Nev. Lawmaker Leads Push for Higher Drug Threshold

Nev. Lawmaker Leads Push for Higher Drug Threshold
Posted by CN Staff on August 31, 2003 at 20:18:25 PT
By The Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press 
Carson City, Nev. -- After facing defeat earlier this year, Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani is leading a new drive to raise thresholds in the state's drug impairment law. At issue is a state law making it illegal for drivers to have certain levels of prohibited substances such as marijuana and cocaine in their systems. Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, contends the law is unfair because it does not require proof that the driver was actually impaired by drugs. 
Allowable levels of drugs listed in the statute were arbitrarily set by the 1999 Legislature and are so low that impairment would be unlikely in many cases, she added. "I found nothing in the testimony to show a justification for it," Giunchigliani told the Reno Gazette-Journal. The law is being challenged by drivers involved in three separate fatal accidents - one in Las Vegas that left six dead and two in Reno that killed three. The drivers claim the marijuana in their systems was not a factor in the accidents. Two Reno drivers say they had smoked pot the day before, so they could not have been impaired by the drug. Under laws in eight other states, the mere presence of certain drugs is enough for a conviction. Nevada's law is different in that it sets allowable amounts for certain drugs. For marijuana, it's illegal to drive with 2 or more nanograms per mililiter of THC in the blood and 10 or more nanograms per mililiter of THC in the urine. Under the law, prosecutors do not have to prove that the driver was impaired by the drugs. Giunchigliani earlier this year co-sponsored a bill that would have raised the allowable amounts of marijuana, but it failed to make it out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Clark County prosecutor Bob Graham said he set the drug levels in the legislation passed by the 1999 Legislature. To establish the levels, he said, he referred to federal guidelines for monitoring pilots, train engineers and commercial truckers. While they were set just high enough to avoid false positives, Graham did not seek studies to show at what level a person would be impaired, he said. "That's not a good way to make law," Giunchigliani said, adding she plans to bring the bill back at the next session in 2005. Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., who sponsored the legislation while a state senator, said too many drivers on drugs are causing fatal crashes. "The intent (of the law) was to make sure that if someone was driving under the influence of a controlled substance, they would be held responsible for the loss of life," he said. Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal Complete Title: Nevada Lawmaker Leads Push for Higher Drug ThresholdsSource: Associated Press Published: August 31, 2003Copyright: 2003 Associated Press Related Articles:Nevada Bill Boosts Legal Marijuana Level in Blood's Marijuana Measure Criticized Would Toughen Marijuana Laws 
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Comment #9 posted by The GCW on September 01, 2003 at 08:43:28 PT
Fight cannabis prohibition with cannabis itself!
Getting back to putting cannabis into Biblical perspective (it doesn't take long), which seems more relevant, means realizing cannabis prohibition is meant to keep Us from knowing the truth. Bush the SKULL N BONES’MAN, et al. knows perfectly well that cannabis helps Us know all things and offers intangible benefits, that are beyond the norm. That is what they are prohibiting... knowledge and more.But then this truth is not limited to Biblical perspectives. Because cannabis realities are not limited to those who know or accept the Bible. One example of this is within the Native Americans knowledge. Indians knew and still know of the qualities cannabis provides. When I read the writings from Native Americans, often I sense these truths that are not always hidden but are also quite clear and right out in the open.Cannabis offers light. Cannabis offers a place where one can see what You can not see with out cannabis. There may be other ways to access the viewpoints cannabis offers, but cannabis does offer more than what is initially evident.Bush and others that represent the epitome of evil, quite often knows very well that cannabis offerings are spiritually implicated. This info has been known for thousands of years and if I can find out this info, then Bush has already found it a long time ago. For Bush to accomplish His agenda, requires that the population as a whole never finds out the truth. Cannabis helps expose the truth, in the way cannabis works, in all its many ways.We know the truth and must not ever let it be covered up by evil intentions. We must fight evil with good. We must fight cannabis prohibition with cannabis itself.Cannabis IS Our God given weapon.I read this Native American account again this morning and want to share it. It also has a few other perspectives. in the ProphesiesThe Black Elk ProphesyNative Americans and the Tradition of the Pipe:
This is the tale of the origin of the ceremonial pipe used by the indigenous peoples of the Americas, from The Sacred Pipe, Black Elk (Oglala Sioux), 1953."A very beautiful woman, dressed in white buckskin and bearing a bundle on her back… took from the bundle a pipe. Holding the pipe up by its stem to the heavens, she said, 'With this sa-cred pipe you will walk upon the Earth, for the Earth is your grandmother and mother, and she is sacred. Ev-ery step that is taken upon her should be as a prayer. The bowl of this pipe is of red stone; it is the Earth. Carved in the stone and facing the center is this buffalo calf who represents all the four-leggeds who live upon the Earth. And these 12 feathers which hang here where the stem fits into the bowl are from Wanbli Galeshka, the Spotted Eagle, and they represent the eagle and all the wingeds of the air. All these peoples, and all the things of the universe, are joined to you who smoke the pipe &emdash; all send their voices to Wakan-Tanka, the Great Spirit. When you pray with this pipe, you pray for and with everything.' "Black Elk Speaks,
This is one of the most important Oglala Sioux prophecies. The full text is available online on the linked University of Nebraska website. page 21  Then the second Grandfather, he of the North, arose with a herb of power in his hand, and said: "Take this and hurry." I took and held it toward the black horse yonder. He fattened and was happy and came prancing to his place again and was the first Grandfather sitting there.  The second Grandfather, he of the North, spoke again: "Take courage, younger brother," he said; "on earth a nation you shall make live, for yours shall be the power of the white giant's wing, the cleansing wind." Then he got up very tall and started running toward the north; and when he turned toward me, it was a white goose wheeling. I looked about me now, and the horses in the west were thunders and the horses of the north were geese.... page 27Then when the many little voices ceased, the great Voice said: "Behold the circle of the nation's hoop, for it is holy, being endless, and thus all powers shall be one power in the people without end. Now they shall break camp and go forth upon the red road, and your Grandfathers shall walk with them." So the people broke camp and took the good road with the white wing on their faces, and the order of their going was like this:  First, the black horse riders with the cup of water; and the white horse riders with the white wing and the sacred herb; and the sorrel riders with the holy pipe; and the buckskins with the flowering stick. And after these the little children and the youths and maidens followed in a band.... page 30And as I looked and wept, I saw that there stood on the north side of the starving camp a sacred man who was painted red all over his body, and he held a spear as he walked into the center of the people, and there he lay down and rolled. And when he got up, it was a fat bison standing there, and where the bison stood a sacred herb sprang up right where the tree had been in the center of the nation's hoop. The herb grew and bore four blossoms on a single stem while I was looking--a blue, 7 a white, a scarlet, and a yellow--and the bright rays of these flashed to the heavens.  I know now what this meant, that the bison were the gift of a good spirit and were our strength, but we should lose them, and from the same good spirit we must find another strength. For the people all seemed better when the herb had grown and bloomed, and the horses raised their tails and neighed and pranced around, and I could see a light breeze going from the north among the people like a ghost; and suddenly the flowering tree was there again at the center of the nation's hoop where the four-rayed herb had blossomed.  I was still the spotted eagle floating, and I could see that I was already in the fourth ascent and the people were camping yonder at the top of the third long rise. It was dark and terrible about me, for all the winds of the world werefighting. It was like rapid gun-fire and like whirling smoke, and like women and children wailing and like horses screaming all over the world.  I could see my people yonder running about, setting the smoke-flap poles and fastening down their tepees against the wind, for the storm cloud was coming on them very fast and black, and there were frightened swallows without number fleeing before the cloud.pages 31-35  Then a song of power came to me and I sang it there in the midst of that terrible place where I was. It went like this:  A good nation I will make live.
  This the nation above has said.
  They have given me the power to make over.And when I had sung this, a Voice said: "To the four quarters you shall run for help, and nothing shall be strong before you. Behold him!"  Now I was on my bay horse again, because the horse is of the earth, and it was there my power would be used. And as I obeyed the Voice and looked, there was a horse all skin and bones yonder in the west, a faded brownish black. And a Voice there said: "Take this and make him over; and it was the four-rayed herb that I was holding in my hand. So I rode above the poor horse in a circle, and as I did this I could hear the people yonder calling for spirit power, "A-hey! a-hey! a-hey! a-hey!" Then the poor horse neighed and rolled and got up, and he was a big, shiny, black stallion with dapples all over him and his mane about him like a cloud. He was the chief of all the horses; and when he snorted, it was a flash of lightning and his eyes were like the sunset star. He dashed to the west and neighed, and the west was filled with a dust of hoofs, and horses without number, shiny black, came plunging from the dust. Then he dashed toward the north and neighed, and to the east and to the south, and the dust clouds answered, giving forth their plunging horses without number--whites and sorrels and buckskins, fat, shiny, rejoicing in their fleetness and their strength. It was beautiful, but it was also terrible.  Then they all stopped short, rearing, and were standing in a great hoop about their black chief at the center, and were still.And as they stood, four virgins, more beautiful than women of the earth can be, came through the circle, dressed in scarlet, one from each of the four quarters, and stood about the great black stallion in their places; and one held the wooden cup of water, and one the white wing, and one the pipe, and one the nation's hoop. All the universe was silent, listening; and then the great black stallion raised his voice and sang. The song he sang was this:  "My horses, prancing they are coming.
  My horses, neighing they are coming;
  Prancing, they are coming.
  All over the universe they come.
  They will dance; may you behold them.
  (4 times)
  A horse nation, they will dance. May you behold them."
  (4 times)His voice was not loud, but it went all over the universe and filled it. There was nothing that did not hear, and it was more beautiful than anything can be. It was so beautiful that nothing anywhere could keep from dancing. The virgins danced, and all the circled horses. The leaves on the trees, the grasses on the hills and in the valleys, the waters in the creeks and in the rivers and the lakes, the four-legged and the two-legged and the wings of the air--all danced together to the music of the stallion's song.  And when I looked down upon my people yonder, the cloud passed over, blessing them with friendly rain, and stood in the east with a flaming rainbow over it.  Then all the horses went singing back to their places beyond the summit of the fourth ascent, and all things sang along with them as they walked.  And a Voice said: "All over the universe they have finished a day of happiness." And looking down I saw that the whole wide circle of the day was beautiful and green, with all fruits growing and all things kind and happy.  Then a Voice said: "Behold this day, for it is yours to make. Now you shall stand upon the center of the earth to see, for there they are taking you."  I was still on my bay horse, and once more I felt the riders of the west, the north, the east, the south, behind me in formation, as before, and we were going east. I looked ahead and saw the mountains there with rocks and forests on them, and from the mountains flashed all colors upward to the heavens. Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. 8 And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.  Then as I stood there, two men were coming from the east, head first like arrows flying, and between them rose the day-break star. They came and gave a herb to me and said: "With this on earth you shall undertake anything and do it." It was the day-break-star herb, the herb of understanding, and they told me to drop it on the earth. I saw it falling far, and when it struck the earth it rooted and grew and flowered, four blossoms on one stem, a blue, a white, a scarlet, and a yellow; and the rays from these streamed upward to the heavens so that all creatures saw it and in no place was there darkness.  Then the Voice said: "Your Six Grandfathers--now you shall go back to them."  I had not noticed how I was dressed until now, and I saw that I was painted red all over, and my joints were painted black, with white stripes between the joints. My bay had lightning stripes all over him, and his mane was cloud. And when I breathed, my breath was lightning.  Now two men were leading me, head first like arrows slanting upward--the two that brought me from the earth. And as I followed on the bay, they turned into four flocks of geese that flew in circles, one above each quarter, sending forth a sacred voice as they flew: Br-r-r-p, br-r-r-p, br-r-r-p, br-r-r-p!  Then I saw ahead the rainbow flaming above the tepee of the Six Grandfathers, built and roofed with cloud and sewed with thongs of lightning; and underneath it were all the wings of the air and under them the animals and men. All these were rejoicing, and thunder was like happy laughter.  As I rode in through the rainbow door, there were cheering voices from all over the universe, and I saw the Six Grandfathers sitting in a row, with their arms held toward me and their hands, palms out; and behind them in the cloud were faces thronging, without number, of the people yet to be.  "He has triumphed!" cried the six together, making thunder. And as I passed before them there, each gave again the gift that he had given me before--the cup of water and the bow and arrows, the power to make live and to destroy; the white wing of cleansing and the healing herb; the sacred pipe; the flowering stick. And each one spoke in turn from west to south, explaining what he gave as he had done before, and as each one spoke he melted down into the earth and rose again; and as each did this, I felt nearer to the earth.  Then the oldest of them all said: "Grandson, all over the universe you have seen. Now you shall go back with power to the place from whence you came, and it shall happen yonder that hundreds shall be sacred, hundreds shall be flames! Behold!"  I looked below and saw my people there, and all were well and happy except one, and he was lying like the dead--and that one was myself.
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on September 01, 2003 at 07:37:54 PT
Would 2 sips of beer cause impairment?
What is 2 nanograms of THC? If drinking to the point where You are impaired makes driving dangerous and then creates a need to stop that activity, how much drinking would that require? Although it is different in different people, for the sake of making a point, let’s consider that drinking 2 beers in one hour creates the point where a man is impaired. To replicate that in cannabis terms, that may be smoking 2 joints in 1 hour. But then that may be over 150 nanograms, yet the law will allow people to cage their brother for only having 2 nanograms of THC, which would not compare to the impairment created by 2 beers, but rather by about 1 or 2 sips of beer.No, Nazi Bush et al. doesn't want You to ever sniff cannabis, or hemp. They don't want YOu to make hemp rope, or clothing, they want no hemp oil fuel, no hemp seed food... no hemp sails or shoelaces, no hemp paper... They don't want You to even know it exists. Their goal is to exterminate cannabis / hemp. God gave it and they deny it.All they really want is zero tolorance. It helps insure their profits increase.And all their servants are defiled.
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Comment #7 posted by Motavation on September 01, 2003 at 07:15:12 PT:
NJWEEDMAN asks a relevant question
My question to the readers and especially republican types is; if Article IV section 1 could admittedly be applied to the “gay” marriage issue why doesn’t the CONSTITUTION already apply to the “marijuana issue”? Specifically using the [u]RAVIN[/u] decision as the springboard!
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Comment #6 posted by Jose Melendez on September 01, 2003 at 05:36:52 PT
'Op Ed' Forchion;f=32;t=022170
Google News Search: marijuana
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on August 31, 2003 at 22:48:26 PT
Just a Note
The person isn't funny but the picture is. It looks like it was a fun day!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 31, 2003 at 22:16:36 PT
Thanks afterburner
They are great pictures. The person dressed up as a leaf is so funny!
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on August 31, 2003 at 22:05:30 PT:
Here is Marc's Windsor Star Article & Canabian Day
Here is Marc's Windsor Star Article. Canabian Day Pics (Toronto) [scroll down to TheBudsAdvocate for composite of guardian99 pics]
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on August 31, 2003 at 20:57:46 PT
Thanks The GCW
Here are two more articles from the same paper. It's a snipped source so I just posted the links.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on August 31, 2003 at 20:31:03 PT
This important story also just out, at MAP.
Nevada's drug impairment law hailed, criticized from: The RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL& many drivers high on drugs are causing fatal crashes while avoiding prosecution, say federal officials who are calling for new laws nationwide that would send a driver to prison without proving drugs caused the accident.The new legislation, to be modeled after statutes recently passed in Nevada and eight other states, would make it illegal for drivers to have drugs, including marijuana, in their systems.Under these laws, prosecutors don’t have to prove that the drugs impacted the driver’s ability to stay on the road. They simply must show the drugs were in the driver’s body.A positive test could mean a 20-year sentence for each count.Two Reno drivers and one woman from Las Vegas who face decades in prison after being involved in fatal accidents and testing positive for marijuana are challenging the law in court. Their success or failure could affect legislation across the country.“The intent (of the law) was to make sure that if someone was driving under the influence of a controlled substance, they would be held responsible for loss of life,” said U.S. Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., who sponsored Nevada’s prohibited substance drug bill in 1999 while a state senator.But critics of Nevada’s law, including toxicologists, lawyers, civil libertarians and some lawmakers, say the statue is unfair and unconstitutional because it does not require proof that the driver was actually impaired by the drugs. And, they say, the cut-off levels for the drugs listed in the statute are so small that impairment would be unlikely in many circumstances.This means that a person who uses marijuana at a party on Saturday night could test positive when in an accident on Monday, days after the drugs were taken, critics say. That’s because unlike alcohol, some drugs can stay in a person’s system for a long time.“People are going to prison for smoking a joint a day or two or three ago,” said John Watkins, a Las Vegas lawyer for one of three Nevadans currently charged under the law.“The whole idea of driving under the influence is driving under the influence,” he said. “But we’re putting people in prison who are not impaired.”Last year, Watkins challenged the law in the Nevada Supreme Court. But the justices upheld the statute, saying: “the governmental interest in maintaining safe highways is sufficient for our prohibited substance statute to survive a constitutional attack…”Despite the high court’s ruling, Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, is determined to overhaul the law. She and two other lawmakers, Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks and Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, introduced a bill during the last session that would increase the statute’s allowable amounts of marijuana in an attempt to measure impairment, not just the presence of drug.They plan to bring it back in 2005.“We need to come up with a reasonable standard,” said Giunchigliani, who was the only lawmaker to vote against the original drugged driver bill when it passed the Legislature in 1999. “You shouldn’t have a Catch-22 statute where you catch someone whether they are impaired or not,” she said.What’s behind the lawMost agree that the prohibited substance driving laws were born out of the need to make the nation’s roads safe from an increasing number of people who are driving stoned.According to a recently released national report by The Walsh Group, a Maryland-based research and consulting firm, an increasing number of people in the United States are driving after taking drugs. Some are causing accidents, but few are prosecuted.That’s because most standard DUI laws simply are not catching those people.“It’s nearly impossible to prosecute someone for driving under the influence of drugs,” said Michael Walsh, the group’s president and former executive director of the President’s Drug Advisory Council.In addition, he said, it’s difficult to prove the drug caused any impairment when an accident occurs.“As a matter of practicality, because it’s so hard to make those cases, the prosecutors have tended not to file those charges, and police have not bothered to get the specimens they needed,” he said.“Nobody was dealing with the problem,” he said. Attempts to create laws that mimic drunken driving statutes failed, he said. With alcohol, studies found that a person begins to be impaired after their blood alcohol level reaches about .04 percent, he said. In response, most states make it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent – a level at which most drivers are significantly impaired. Nevada’s law changes from .10 percent to .08 percent on Sept. 23.In 1985, a group of forensic toxicologists tried to create a similar cutoff point for drugs, he said.“But they found it was impossible to do that because behavioral effects vary so much,” Walsh said. Everyone metabolizes drugs differently and many things, including gender, body fat, experience with the drug, impact what the drug does in the system, he said.“These are the reasons why states are trying to get away from having to prove that the impairment was linked directly to drug use,” he said. “It becomes the battle of the expert witnesses.”“Per se laws are trying to make it easier for law enforcement and prosecutors,” he said. “These laws don’t require that impairment be demonstrated.”Is that fair to the casual drug user at a Saturday night party who tests positive after a Monday accident?“As a policy maker,” Walsh said, “you have to draw the line some place.”“We saw dramatic declines in alcohol-related driving injuries after tougher laws were imposed,” he said. “At the same time, we’re seeing a rise in drugged-driving incidents.”In response, drug czar John Walters, head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, announced in November a new “zero tolerance” initiative aimed at creating model legislation based on these new per se drug laws.Challenges to the lawThe debate over the impairment issue has caused many to challenge Walters’ proclamation and to attack Nevada’s law.“The goal is to ensure safety on the roads,” Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance said in a statement. “That will not happen by severely punishing someone who smoked a joint in the privacy of their own home the night before.”Julian Gross, a civil rights lawyer who works for the alliance, called the law stupid and unfair.“It’s a bad law. They should be measuring impairment,” Gross said in a telephone interview from his Oakland, Calif., office. “If you’re going to throw the book at someone, you should have a reason to do it.“They like to punish drug users and this is just another way to do that.”Data was not immediately available on how many people in Nevada have been prosecuted under the prohibited substance law.Nevada’s drug laws vary widely.Drivers caught with certain levels of certain drugs in their system face up to 20 years in prison. But a person caught walking on the street while under the influence of a controlled substance faces probation. No prison time.Nevada’s possession laws are even less strict.A person caught with less than an ounce of marijuana faces misdemeanor charges. More than an ounce means a felony charge and probation — no time in prison.Scott Freeman, a Reno lawyer representing one of the people in northern Nevada charged under the drugged driving law, said it’s unfair because a person could test positive without being stoned.“The statute is in conflict with reality,” he said.Freeman claims that his client, 21-year-old Robert McKellips, was not under the influence of marijuana in the summer of 2000 when he drove through an intersection and smashed into another vehicle, killing a 17-year-old mother and her 5-month-old daughter.McKellips had smoked marijuana the day before the accident, Freeman said. He tested positive, but was not high, Freeman said.But prosecutors say his blood tests show he violated the law, regardless of when he claims he smoked the pot. Tests found that McKellips had 3 nanograms per milliliter of THC and 13 nanograms per milliliter of the metabolite in his blood shortly after the crash, according to Deputy District Attorney Roy Stralla. The legal limit is 2 and 5 nanograms respectively. His trial is scheduled for later this year.Battle of the toxicologistsIt is over these numbers of nanograms and their impact on a person’s ability to drive safely that the experts differ.“My testimony is there’s no scientific basis to say a person is impaired at 3 nanograms,” said Dan Berkable, director of the American Toxicology Institute in Las Vegas. Berkable is often called as an expert witness in per se drug law cases around the country.“We seem to have a mindset that if someone has drugs in their system, they’re guilty,” he said. A person whose blood test shows a level of 3 nanograms of THC would be analogous to someone with a blood alcohol level of .01 percent or .02 percent – far below the legal limit of .08 percent, he said.In addition, he said, the positive test of 2 nanograms per milliliter in the blood and 5 nanograms per milliliter in the urine could be revealing drug use from days, not hours, before.“A person who smokes every few days could test positive three to five days later,” he said. “These cutoffs show personal use. They don’t show impairment.”But Raymond Kelly, a toxicologist who testified for the prosecution in the case against a Las Vegas woman charged under the statute after she drove into a group of teenagers, killing six, said it’s difficult to know whether a person with 2 nanograms is impaired.“You can’t give a simple answer,” he said. “How did it get to be 2 and what was the timeline for this? Was it recently smoked, or did it get there passively?”William Anderson, chief toxicologist with the Washoe County crime lab said a reading of 2 nanograms of THC per milliliter likely shows recent use, not residual levels.When a person smokes marijuana, the THC level rises quickly to between 50 and 150 nanograms per milliliter, he said. “But by two hours, the vast majority of people are down to 2 to5 nanograms,” he said. “Usually by four hours, everybody is under 2,” he said, adding levels of THC and metabolite in a person’s urine will remain higher for longer periods.For heavy smokers, it can be detected in the urine a week to 10 days later, he said. For the weekend warrior, it might be gone in two or three days, he said. “If they smoke frequently, you can almost continually detect it,” he said.Studies fuel debateThe mixed results found in studies that have attempted to document marijuana’s impact on drivers have made it tougher for prosecutors to wield under-the-influence-of-drug laws.Randall Baselt, a former director of the Chemical Toxicology Institute of National Medical Services in Forest City, Calif., reported that smoking marijuana gradually decreases a driver’s psychomotor skills for up to 24 hours in laboratory studies and up to three hours in actual driving conditions.But a study by H.W.J. Robbe at the Institute for Human Psychopharmacology in the Netherlands found that marijuana had less impact on a driver’s skills.“THC did not impair driving performance yet the subjects thought it had,” his report said. “These studies show that THC … has significant, yet not dramatic, dose-related impairing effects on driving performance.”“Although THC’s adverse effects on driving performance appeared relatively small in the tests employed in this program,” the study said, “one can still easily imagine situations where the influence of marijuana smoking might have a dangerous effect,” including emergency situations or when combined with alcohol.Another study by Robbe, which was distributed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said drivers who smoked marijuana tended to compensate for any effects they feel from the drug, “for example, by slowing down or increasing effort.”“As a consequence, THC’s adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small,” the study concluded.Drinking by far caused greater problems for drivers, the study said.“Evidence from the present and previous studies strongly suggests that alcohol encourages risky driving whereas THC encourages greater caution, at least in experiments,” the study said.Then in a 1999 study the Netherlands institute conducted for the traffic safety administration, researchers concluded that “marijuana, even in low to moderate doses, negatively affects driving performance in real situations.”But in a 2000 study on marijuana’s impact on city driving, the institute reported: “low doses of marijuana did not impair city driving performance and did not diminish visual search frequency for traffic at intersections in this study.”While many disagree over whether a person could test positive with 2 or more nanograms several days after smoking, Kelly said studies suggest that impairment ends within 24 hours of smoking.Most studies only test their subjects up to several hours after taking the drugs, he said, and most go back to baseline, which is unimpaired. Baseline is generally set at 24 hours he said.“So is a person who smoked two days ago impaired?” he said. “The studies would say no.”
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