Calendar

<<  September 2017  >>
MoTuWeThFrSaSu
28293031123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
2526272829301
2345678

View posts in large calendar

AAA: Driver pot test shown to be invalid

From the Rutland Herald:

A report recently released by the American Automobile Association backs up what Vermont lawmakers heard during the debate over legalizing marijuana: There is no scientific way to prove if someone is under the influence of the drug while driving.

The AAA report looked at the states of Colorado, Washington and Montana, which all have thresholds in place for how much THC can be in someone’s system before they are considered to be under the influence. Those states established a threshold of five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.

The report argues that the five nanograms threshold doesn’t work. After looking into the cases of drivers who were pulled over for DUI and had THC in their systems, AAA says a substantial number of those arrested would be misclassified as impaired and those who are actually impaired would not have been flagged by the test for THC.

The report looked into having thresholds from one nanogram to 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter, but it found no level of THC that would back up what police see while conducting field sobriety tests.

Those who frequently use marijuana can show high levels of THC despite not being impaired while occasional users will have the THC leave their system quickly, according to the report.

The report was put together by the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. That lab also gave the state the same results about not being able to scientifically prove someone is stoned when the state commissioned its own study last year.


Student fell to death after eating weed cookie

From theGrio:

An autopsy report lists marijuana intoxication as a “significant contributing factor” in the death of 19-year-old Levy Thamba Pongi, a native of the Republic of Congo who fell from a motel balcony on March 11.

Levy was a Wyoming college student who was visiting Denver on spring break. Investigators believe Pongi and his friends came to Colorado to try marijuana, Weiss-Samaras said.

Colorado legalized recreational sales of the drug in January. Colorado law bans the sale of recreational marijuana products to people under 21. It is also illegal for those under 21 to possess marijuana, and adults can be charged with a felony for giving it to someone under the legal age.

Authorities said one of Pongi’s friends was old enough to buy the cookie from a pot shop. It was unclear whether the friend might face charges.

It marked the first time the Denver medical examiner’s office has listed a marijuana edible as a contributor to a death, said Michelle Weiss-Samaras, a spokeswoman for the office.

The medical examiner’s office had Pongi’s body tested for at least 250 different substances, including bath salts and synthetic marijuana, which are known to cause strange behavior. His blood tested positive only for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, according to the report.

The marijuana concentration in Pongi’s blood was 7.2 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. Colorado law says juries can assume someone is driving while impaired by marijuana if their blood contains more than 5 nanograms per milliliter of the chemical.

Posted: 4/9/2014 2:58:00 PM

Tags: , , , ,

'Dabbing' the new drug of choice for teens?

From ABC15 (Phoenix, AZ):

It’s a new twist on an old drug and it’s becoming increasingly more popular among teens in Arizona.

The drug is called “Butane Hash Oil” or BHO.

On the street it goes by many names including shatter, wax, ear wax, honey oil, amber or dabbing.

Dabbing because you only need a dab.

This latest butane form of hash oil is highly potent.

According to Not My Kid, strong strains of marijuana contain 25% tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, while some butane hash oil can contain upwards of 60-90% THC.

For teens, it’s easier to conceal, easier to carry, but much more dangerous to make.

Another danger is butane can be left in the oil.

“The person that uses it could be smoking butane which is neurotoxic and very dangerous,” Watson warns.

Parents should look for items like butane containers, glass or metal tubes, glass baking dishes, isopropyl alcohol, and coffee filters.

Posted: 9/17/2013 10:57:00 AM

Tags: , , , , ,

Woman claims she was fired for inhaling second-hand pot smoke

From KBOI2.com:

You can't get drunk if the person next to you is overdoing it with the booze. But what if they were smoking pot? The consequences of breathing their second-hand smoke could lead to your firing or even a DUI.

Cheryl Hale said she doesn't smoke marijuana or use it in another form. The only one who smokes pot is her husband, Edwin Blake. Edwin admits to being a heavy marijuana smoker for his back pain.

"I was fired for testing positive for marijuana even though mine was from second hand smoke," Hale said.

Many companies have a zero tolerance policy for employees who test positive for marijuana. Hale said her company has that policy but there is no clause if the employee claims it's from breathing second-hand pot smoke.

The Problem solvers wanted to find out for ourselves to see how easy it is to test positive from second hand smoke.

After an hour of breathing second hand smoke, I used the oral swab to test my THC level. It registered positive for THC in my system. If I was subject to a random drug test after my exposure to Edwin's smoke, I most likely would have been fired.

But the Problem Solvers wanted to take the experiment one step further. Would it be possible to get a "contact high" and reach the state's new automatic DUI level, just from breathing second hand pot smoke.

Initiative 502 set a per se limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter of Tetrahydocannabinol or THC in the blood. Delta 9 THC is the active ingredient that makes people high. Go over 5 nanograms in blood test, you are legally impaired in the eyes of the state. A "per se limit" is legalese for saying a person is "legally impaired".

Most people are familiar with the blood alcohol limit of .08, the per se limit for driving under the influence of alcohol. But the former state toxicologist, Dr. Barry Logan, said you can't compare the legal impairment level of 5 nanograms of THC for pot to the .08 blood alcohol limit.

"There's no way to equate a blood marijuana level to an equivalent level of impairment with same level of confidence that there is with alcohol," said Logan, who is now the Director of Toxicology and Forensic Science for NMS Labs in Pennsylvania.

That's because there are not as many studies on levels of impairment with marijuana as there are with alcohol.

We enlisted the help of several medical marijuana users. Eight people smoke a variety of fairly intense weed for an hour while I casually breathed their marijuana smoke.

After an hour, the results showed I had a Delta 9 THC level of 1.1 nanograms per milliliter, below the state's legal impairment limit of 5 nanograms.

But there is the twist Washingtonians new to the effects of marijuana should know. THC in the blood falls of dramatically within minutes of the last inhale compared to alcohol which stays in your blood much longer.

"THC levels can fall as much as 60 percent in the first 15 minutes and then by as much as 80 percent in the first 30 minutes after a person stops smoking," Logan said.

Posted: 5/2/2013 11:20:00 AM

Tags: , , , , ,

2 states legalize recreational marijuana use

From Fox News:

Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana Tuesday night, setting up a battle between the states and the federal government, which prohibits use of the drug.

The Colorado measure has sparked a national debate about marijuana policy, with supporters pushing for the federal government to end marijuana prohibition nationwide. The Colorado measure states adults over 21 can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, or six marijuana plants, for personal use. Opponents have said it will make the state a haven for drug tourists.

The measure in Washington State, Initiative 502, will legalize and regulate the production, possession and distribution of marijuana for residents age 21 and older.

The new law will impose a 25 percent tax rate on marijuana when the grower sells it to the processor, when the processor sells it to the retailer and when the retailer sells it to the customer. The measure could bring in $500 million, a figure analysts dispute.

Voters in Oregon, where the pro-marijuana advocates were less organized and poorly funded, defeated a ballot measure that would have allowed the commercial growth and sale of marijuana to adults. Known as Measure 80, it would have legalized pot through state-licensed stores, allowed unlicensed growth and use of marijuana by adults and prohibit restrictions on pot.

In Arkansas, voters rejected a measure legalizing medical marijuana, while in Massachusetts, voters supported a similar measure.

Posted: 11/7/2012 8:54:00 AM

Tags: , ,

Strange reason for newborns' positive pot test found

From msnbc.com:

Certain soaps used to wash babies shortly after birth may cause the baby to test positive for marijuana on some newborn screening tests, a new study suggests.

In the study, urine samples that contained minute amounts of any of five baby soaps — Johnson & Johnson's Head-to-Toe Baby Wash, J&J Bedtime Bath, CVS Night-Time Baby Bath, Aveeno Soothing Relief Creamy Wash and Aveeno Wash Shampoo — gave a positive result on a drug screening test for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana.

The researchers began their investigation after nurses at a North Carolina hospital reported an increase in the number of newborns testing positive for marijuana.

It's important to note the soaps do not produce a "high," or any other effects of marijuana, in infants. "It's not marijuana a in any way, shape or form," said study researcher Catherine Hammett-Stabler, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

A screening test that indicates a baby has been exposed to marijuana can lead to the involvement of social services, and accusations of child abuse, the researchers said.

Given these consequences, it's important for health-care providers and laboratory staffs to be aware that these soaps may lead to a positive test for marijuana, and to consider confirming positive tests with a more sensitive method, the researchers said.

Posted: 7/13/2012 10:32:00 AM

Tags: , , , ,

Bill Targets Drugged Driving

From The Colorado Observer:

The Senate State, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee advanced a bill to include marijuana under the state’s DUI law that currently sets legal limits for driving under the influence of alcohol. The Senators listened to more than six hours of scientific, legal and personal testimony of proponents and opponents.

Senate Bill 117 would extend Colorado’s DUI “per se” limit for alcohol impairment to include marijuana. More than 5 nanograms of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter in blood is the legal threshold for “permissible inference that the defendant was driving under the influence of drugs.”

“The number of accidents has gone down. Yet fatal crashes with THC-impaired drivers have doubled in four years,” said Sen. Steve King (R-Grand Junction), sponsor of SB 117.

King co-sponsored a similar bill last year, but this year’s DUI bill criminalizes possession of a Schedule I controlled substance, such as LSD and heroin. If a driver is suspected of being impaired and tests confirm the presence of a Schedule II controlled substance, such as cocaine, codeine and oxycodone that is considered a permissible inference.

Critics argued that there are conflicting studies, that chronic users may show high THC levels even when they are not impaired, and medical marijuana users may be unjustly charged. Proponents countered that there are sufficient studies and drug-related traffic accidents support the need to address the issue.

And from The Denver Post:

There's disagreement over whether a blood THC test is a fair gauge of whether a driver is impaired, but a Senate panel voted 4-1 to forward the measure to the full chamber.

Pot activists said they agree driving while high should remain illegal. But some vigorously object to blood testing as a measure of impairment. Because marijuana chemicals are stored in the body's fat, levels can build up over time in people who use pot often.

Scientists gave conflicting testimony Monday.

"Nobody in this audience wants to have drugged driving policies, (but) there is disagreement about per se limits in chronic users," said Dr. Paul Bregman, a Colorado physician who recommends marijuana.

However, lawmakers were swayed by conflicting testimony from Cindy Burbach, forensic toxicologist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She told lawmakers that the agency is getting more requests from law enforcement for blood THC tests, from 8,600 requests in 2009 to nearly 10,400 last year.

"Five nanograms is more than fair," Burbach told senators. She said the department used a different THC screening procedure before 2009, making comparisons before then impossible.

The 5-nanogram limit still must clear the full Senate, where a similar measure was defeated last year amid bipartisan opposition. Then the measure would head to the Republican House, which approved a similar measure last year.

States that have set a legal limit for marijuana have taken different approaches.

Nevada, which allows marijuana use for medical purposes, and Ohio have a limit of 2 nanograms of THC per milliliter for driving. Pennsylvania has a 5-nanogram limit, but unlike Colorado's proposal, it's a state Health Department guideline, which can be introduced in driving violation cases. Twelve states, including Illinois, Arizona and Rhode Island, have a zero-tolerance policy for driving with any presence of an illegal substance.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, peak THC concentrations are present during the act of smoking and they generally fall to less than 5 nanograms within three hours.

Posted: 2/29/2012 8:52:00 AM

Tags: , , , , , ,

Driving high: State considers limit

From The Durango Herald:

The surge of medical marijuana use in Colorado has started another debate in the state Legislature: What constitutes driving while high?

Lawmakers are considering setting a DUI blood-content threshold for marijuana that would make Colorado one of three states with such a provision in statute – and one of the most liberal, according to Rep. Claire Levy, one of the bill’s sponsors.

Under the proposal, drivers who test positive for 5 nanograms or more of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, would be considered too impaired to drive if the substance is present in their blood at the time they’re pulled over or within two hours.

While it’s already illegal to drive while impaired by drugs, states have taken different approaches to the issue. Twelve states, including Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Rhode Island, have a zero-tolerance policy for driving with any presence of an illegal substance, said Anne Teigen, policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota has the same policy but exempts marijuana.

Nevada, which is among the 16 states that allow medical marijuana, has a 2 nanogram THC limit for driving. Pennsylvania has a 5 nanogram limit, but that’s a state Health Department guideline, which can be introduced in driving violation cases, Teigen said.

Posted: 2/22/2011 2:45:00 PM

Tags: , , ,

Study: Marijuana potency reaches 30-year high in 2007

From the Associated Press:

Marijuana potency increased last year to the highest level in more than 30 years, posing greater health risks to people who may view the drug as harmless, according to a report released Thursday by the White House.

The latest analysis from the University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project tracked the average amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in samples seized by law enforcement agencies from 1975 through 2007. It found that the average amount of THC reached 9.6 percent in 2007, compared with 8.75 percent the previous year.

The 9.6 percent level represents more than a doubling of marijuana potency since 1983, when it averaged just under 4 percent.

"Today's report makes it more important than ever that we get past outdated, anachronistic views of marijuana," said John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He cited baby boomer parents who might have misguided notions that the drug contains the weaker potency levels of the 1970s.

"Marijuana potency has grown steeply over the past decade, with serious implications in particular for young people," Walters said. He cited the risk of psychological, cognitive and respiratory problems, and the potential for users to become dependent on drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

The White House office attributed the increases in marijuana potency to sophisticated growing techniques that drug traffickers are using at sites in the United States and Canada.

A report from the office last month found that a teenager who has been depressed in the past year was more than twice as likely to have used marijuana than teenagers who have not reported being depressed -- 25 percent compared with 12 percent. The study said marijuana use increased the risk of developing mental disorders by 40 percent.

The project analyzed data on 62,797 cannabis samples, 1,302 hashish samples, and 468 hash oil samples obtained primarily from seizures by law enforcement agencies in 48 states since 1975.

Posted: 6/19/2008 8:39:00 AM

Tags: , , ,