NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- August 12, 2004

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- August 12, 2004
Posted by CN Staff on August 12, 2004 at 14:15:48 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Massachusetts Voters To Weigh In On State Pot PoliciesAugust 12, 2004 - Georgetown, MA, USAGeorgetown, MA: Voters in three state Senate and eight House districts will decide this November on several non-binding "public policy questions" pertaining to the possession and use of marijuana.
Voters in two Senate districts (2nd Essex, 3rd Essex and Middlesex) and one House district (10th Norfolk) will decide on a proposal directing state legislators to introduce legislation making the possession of marijuana a civil violation.Additionally, voters in four House districts (3rd Plymouth, 6th Norfolk, 6th Worcester, 12th Worcester) will decide on a proposal directing state legislators to introduce legislation making marijuana possession punishable by a maximum fine of $100.Lastly, voters in four House districts (3rd Berkshire, 7th Plymouth, 24th Middlesex) and one Senate district (Worcester and Norfolk) will decide on a proposal directing state legislators to introduce legislation allowing patients to use medicinal marijuana under a physician's supervision.In 2002, Massachusetts voters in 19 state representative districts decided in favor of similar non-binding questions advocating marijuana liberalization.For more information, please visit MassCann/NORML at: and Higher To Inhale of Marijuana Use May Head To Ballot Medical Marijuana Ban Unfounded, Ethics Journal ConcludesAugust 12, 2004 - Lancashire, United KingdomLancashire, United Kingdom: Scientific and ethical considerations regarding the use of cannabis as a prescription medicine do not justify its prohibition, concludes a commentary published this month in the Journal of Medical Ethics."Medical facts are too vague to overturn [a patient's] informed choice, concrete harm is not inflicted on innocent third parties, and considerations of ... symbolic harm cannot outweigh the suffering that can probably be removed by the drug," the commentary states.The author further adds that "freedom, properly understood, provides a sound ethical reason to allow the use of cannabis in medicine."For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Abstracts of the commentary are available online at: Propose Per Se Guidelines For Cannabis And "Drugged Driving" August 12, 2004 - Glasgow, United KingdomGlasgow, United Kingdom: Laws prohibiting motorists from operating a vehicle with any detectable level of marijuana or marijuana metabolites in the driver's blood or urine improperly classify occasional marijuana smokers as impaired, concludes a report presented this week at the 17th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS) in Glasgow.To date, ten states have adopted such DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) laws, known as zero tolerance per se laws, and similar federal legislation is pending in Congress. Under these statutes, motorists may be criminally prosecuted if trace levels of cannabis or cannabis metabolites (inactive compounds that remain detectable in the urine for days or weeks after past use) are found in the driver's bodily fluids, even if the individual is neither under the influence nor impaired to drive."While [zero tolerance laws] facilitate law enforcement, [they] may unfairly classify many occasional drug users as impaired, even if they responsibly separate use and driving," concluded presenters from an international working panel of physicians, forensic toxicologists and traffic scientists, led by Drs. Franjo Grotenhermen of Germany's nova-Institut and Gunter Berghaus of the University of Cologne. "This is a problem particularly with driving under the influence of cannabis [because] THC, the psychoactive constituent of cannabis, and its metabolites may be detectable in blood and urine for days or even weeks after use. Per se laws specifying a science-based, finite legal limit for a suitable indicator of impairment by cannabis would minimize this problem and motivate drivers to separate cannabis use and driving."Though no scientific consensus exists specifying per se impairment levels for marijuana, researchers said that culpability crash studies consistently report that drivers with THC levels in their blood below 5ng/ml are not associated with elevated risks of having a traffic accident."Commonly consumed doses of THC may cause maximum psychomotor impairment in some behavioral areas comparable to that equivalent to a BAC of above 0.08 percent," researchers determined. However, they also noted, "Relevant acute effects typically subside within 3-4 hours after smoking. ... According to culpability studies, THC levels in blood serum below 5 ng/ml were not associated with an elevated accident risk. Even a THC serum level of between 5 and 10 ng/ml may not be associated with an above normal accident risk. [Therefore,] unless they are under the acute influence of the drug, both frequent and infrequent users of cannabis do not seem to have a higher accident risk than non-users."Consequently, researchers recommend replacing zero tolerance per se laws with scientific-based cut-off levels in order to delineate between drivers who operate a motor vehicle while impaired by cannabis versus those drivers who had previously consumed cannabis but were no longer under its influence. To ascertain this distinction, researchers recommended blood testing, which screens for the presence of THC, rather than urinalysis, which only detects the presence of marijuana metabolites."Despite its limitations, the THC level in blood serum is currently the most appropriate indicator of impairment by cannabis, while the presence of THC metabolites in blood or urine indicates past use but not present impairment. Current evidence suggests that a legal limit for THC in blood serum of 510ng/ml will effectively separate unimpaired drivers from those driving under the influence of cannabis," researchers concluded.Previously, an Australian review of 3,398 fatally injured drivers published in the journal Accident & Analysis Prevention found that the culpability ratio for drivers with 5 ng/ml THC or less in their blood was lower than that of drug free drivers.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. For a summary of state DUID laws, please visit: a summary of European DUID laws, visit: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: August 12, 2004Copyright: 2004 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- August 5, 2004's Weekly News Bulletin -- July 29, 2004
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Comment #5 posted by unkat27 on August 13, 2004 at 19:12:09 PT
Ulterior Motives
Nixon's worst enemy was heroin, because it was destroying much of the troops in Viet Nam. His attitude towards marijuana was that it wasn't as bad as heroin, and so it wasn't as big an issue, but he never supported legalization, because he tended to believe that it made young people dissentful toward authority and therefore less capable of being manipulated. Ford, Nixon's VP, was to many American's surprisingly in favor of harm reduction and decriminalization, and apparently, wanted all the young American pot-smokers to like him (not so surprising given how Nixon totally blew it with Watergate). Carter had nothing against cannabis and if he had been reelected instead of Reagan, the world would probably be a much better place today.Today I realized there are some very controversial ulterior motives behind marijuana criminalization. It is a Machiavellian motive to divide the middle and lower classes and keep them fighting amongst themselves. Think about it. Think about how much more peace and harmony, due to the less stress and anxiety, there would be amongst the little people, if marijuana were legal. By making marijuana illegal, they have managed to deny us one of the greatest forms of relief to the over-worked and underpaid that nature has to offer. As a result, infighting amongst the working-classes is at a record high. Who does this serve? Two classes: The wealthy upper-class, which is virtually above the law, and the police-state (law and government). This kind of power abuse in government policy-making is not true to the ideal democratic representation of the American people, it is misrepresentation and it is wrong.
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Comment #4 posted by Virgil on August 13, 2004 at 12:56:56 PT
Carter instead of Nixon
Carter wanted reform, but when one of his cabinet members got linked to cocaine use, Carter went into full retreat. Carter's quote saying the harm of the laws should not exceed the harm of use, is my second entry to Victory by list for quotes. Judge Francis Young has my favorite quote in Victory by list.
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Comment #3 posted by Max Flowers on August 13, 2004 at 10:59:23 PT
Golden Lung
What do you mean Nixon's pleas for cannabis legalization? Nixon never pleaded for its legalization---he was a huge force in its criminalization! He hated it.
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Comment #2 posted by Golden Lung on August 12, 2004 at 21:31:38 PT:
 The more controversy and attention that marijuana receives, the more likely that it will be legalized. I believe that John Kerry will be our chronically closest chance of marijuana's helpful econonomic and medical characteristics, and just recreational relaxation will be recognized. Stoners of America vote for Kerry. Hopefully, his plees for legalization won't be smuthered like Nixon's were. -Peace, Love, Empathy
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Comment #1 posted by unkat27 on August 12, 2004 at 15:05:51 PT
Votes yet to be Recognized
I live in Mass-state and i can tell you that, for the past 7 years, the majority have been voting in favor of marijuana decriminalization and medical marijuana legalization, and it hasn't made a difference overall, because the state and local cops in different counties and towns all set their own standards of law enforcement on this issue, and they really don't give a damn what the people want.The major cities and towns all let the DARE feds scare them into enforcing the strictest mandatory sentences for marijuana possession, despite the majority vote against those policies, and this is just one of the reasons why both Springfield and Boston have been experiencing a rise in street crimes and violence. Of course, the wealthy pigs who maintain these mandatory laws continue to evade the facts, so long as they are secure within their mansions and fortresses. The only exceptions to these seem to be small college towns with their own wealth and liberal-left bases, such as Amherst (Umass) and Greenfield. Unfortunately, the rents in these areas are also some of the highest in the state, otherwise, i might be lucky enough to reside there.For the facts visit
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