seizure. For too long people have gone silent about the laws on the books NOW that forfeit any US citizens right against unlawful search and seizure- that includes any thing that exits my body, and anything that is growing on my body.If this type of bill passes, I fear that there are many of my fellow countrymen who will not have to patience when dealing with a law enforcement agent who comes asking for a urine sample when no crime or law has been broken. It wreeks of a police state, something that many people will not stand for.This type of intrusion sparks rise to a rebellion the likes this nation has never seen, and if this bill goes through it will happen, believe me. What these people are asking for by pushing this type of ideology and governmental intrusion is going to result in home grown terrorism- it is as if every enemy our veterans fought against, and those that were threats to our nations constitution have infilitrated the offices of power that create and dictate such power.I do no understand what has happened to my country, my home. People are lazy in our nation, that is a given. But when someone even has the idea that such a thing is a good thing, it SHOULD expose that person for what they are as a person, as a communist, as a bringer of destruction to this nations ideals and principles. This type of bill indeed shows a few where this nation is heading, towards that of a police state- and it should be presented to every citizen of voting age in the country as what our leaders in office are speculating. I had a hard time being convinced that an EMPLOYER had the right to search any of my bodily fluids when it first became practice, and now- I am enraged. If you do not know what a police state is, begin thinking along the lines of what this world would be like if Hitler had won the war, and was in control of and had use of the technology of today. This example presents only a slight glimmer of what a police state truly is.
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Comment #3 posted by Virgil on June 03, 2004 at 19:36:14 PT
The high ground opposes this nonsense
They define flipping hamburgers as manufacturing and a little chemical an automatic drugged driving charge. It will put a blowback from all sides and it will be a boom to registered MMJ users. All things are for naught though if a big group of incumbents are not thrown out of their gerrymandering smugness.Berlin will change the climate of the whole world. It is a city in need of infusion as the rising Euro has diminished the American tourist dollars. The whole world will compare these proposed absurdities to what the rest of the world is doing. It is just the destruction of American good will world wide when they hear trash like this outside the country.I asked the HempCity people why there have not been protest over the cannabis issue and got two responses- uk's flooded with good weed and hash. 
Its illegal, but there is plenty. 
People are too stoned for demo's...2. There is two demos coming up,the first one on June 5th iiin Brixton and a second in Glasgow on 17th July organised by the Scottish Socalist Party.
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Comment #2 posted by RasAric on June 03, 2004 at 19:27:34 PT
Oh My Goodness
A 2002 Canadian Senate report was even more succinct, stating, "Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving."Funny. I took both my written and behind the wheel test quite stoned thank you. Oh yeah...and I passed. So either:A. Marijuana didn't affect my driving adversely.or,B. The driving instructor was stoned
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on June 03, 2004 at 18:47:04 PT
book a Leap speaker for your next event
Jun 5 04 Fill The Hill 02:00 PM Jack Cole Ottawa Ontario Canada 
 Executive Director Jack Cole and Alison Myrden will be heading to Ottawa, Ontario to speak at the Fill The Hill event. For more information: Jun 7 04 Silverton Rotary Club 12:00 PM Howard Wooldridge Silverton Oregon USA 
 Board Member Howard Wooldridge will be shining bright with members of theSilverton Rotary Club as he explains issues related to the failed war on drugs. Jun 8 04 Philomath, OR Rotary 12:00 PM Howard Wooldridge Philomath Oregon USA 
 The Philomath Rotary welcomes Board Member Howard Wooldridge for lunch and discussion of vialbe alternatives to the failed war on drugs. Jun 9 04 Lebanon Rotary 12:00 PM Howard Wooldridge Lebanon Oregon USA 
 Board Member Howard Wooldridge meets with members of the Lebanon Rotary to discuss the ramifications of the failed war on drugs.
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