NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - January 10, 2008

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - January 10, 2008
Posted by CN Staff on January 10, 2008 at 12:16:46 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
  New NORML Report Assesses Pot And Driving Risk --- Pot Law Reform Group Calls For Science-Based Educational Campaign Targeting Drugged Driving Behavior  January 10, 2008 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Motorists should be discouraged from driving if they have recently smoked cannabis, and they should never operate a motor vehicle after having recently consumed both marijuana and alcohol, according to a comprehensive new report published today by the NORML Foundation.
The report, authored by NORML’s newly appointed Deputy Director Paul Armentano, reviews more than a dozen scientific studies investigating the impact of cannabis and other controlled substances on psychomotor performance and on-road accident risk. It states: "While pot’s adverse impact on psychomotor skills is less severe than the effects of alcohol, driving under the acute influence of cannabis still may pose an elevated risk of accident in certain situations. However, because marijuana’s psychomotor impairment is subtle and short-lived, consumers can greatly reduce this risk by refraining from driving for a period of several hours following their cannabis use. "In contrast, motorists should never be encouraged to operate a vehicle while smoking cannabis. Drivers should also be advised that engaging in the simultaneous use of both cannabis and alcohol can significantly increase their risk of accident compared to the consumption of either substance alone."The report also states, "Past use of cannabis, as defined by the detection of inactive cannabis metabolites in the urine of drivers, is not associated with an increased accident risk." Past use of cannabis, as defined by the presence of trace levels of THC in a drivers’ blood, is also seldom associated with increased accident risk compared to drug-free drivers. By contrast, a handful of recent studies have reported a positive association between recent cannabis exposure – as defined by the presence of THC/blood concentrations above 5ng/ml – and a gradually increased risk of vehicle accident."In closed course and driving simulator studies, marijuana’s acute effects on psychomotor performance include minor impairments in tracking (eye movement control) and reaction time, as well as variation in lateral positioning, headway, and speed," the report states. "[However,] these variations in driving behavior are noticeably less consistent or pronounced than the impairments exhibited by subjects under the influence of alcohol. Also, unlike subjects impaired by alcohol, individuals under the influence of cannabis tend to be aware of their impairment and try to compensate for it accordingly, either by driving more cautiously or by expressing an unwillingness to drive altogether."NORML’s report calls for the creation of a nationwide public health campaign to educate younger drivers of the potential risks posed by drugged driving. The report also calls for the development of roadside, cannabis-sensitive technology to better assist law enforcement in identifying drivers who may be under the influence of pot. "The development of such technology would also increase public support for the taxation and regulation of cannabis by helping to assuage concerns that liberalizing marijuana policies could potentially lead to an increase in incidences of drugged driving," the report concludes. "Such concerns are a significant impediment to the enactment of marijuana law reform, and must be sufficiently addressed before a majority of the public will embrace any public policy that proposes regulating adult cannabis use like alcohol."Full text of the report, "Cannabis and Driving: A Scientific and Rational Review," is available at: more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul norml.orgDL:   NORML Launches Nobel Peace Prize Campaign  January 10, 2008 - Washington, DCWashington, DC: The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the nation’s oldest and most respected marijuana law reform organization, has launched a new website calling on the Nobel Institute to recognize the Netherlands’ progressive cannabis policies.The website -- -- touts the Netherlands’ 30+ year policy of tolerating the personal possession and sale of small quantities of cannabis – noting that the nation possesses lower crime rates and lower rates of illicit drug use compared to most Western countries."The Dutch government and its people have proven for more than 30 years that it is more cost effective, humane, and practical to be ‘smart on drugs’ rather than ‘tough on drugs,’" NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. "The world owes a great debt of gratitude to them … for demonstrating that a scientifically-crafted harm reduction drug policy based on researched public health models – not an unyielding prohibition, prison oriented model – results in a healthier, safer, and less imprisoned population that also uses fewer drugs."Visitors to the site are encouraged to contact the Nobel Institute and nominate the Dutch Ministry of Health for consideration for this year’s 2008 Nobel Peace Prize. Nominations to the Nobel Institute must be received by February 1, 2008.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Ron Fisher, NORML Outreach Coordinator, at (202) 483-5500, or email:  nobel norml.orgDL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: January 10, 2008Copyright: 2008 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #9 posted by paul armentano on January 11, 2008 at 10:35:47 PT
A few notes about my latest pot and driving review
For those who have not read my full driving report, the primary conclusions are:** Past use of cannabis, as defined by the presence of inactive metabolites in urine, is not associated with an elevated accident risk compared to controls.** Recent use of cannabis within the past few hours, as defined by THC/blood concentrations below 5 ng/ml, is seldom associated with elevated accident risk compared to controls.** Acute cannabis intoxication, as defined by THC/blood concentrations above 5ng/ml, may be positively associated with an elevated risk of accident compared to controls, but this risk is lower than the risk posed by alcohol.** Acute cannabis and alcohol intoxication combined is associated with an elevated risk of accident that is greater than the use of either substance alone.Based on this evidence, the latter third of the report makes several policy recommendations, including the establishment of a nationwide educational campaign targeting drivers age 16-25, as this group is most likely use cannabis and report having operated a motor vehicle shortly after consuming pot. In addition, this population may have less driving experience, may be more prone to engage in risk-taking behavior, and may be more naïve to pot’s psychoactive effects than older, more experienced populations. This population also reports a greater likelihood for having driven after using cannabis in combinations with other illicit drugs or alcohol. Such an educational campaign was recently launched nationwide in Canada by the Canadian Public Health Association (I was one of the consultants) and could readily be replicated in the United States. Arguably, such a campaign would enjoy enhanced credibility if coordinated by a private public health association or traffic safety organization, such as the American Public Health Association or the AAA Automobile Club, as opposed to the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy – whose previous public service campaigns have demonstrated limited influence among younger audiences.For those out there who wish to read more on this subject, I’d recommend the following resources:* Franjo Grotenhermen. Drugs and Driving: Review for the National Treatment Agency, UK. Nova-Institut (Germany). November 2007.* Drummer et al. 2004. The involvement of drugs in drivers killed in Australian road traffic crashes. Accident, Analysis and Prevention 36: 239-248.* Grotenhermen et al. 2007. Developing per se limits for driving under cannabis. Addiction (E-pub ahead of print).* Bedard et al. 2007. The impact of cannabis on driving. Canadian Journal of Public Health 98: 6-11.* Laumon et al. 2005. Cannabis intoxication and fatal road crashes in France: a population base case-control study. British Medical Journal 331: 1371-1377.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 10, 2008 at 18:58:21 PT:
Very Very Good News
*CA Legislature Stands Up Against DEA Raids*
*State Senator Carole Migden Introduces Resolution Calling on the Federal
Government to Take Action*Dear ASA Supporter,Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and medical cannabis patients were excited to
hear today that State Senator Carole Migden introduced a California Senate
Joint Resolution calling on Congress, the President, and federal law
enforcement to stop raiding legal medical cannabis collectives and respect
California’s law. … SJR_20.pdf
Senator Migden’s resolution follows an unprecedented escalation in Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) attacks on medical cannabis providers and
threats against property owners who rent to hundreds of collectives all over
California.Senator Migden uses strong and clear language, calling on the federal
government to take action:"Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of California, jointly,
That the Legislature respectfully memorializes the Congress and President of
the United States to enact legislation to require the Drug Enforcement Agency
and all other federal agencies and departments to respect the compassionate use
laws of states, including returning any assets seized from medical marijuana
dispensaries and collectives to the states in which they are located…"ASA and an ad-hoc coalition of reform organizations have been reaching out to
California elected officials since letters threatening property owners began
arriving last summer. The Senator’s resolution is the highest profile example
to date of growing dissatisfaction among California leaders, who increasingly
see DEA activity as undue interference in the state’s right to implement
medical cannabis laws and regulate providers. Senator Migden joins Los Angeles
City Council Member Dennis Zine, … Letter.pdf Orange
County Supervisor Chris Norby, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, … onyers.pdf
and others in opposing the DEA actions.Support from our state officials is a crucial element in ASA’s ongoing effort
to stop the DEA attacks on patients’ access to medicine. This is exactly the
kind of support that US House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers needs
to bolster his promised investigation of DEA conduct in California ASA and our allies applaud
Senator Migden’s initiative and urge her colleagues in the California
legislature to move quickly to adopt the resolution.ASA is working everyday to defend safe access in states where it is legal and
to eliminate federal barriers to access and research. The Senator’s resolution
is just another example of how we are moving forward. We can not keep doing
this work without your support, so please join ASA or make an extra
contribution today!,Don Duncan
California Director
Americans for Safe Access
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 10, 2008 at 17:39:20 PT
I Need A Job
Former DEA Agent: I used to kill pot heads, what does that qualify me for?I suggest a career cutting grass for a living. Get them there reticant lawns under control! LOL
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 10, 2008 at 17:13:10 PT
News Article from Associated Content
The Case for Research into Medicinal Marijuana***A Look into the Hypocrisy that Prevents the Research from Taking PlaceBy Georga Hackworth January 10, 2008The recent report out of Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology at the University of Rostock in Rostock Germany in marijuana research has caused me to revisit a podcast interview that I conducted last year with Dan Bernath from the Marijuana Policy Project. Robert Ramer and Burkhard Hinz reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that marijuana has compounds in it which may have an anti-cancer effect. In laboratory settings they found that cannabinoids suppress tumor cell invasion and stimulate the expression of an enzyme inhibitor involved in tumor cell invasion. This research was done in Germany and at present time studies like these can not be carried out in the United States because of laws in place that make marijuana an illegal street drug, but also make it illegal to use in medical research. In order to conduct any research in the United States on the medicinal benefits of marijuana researchers have to apply for permission to use government grade marijuana. Based on lengthy details laid down in the Controlled Drug Substance Act it is determined by the government if that permission can and will be granted. This is because, despite a 3,000 year history of being used as an anapestic and analgesic prior to World War One, and more recently studies showing that it helps relive pain due to nerve damage associated with epilepsy and MS and can be used to treat wasting syndrome in patients with AIDS and cancer, marijuana is a schedule one drug. Schedule one drugs are drugs or substances that have been determined to have a high potential for abuse, there is a lack of safety information on the drug or substance based on a laboratory setting and it has no accepted medical use in the United States. During my interview with Mr. Bernath he pointed out that all drugs have the potential for abuse or dependency. One has to look no further than the number of prescription drugs and nonprescription drugs that are abused. One has to look no further than the world of professional sports to find people who have become dependant on pain medications. You don't have to any further than your local drug store for pseudoephedrine containing cold medication where you are asked for an ID and a record is kept of who bought what and you are only allowed a limited number of purchases in a given amount of time because people learned how to use it's components to make methamphetamines. Interesting though, is the fact that opium is also an illegal street drug but can be found in medications such as codine, morphine and oxycodone. Opium is listed as a schedule two drug along with heroin, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe psychological or physical dependency but it also has an accepted medicinal use. What is even more surprising than that is that a drug called Xyrem, used to treat narcolepsy, is a schedule three drug. Schedule three drugs are classified as having an abuse level less than schedule one and schedule two drugs with a low to moderate physical or psychological dependency and has an excepted medicinal use in the United States. What is the big deal about Xyrem being a schedule three drug? The main ingredient is gamma-hydroxybutyrate or GHB, the date rape drug. Many deaths have been attributed to GHB, several heart attacks in teenagers have been associated with caffeine overdose related to energy drinks. According to Dan Bernath, there have yet to be deaths reported due to marijuana overdose. I am not condoning marijuana use, but in my mind it seems hypocritical to classify drugs such as opium and GBH as being less dangerous than marijuana and therefore giving the government reason to block research into medical value. Currently tweleve states have laws making medicinal marijuana legal. This means that people have permission from the state government to grow their own marijuana under regulation based on doctor recommendation or prescription. The federal government regularly makes raids on these people, arresting and charging them with possession, and confiscating a couple small plants. The federal government refuses to acknowledge these state laws because they are in contradiction to federal drug laws as well as refusing to acknowledge that marijuana helps relieve people of pain, nausea and wasting due to AIDS, cancer and glaucoma and that these reports are documented in peer reviewed medical journals., home of the Cannibas Rescheduling Petition, has been fighting since at least 2002 to have marijuana reclassified under the Controlled Substance Act arguing that cannibus has an accepted medical use in the United States, is safe for use under medical supervision, has an abuse potential lower than Schedule I or II drugs, and has a dependence liability that is also lower than Schedule I or II drugs.What I want explained to me, as I am sure a number of other people want explained to them, is what is the rational that marijuana is more dangerous than opium, heroin or GHB and therefore does not warrant medicinal research. Copyright: 2008 Associated Content
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 10, 2008 at 17:09:23 PT:
I saw that runruff
Lou looked like he was about to wet himself. HAHADefinitely some positive news.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 10, 2008 at 17:05:09 PT:
There's some real 
cruel, evil people in this world. Yet us peaceful, loving cannabis consumers are the ones locked up in cages.That's disgusting.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by runruff on January 10, 2008 at 17:03:15 PT:
O' dem budget cuts!
I just saw on Lou Dobbs where Washington has drastically cut drug war funding. They said that LEOs were personally pouring into Washington to appeal to lawmakers not to cut their budgets.Oh whaaa! Sniffle, sniffle, oh how they cry and whine.Could it be that their haydays are over?It is only the beginning.Wait till the Dems take over Wash.[And] the public outcry just ain't happening.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by mykeyb420 on January 10, 2008 at 16:57:54 PT
OMG off topic
I usually dont post of topic stuff but you guys have to check this out.
 Where i come from, we give pellets to the goats a the petting zoo,,,but this is way out.
Chinese Zoo
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by dankhank on January 10, 2008 at 15:09:04 PT
okaaay ...
NORML finally came to a sensible, from society's POV, regarding driving with substances in the body.As usual they didn't go far enough ...cannabis should not be combined for ANY reason with barbiturates prior to driving.There are a number of mind-altering drugs drugs in the pharmacopoeia that bear the warning ... sic ..."Operation of automobiles and heavy machinery should be avoided until user understands the drugs effects."This warning is also on Marinol packages.Cannabis should not be mixed with alcohol for any reason especially before driving.remember what Fearless Frank said, "smokin' dope and drinking beer is like pissing in the wind."'s been a while, so here it is again ...Driving studies.This is MY research ---------Dankhank Lawton OK 
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, 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 discusses 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.	Thank You for taking the time to review this material and I must comment on the previous statement in bold and larger font, DOT HS 808 065. It strains a credulous mind; the government and legislatures are of two minds about the “War on Some Drugs.”  The legislature harasses, imprisons and generally ruins hundreds of thousands of families every year for a perceived threat that is not supported in other government studies conducted supposedly to give guidance to legislators, and the rest of America, regarding what is a threat or not.	Sir, I ask you to task your staff to order those studies from NHTSA or DOT and have someone review them.  My observations are accurate, but we all insist on verification. 
SincerelyFinally, there is a dirty little secret we all know, but can't say, because mainstream America would never approve ...Driving and toking is not a problem for most all ...Where are all the accidents?Check the last minute of the movie "Dazed and Confused" and you will see three high school kids and one young, 25 or so, man driving to get Kiss tickets and tokin' on the way.Think of all the songs you've heard about tokin' and driving ...I would never tell anyone to drive stoned.but Big Pharma's warning is fine for this ...Operating autos or heavy machinery should be avoided until the drugs effects are on the user are known.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment