NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- July 28, 2005

  NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- July 28, 2005

Posted by CN Staff on July 28, 2005 at 15:19:14 PT
Weekly Press Release 
Source: NORML 

Presence Of THC Metabolite Alone Not Evidence Of Driver Impairment, Court SaysJuly 28, 2005 - Traverse City, MI, USATraverse City, MI: The presence of cannabis' primary metabolite, THC-COOH, is insufficient evidence of impairment to warrant a conviction under the state's "zero tolerance" per se drugged driving law, according to a recent ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals.
The decision upholds a trial court ruling that found the "prosecution must prove that the presence of a controlled substance in a defendant's body is proximate cause of an accident resulting in death or serious injury" in order for the defendant to be guilty of violating the state's two-year-old drugged driving statute.Michigan is one of ten states that have enacted so-called "zero tolerance" drugged driving laws. Under Michigan's law, it is a criminal offense for an individual to operate a motor vehicle with any detectable level of a Schedule I substance present in his or her bodily fluids. (In six states - Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, and Utah - individuals may be criminally prosecuted if they operate a vehicle with any level of a Schedule I drug or drug metabolite in their system. Three additional states - Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Virginia - have enacted per se drugged driving standards, prohibiting individuals from operating a motor vehicle if they have levels of Schedule I drugs present in their body above a specific threshold.)In the case before the court, the defendant tested positive for the presence of the THC metabolite THC-COOH (a non-psychoactive compound produced during the body's biological process of converting THC into a water soluble form), but maintained that she was unimpaired at the time of her accident. The prosecution argued that it was not required under Michigan's "zero tolerance" drugged driving law to establish that the defendant's impairment caused the accident, only that she had an illegal substance present in her body. The appellate court upheld the trail court's ruling, affirming that marijuana's metabolite is neither psychoactive nor classified as an illegal substance, and that the prosecution had failed to prove a causal relationship between the presence of a controlled substance in the defendant's body and the accident.Michigan's Supreme Court had previously held that the legislature did not "intend to impose strict liability on an individual" involved in a driving-related accident, the appellate court determined. Rather, the legislature's intent is to criminally punish only individuals whose impaired driving causes another person's injury."The defendant's purposeful operation of [a] vehicle while under the influence must have been a substantial cause of the victim's death," the court of appeals determined. It further found that the "legislature did not intend to include [the cannabis metabolite] as a Schedule I controlled substance because it has no pharmacological effect on the human body ... and its levels in the blood correlates poorly, if at all, to an individual's level of THC-related impairment."As a result, the appellate court ruled, "Imposing a penalty on a driver when the ... accident would have occurred regardless of that intoxication would ... fail to serve the purpose of the statute."Prosecutors have not announced whether they intend to appeal the court's decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano or Keith Stroup of NORML at (202) 483-5500. A comprehensive breakdown of state drugged driving laws appears in NORML's report, "You Are Going Directly to Jail: DUID Legislation: What It Means, Who's Behind It, and Strategies to Prevent It," available online at: Ogilvy & Mather Execs Sentenced To Prison For Inflating Costs Of Feds' Anti-Pot AdsJuly 28, 2005 - New York, NY, USANew York, NY: Former Ogilvy & Mather executives Shona Seifert and Thomas Early have both been sentenced to prison for their roles in defrauding the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).Seifert was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $125,000 dollars. Early was sentenced to 14 months in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Both executives were convicted in February of ten counts of conspiracy and filing false claims against the federal government.The White House Drug Czar's office hired Ogilvy & Mather in 1998 to create public service announcements for its $1.2 billion "National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign." The duo were later found to have altered employees' time-sheets, billing the ONDCP for more than 3,100 hours worth of work that had not taken place.Ogilvy & Mather had previously agreed in 2002 to a civil settlement with the US Justice Department regarding the overbilling.Despite the scandal, the White House continued to pay the firm to produce its anti-drug public service announcements until last year. A four-year evaluation of the federal ad campaign, performed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, found that it fails to alter teens' perceptions of marijuana or reduce its use among young people.For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano or Keith Stroup of NORML at (202) 483-5500.DL: Parliament May Consider DecrimJuly 28, 2005 - Kingston, JamaicaKingston, Jamaica: Government officials are once again promising to consider legislation to liberalize Jamaica's cannabis laws. If a bill is introduced, legislative hearings could take place as early as this fall.Similar pronouncements from government officials in 2002 and 2004 failed to result in legislative action from Parliament, despite a 2001 report from the National Commission on Ganja recommending that it depenalize the possession and use of small quantities of cannabis for adults.In 2003, former NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup testified before Parliament in support of the National Commission's recommendations.Under current Jamaican law, possession of even one marijuana cigarette is a criminal offense punishable by up to ten days in jail.For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano or Keith Stroup of NORML at (202) 483-5500.DL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: July 28, 2005Copyright: 2005 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- July 21, 2005's Weekly News Bulletin -- July 14, 2005's Weekly News Bulletin -- July 07, 2005

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Comment #15 posted by FoM on July 29, 2005 at 11:52:14 PT
Max Flowers 
I did a search and found Rick James's web site but he must be after the time when I stop listening to new music. I think I'm typical of every generation. We find a resting spot with music and musicians we like and I stopped with Neil Young. I really feel old saying that but I am! LOL!
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Comment #14 posted by Max Flowers on July 29, 2005 at 11:26:52 PT
Have you heard the Rick James song "Mary Jane"? If not, I know you'd love it... the lyrics are the same kind of cute devotional phrases.
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Comment #13 posted by legalizeit on July 29, 2005 at 09:55:27 PT
Legal precedent that could go a LONG way...
I hope this sets a new tack in the drug testing sham. Because drug testing only measures metabolites, it mainly serves to incriminate innocent people who may have partaken in some prohibited sacrament (usually cannabis) in leisure time. I am not a legal expert but this appears to me to be an unreasonable search, violating the (all too often ignored) 4th Amendment.We can only hope that this precedent paves the way for an across-the-board federal requirement that all random, reasonable cause, and post-accident testing either be banned altogether or re-engineered so that incrimination depends on a specific level of impairment (defined as deterioration of reflex and motor skills to the point of being unable to safely operate a motor vehicle or other machinery), not the level of a harmless metabolite that is present in a private bodily fluid. There exist non-invasive, video-game style reflex tests that can determine impairment and have the potential to be far more comprehensive than pee tests.Due to a glut of people vying for a dwindling number of jobs in the computer field, I have been thinking about a new career in big-rig trucking, but the insanely overreaching and invasive DOT-mandated drug testing regimen that goes with it has been making me have second thoughts about it. (Fully HALF, or over 300 pages, of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations manual deals with drug testing procedures. Just look at all this crap! or what?)Hoping for a simpler, greener future...legalizeit
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Comment #12 posted by Agog on July 29, 2005 at 09:22:27 PT
JR Bob Dobbs - Hypothetical
Hi JR.To answer your question... it doesn't necessarily provide a direct controlling precedent, but depending on whether a similar law is on the books in your state, you "could" use it as part of positive defense against being "under the influence".For example... there are speeding ticket defenses that rely on multiple state law cases that force the prosecution to prove guilt, rather than you getting railroaded into proving your innocence. You essentially show that judicial notice has happened in other courts of "law", which means they have recognized and accepted the principle on which you are basing your argument. It is good that this has been upheld by an Appeals Court because if they continue the challenge it could end up in the State Supreme Court and if upheld would make it that much stronger a defense in the future.R/Agog
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on July 29, 2005 at 08:16:22 PT
I love you Maryjane is so darn cute!
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Comment #10 posted by knowhemp on July 29, 2005 at 08:08:48 PT
the herb - make my brain it preserve
you see da herb - nah get what it deserve
the herb - it make i mon observe
the herb - it un-strain me nerve!i wish i went to work with everyone here each day! I would get in a ton less trouble with my big mouth!! hahaha!I haven't smoked in a month, and whats this? No withdrawls? No alcohol, cigarettes or anything to replace anykind of void? I love you Maryjane!! You know when to give me space if I need it! ;)
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Comment #9 posted by potpal on July 29, 2005 at 08:04:30 PT
checkpoints counterpoint
Recently responded to a blur in a local paper, The Ocean Pines Independent (MD)...thought I'd share it. I was nice...When did ‘protect and serve’ become ‘hold up and hassle’?A recent headline in the July 20 Independent stated, ‘Seven Arrested at Sobriety Checkpoint’. Buried a bit in the story one learns a total of 957 vehicles were flagged, waved over, looked up and down, inside and out, asked a series of questions, sniffed possibly, and all this simply for going about their business and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. What’s wrong with this picture? 7 out of 957, 950 other autos (950+ people) held up and hassled. That’s not even 1 percent. Surely, the 20 or so task force members in place to perform this ritual could have weeded out 7 if not more the traditional way over the same period of time, observing traffic flows and identifying those driving erratically, and forego holding up more than 950 law abiding, maybe in a hurry, citizens going about their way freely. We all like to go fishin’ and the checkpoint guards may enjoy this novel way of meeting their neighbors and picking up a little OT but those being detained, examined and interrogated on the side of the road may not appreciate the infringement even a little bit. Sow and grow.
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Comment #8 posted by mayan on July 29, 2005 at 04:58:58 PT
Off Topic
Enforcing marijuana laws wastes time, money: lawyer reports new evidence in Corby case: City extends its moratorium on pot clubs:
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Comment #7 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on July 28, 2005 at 21:05:16 PT
Off Topic: I Just Love The Smell Of Cannabis
JUST A LITTLE BREAK FROM THE WAR!I have always loved the smell of cannabis from the first day I smelled it. I like the herbal pepper smelling kind of cannabis; I just can't sniff enough of it either. I don't know why I love the smell of cannabis but I do. I would love have a house in the middle of a cannabis field and breath the fresh air all of the time.Some people don't like the smell of cannabis and I never could understand why but respect their preference anyway. No person or entity can change me from loving the smell of cannabis.
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Comment #6 posted by charmed quark on July 28, 2005 at 19:08:55 PT
Thank heavens for a tad less nonsense
I'm so glad the court ruled this wau in ONE state. However, as far as I can tell, the legislature meant exactly what was overturned - any level of the metabolite made you de facto drugged.I always wondered how they would deal with Marinol - a schedule 3 drug that would generate exactly the same metabolite as the schedule 1 drug-CQ
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Comment #5 posted by b4daylight on July 28, 2005 at 18:24:57 PT
Presence Of THC Metabolite Alone Not Evidence Of Driver Impairment, Court SaysThis will go along way...
One in ER emergency rooms That bloated statistic they use...
Two in auto accidents another bloated properganda.....Basicly they will need to devise a test to determine how much is to much....That my friends will change how they test you at work.
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on July 28, 2005 at 17:50:51 PT
Bad Intentions
From the first article on the bulletin...As a result, the appellate court ruled, "Imposing a penalty on a driver when the ... accident would have occurred regardless of that intoxication would ... fail to serve the purpose of the statute."Imposing a penalty on the driver would only serve crooked politicians and the crooked interests from whom they take money from. Their intention was never to keep "intoxicated" drivers off the road but to keep all forms of cannabis illegal to ensure profits for said interests. It's no wonder that politicians are held in lower regard than ever before. Hats off to the Michigan Court of Appeals!THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Bin Laden Brothers Tip-Off Two NASA Research Scientists In 1987 About U.S. Government Plans To Cause 9/11: Paul J. Landis Reveals 9/11 Insights in New Book "A Real 9/11 Commission": Report Airs Highlights of Historic 9/11 Briefings on Capitol Hill: Was an Inside Job - A Call to All True Patriots:
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Comment #3 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on July 28, 2005 at 16:32:27 PT
Hypothetical question
I am not a lawyer, but I am curious if anyone knows how much of a precedent one state's ruling, like Michigan's, could influence a similar court case in another state. I know it's not a direct precedent, but is it the type of thing that could be used in a trial somehow?
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 28, 2005 at 16:04:34 PT
I just want to say thank you.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on July 28, 2005 at 15:42:12 PT
US CO: Drug war junkies 
US CO: Drug war junkies Pubdate: July 28, 2005
Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)Viewed at: CO: LTE: Marijuana dialogues       Viewed at:
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