NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- April 7, 2005

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- April 7, 2005
Posted by CN Staff on April 07, 2005 at 15:14:56 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
NORML 2005 Conference Draws Near Record CrowdApril 7, 2005 - San Francisco, CA, USASan Francisco, CA: An overflow crowd of more than 500 marijuana-law reformers jammed the halls of San Francisco's Cathedral Hill Hotel to attend last week's 2005 national NORML Conference and call for an end to America's criminal pot laws.
News stories on the NORML conference were featured prominently in numerous local media outlets, including The San Francisco Chronicle, The Oakland Tribune, KQED radio, The Orange County Register, KGO talk radio, The Tri-Valley Herald, and The Eureka Times-Standard, among others.2005 NORML award recipients included: Michael Aldrich, recipient of NORML's Lifetime Achievement Award; Dale Gieringer, recipient of the Lester Grinspoon Award (for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Marijuana Law Reform); Rick Steves, recipient of the Hunter S. Thompson/NORML Media Award; Angel McClary-Raich, Diane Monson, Gary Storck, and Jackie Rickert, recipients of the Peter McWilliams Award (for Outstanding Achievement in Advancing the Cause of Medical Marijuana); Debby Goldsberry, recipient of the Pauline Sabin Award (in Honor and Recognition for the Crucial Need and Importance of Women's Leadership in Ending Marijuana Prohibition); Steven Epstein, recipient of NORML's Outstanding Cannabis Advocate Award; and Chris Mulligan, recipient of NORML's Student Activism Award.Photos and highlights from the 2005 NORML conference will be available shortly on the NORML web site at: News NORML Articles"YOU ARE GOING DIRECTLY TO JAIL" - New NORML Report Takes Aim At "Zero Tolerance" Drugged Driving LawsApril 7, 2005 - Washington, DC, USASays Approach Is Not Based On Science, But On "Convenience" - Charges That Many State Laws Falsely Define Sober Drivers As "Intoxicated"Washington, DC: So-called zero tolerance drugged driving laws, which classify motorists who test positive for trace amounts of illicit drugs or drug metabolites (non-psychoactive compounds produced from the chemical changes of a drug in the body) in their bodily fluids (blood, saliva, and/or urine) as criminally impaired, do not promote public safety and improperly define many sober drivers as "under the influence," concludes a comprehensive report issued today by the NORML Foundation.The report, entitled "You Are Going Directly to Jail -- DUID Legislation: What It Means, Who's Behind It, and Strategies to Prevent It," is a detailed examination of statewide "drugged driving" laws and the quantitative role of cannabis consumption in on-road traffic accidents."Zero tolerance per se laws have little to do with promoting public safety or identifying motorists who drive while impaired," the report states. "Rather, the enactment and enforcement of zero tolerance DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) legislation improperly defines many sober drivers as 'intoxicated' solely because they were found to have consumed a controlled substance - particularly marijuana - at some previous, unspecified point in time."It continues: "This approach is not based on science but on convenience. Zero tolerance per se laws define a new, driving-related offense that is divorced from impairment. In their strictest form, any driver who tests positive for any trace amount of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves), is guilty per se of the crime of 'drugged driving,' even if the defendant was sober."In the case of marijuana, these laws are particularly troublesome. THC, marijuana's main psychoactive constituent, may be detected at low levels in the blood of heavy cannabis users for 1-2 days after past use. Marijuana's primary metabolite THC-COOH, the most common indicator of marijuana use in workplace drug tests, is detectable in urine for days and sometimes weeks after past use - long after any psychoactive effects have ceased. Consequently, under 'zero tolerance' per se laws, a person who smoked a joint on Monday could conceivably be arrested the following Friday and charged with 'drugged driving,' even though he or she is no longer impaired or intoxicated."To date, eleven states have enacted zero tolerance per se laws for controlled substances: Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin. Of these, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Utah forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle with any detectable level of a controlled substance or its metabolites in one's bodily fluids. Similar laws are pending in additional states.Regarding cannabis' potential impairment of psychomotor skills, the report finds: "While it is well established that alcohol increases accident risk, evidence of marijuana's culpability in on-road driving accidents is less understood. Although marijuana intoxication has been shown to mildly impair psychomotor skills, this impairment does not appear to be severe or long lasting. In driving simulator tests, this impairment is typically manifested by subjects decreasing their driving speed and requiring greater time to respond to emergency situations."This impairment does not appear to play a significant role in on-road traffic accidents when THC levels in a driver's blood are low and/or THC is not consumed in combination with alcohol. ... [F]rom the available research, it is apparent that cannabis' adverse on-road impact is hardly so great as to warrant the passage and enforcement of zero tolerance per se DUID legislation, which would unavoidably classify many sober cannabis users as 'impaired' and threaten them with criminal prosecution."Commenting on the report, NORML Director Allen St. Pierre said: "We all support the goal of keeping impaired drivers off the road, regardless of whether the driver is impaired from alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs. However, these zero tolerance laws are neither a safe nor sensible way to identify impaired drivers; they are a cynical attempt to misuse the traffic safety laws in order to identify and prosecute marijuana smokers per se. They should be opposed by citizens and lawmakers alike."For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. HTML versions of the report: versions of the report: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: April 7, 2005Copyright: 2005 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on April 08, 2005 at 15:43:24 PT
Hey There Dankhank
It's good to see you!
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Comment #19 posted by Dankhank on April 08, 2005 at 11:35:31 PT
more ...
Baycol  only 31 dead?, but also rhabdomyolysisFen Fen  cardiac valvular diseaseMobic   how many dead? more than Vioxx apparently
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Comment #18 posted by siege on April 08, 2005 at 10:36:58 PT
we could be safer
not really he left behind the gestapo! (DEAth).
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Comment #17 posted by goneposthole on April 08, 2005 at 07:46:27 PT
I would rather make a spelling error than a 'weapons of mass destruction' error.The President flew to Italy to attend Pope's funeral. America is safe for a little while.
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Comment #16 posted by goneposthole on April 08, 2005 at 06:46:00 PT
tell us another one
VIOXX... about a 140,000 deadCELEBREX... how many dead?RITALIN... how many dead?PROZAC... how many dead? ZOLOFT... how many dead?Now it's BEXTRA... and how many more dead?What's next? Cannabis hasn't killed me yet, but I can die trying. It won't hurt.200 billion dollars would have built a dandy of a World Trade Center in New York City. New York would be booming. Instead, Baghdad is 'booming'.Dubai waxs while New York wanes.a peace 'meme' is what the world needs.
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Comment #15 posted by mayan on April 08, 2005 at 06:39:36 PT
That judge is so nice for not throwing grandma in the slammer. I mean, she was growing plants and sharing them with other people! Surely she is evil and a danger to society. She must be stopped!
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Comment #14 posted by potpal on April 08, 2005 at 06:37:29 PT
dankhank / sukoi
Nice research. Thanks.This DUID must be pushed by drug-test pharms who lobby in a sleazy effort to further their industry's goals despite the havoc it will surely create. Cops must love it too, policing the roads/writing tickets seems to be what they do best.
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Comment #13 posted by POTPAL on April 08, 2005 at 06:04:34 PT
Granny update... 
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Comment #12 posted by goneposthole on April 08, 2005 at 05:28:49 PT
The people who make our 'laws'
... are no different than anybody else.This might be old, but it is still relevant.
Here is the record of the 535 members of Congress:29 have been accused of spousal abuse*7 have been arrested for fraud19 have been accused of writing bad checks117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses3 have done time for assault71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit14 have been arrested on drug-related charges8 have been arrested for shoplifting21 are currently defendants in lawsuits84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year, they represent you!, so be sure to vote for them come next election day.I see a log in their eye. 
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Comment #11 posted by Dankhank on April 08, 2005 at 05:19:43 PT:
Driving Studies
Once more into the breach ...DOT 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 5.1 of 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 combining Cannabis with any other drug, such as 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 and against drug-free drivers.	It is mind-boggling to some, how the government and legislatures are of two minds about the “War on Some Drugs.”  The legislature harasses, locks up and generally ruins hundreds of thousands of families every year for a perceived threat that is not supported in the government studies conducted to give guidance to legislators, and the rest of America, regarding what is a threat or not.	
more studies:Cannabis/Driving Studies 
Australia: No Proof Cannabis Put Drivers At Risk (2001)
UK:Cannabis May Make You A Safer Driver (2000) University Of Toronto Study Shows Marijuana Not A Factor In Driving Accidents (1999)\1999\03990325110700.htm
Australia: Cannabis Crash Risk Less: Study (1998) Australia: Study Goes to Pot (1998) 
University Of Toronto Study Shows Marijuana Not A Factor In Driving Accidents
The safety hazards of smoking marijuana and driving are overrated, says University of Toronto researcher Alison Smiley.
Recent research into impairment and traffic accident reports from several countries shows that marijuana taken alone in moderate amounts does not cause unsafe driving.Australia: No Proof Cannabis Put Drivers At Risk (2001) 
not significantly increase a driver's risk of causing an accident -- unlike alcohol, says Smiley, an adjunct professor in the department of mechanical and industrial engineering. While smoking marijuana does impair driving ability, it does not share alcohol's effect on judgment. Drivers on marijuana remain aware of their impairment, prompting them to slow down and drive more cautiously to compensate, she says. "Both substances impair performance," Smiley says. "However, the more cautious behaviour of subjects who received marijuana decreases the drug's impact on performance. Their behaviour is more appropriate to their impairment, whereas subjects who received alcohol tend to drive in a more risky manner." Smiley, who has studied transportation safety for over 25 years, drew her results from a "metanalysis" of existing research into the effects of marijuana on driving ability, combined with traffic accident statistics in the United States and Australia. Previous studies showing stronger effects often combined "fairly hefty doses" by researchers with driving immediately after consumption, likely exaggerating the drug's effects, she believes. While Smiley does not advocate legalizing the drug, she says her results should be considered by those debating mandatory drug tests for users of transportation equipment such as truck or train drivers, or the decriminalization of marijuana for medical use. "There's an assumption that because marijuana is illegal, it must increase the risk of an accident. We should try to just stick to the facts." 
Smiley presented her findings at a symposium of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Florida in February. Her paper was also published in Health Effects of Cannabis, a publication of Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in March. 
CONTACT: Bruce Rolston U of T Public Affairs (416) 978-6974 bruce.rolston 
More Truth
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Comment #10 posted by mayan on April 08, 2005 at 04:37:57 PT
Lawmakers stand firm against marijuana:
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Comment #9 posted by mayan on April 08, 2005 at 02:57:16 PT
FoM, this site gets my vote! How could you smoke a Golden Joint, though? Hmmm.Anyway, I urge everyone to check out the DUID report if they haven't already. We must educate ourselves and resist such draconian laws any way we can...You Are Going Directly To Jail - DUID Legislation: What It Means,Who's Behind It and Strategies to Prevent It: legalization would help society: industrial hemp - Fear of its drug content is unfounded:,1413,204~21479~2804296,00.htmlCaught In The Net:
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on April 07, 2005 at 18:53:41 PT
Golden Joint Award! That made me laugh. Thanks. You got me thinking about awards when I saw your post. I competed from spring until late fall for many years and won a fair amount of championships but what's funny is I don't remember the details around those wins very well. I do remember those that helped me and picked me up and dusted me off and put me back on the horse and said you must keep going or you won't ever ride again. The people here on CNews remind me of those people that cared about me and helped me and that is the greatest award of all.
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Comment #7 posted by ekim on April 07, 2005 at 18:49:54 PT
"A Retired Police Captain Speaks Out" 
Apr 7 05 KPFT 90.1 FM--Drug Truth Network 06:30 PM Peter Christ Houston Texas USA 
 The Drug Truth Network on radio station KPFT 90.1 FM interviews Board Member Peter Christ. The interview will cover a myriad of drug prohbition issues such as mandatory minimums, wasted tax payer money, methods of harm reduction and the impact of the war on drugs on the world as a whole. The interview is being recorded to be aired the following week on approximately 20 other stations in the US and Canada. Please visit for more information. Apr 8 05 Miami Lions 12:00 PM Howard Wooldridge Miami Arizona USA 
 Members of the Miami Lions Club welcome Board Member Howard Wooldridge for lunch and discussion of issues related to the failure of drug prohibition. Apr 8 05 Downingtown Rotary Club 06:00 PM Peter Christ Downingtown Pennsylvania USA 
 Members of the Downingtown Rotary Club welcome Board Member Peter Christ for dinner and frank talk about drug prohbition related issues such as mandatory minimums, medical marijuana and the effects of America's drug policy on the world. Apr 8 05 "A Retired Police Captain Speaks Out" 11:30 AM Peter Christ Syracuse New York USA 
 The Economics of Crime & Punishment Class of LeMoyne College welcomes Board Member Peter Christ for "Law Enforcement Against Prohibition: A Retired Police Captain Speaks Out". Peter will be relating his first hand experiences of the social and economic failure of drug prohbition. Issues to be discussed are sure to include the waste of tax payer money on the failed war on drugs, the connection between drug trafficking and violence and productive alternatives of harm reduction. Location: Reilly Hall, Classroom 438. Apr 9 05 Humanist Society of Northeast Florida 12:30 PM Jerry Cameron Ormond Beach Florida USA 
 The Humanist Society of Northeast Florida welcomes Speaker Jerry Cameron for lunch and discussion of drug prohibition issues that are impacting the southeast section of the United States and beyond.
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Comment #6 posted by E_Johnson on April 07, 2005 at 18:39:29 PT
Maybe we should start using the B-word
B as in Bully, as in -- we are being bullied.
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Comment #5 posted by ekim on April 07, 2005 at 18:39:05 PT
a site for sore eyes
FoM your site should get the Golden Joint Award for the best site for Cannabis Reform.Maybe MPP will have a internet award.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 07, 2005 at 17:35:32 PT
Thanks Taylor
I quick turned the channel and saw it. The one thing that is good about the cannabis club issue is it shows that we are making progress. The rapid growth of cannabis clubs shows that people want to be out in the open and it seems like a way for the people to say get out of our faces! That is a powerful form of activism even though it is causing some trouble. In the end it should be just fine. It's too late to stop the momentum in California.
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Comment #3 posted by Taylor121 on April 07, 2005 at 17:22:36 PT
Medical Marijuana about to be on O'Reilly
Says selling medical marijuana in California, one of the biggest scams in America up next. Commercial right now. Tune if interested.
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on April 07, 2005 at 16:45:02 PT
Aimed At Weed
From the second article on the bulletin...Commenting on the report, NORML Director Allen St. Pierre said: "We all support the goal of keeping impaired drivers off the road, regardless of whether the driver is impaired from alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs. However, these zero tolerance laws are neither a safe nor sensible way to identify impaired drivers; they are a cynical attempt to misuse the traffic safety laws in order to identify and prosecute marijuana smokers per se. They should be opposed by citizens and lawmakers alike."It's obvious that these drugged driving laws are aimed primarily at cannabis users. The government senses the rising tide of reform and is desperate to keep the plant and it's users down. If there is any justice remaining in this land the courts will strike these bogus laws down. On an unrelated note, it seems that Johnny Pee is continuing to use our money to lie to us... US Drug Czar Brings Message To Cincy: WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...'Experts' Offer Yet Another Contradictory Conclusion For WTC Collapse: 8+: Holes in the Radar: Engineers Help the USA:'s Clothes Articles on 9/11:
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Comment #1 posted by Sukoi on April 07, 2005 at 16:30:48 PT
Several unrelated articles
CROP REPORT ahead, light up students host drug conference elevate fugitive status on 'wanted' list It is simplistic What would Jesus smoke?
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