TED Conversations

Theodore A. Hoppe

TEDCRED 200+

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What is the evidence regarding driving under the influence of marijuana? How much enforcement is needed to deal with this "problem?"

Two state have legalize the recreational use of marijuana and many more have permitted the use of medical marijuana. Law enforcement has countered this move by stepping up enforcement of "driving high." Police in many states have begun asking legislators to empower them to test drivers who they believe may be under the influence of marijuana.

"Even with laws establishing a specific limit, police might not have a way to enforce them."

http://www.npr.org/2014/02/23/280310526/with-support-for-marijuana-concern-over-driving-high-grows?ft=3&f=2

How much enforcement is needed? What is the evidence regarding driving under the influence of marijuana?

“We’ve done phone surveys, and we’re hearing that a lot of people think D.U.I. laws don’t apply to marijuana,” said Glenn Davis, highway safety manager at the Department of Transportation in Colorado"

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/18/health/driving-under-the-influence-of-marijuana.html?_r=0

NORML offers this perceptive:“Crash culpability studies have failed to demonstrate that drivers with cannabinoids in the blood are significantly more likely than drug-free drivers to be culpable in road crashes.”
http://norml.org/library/item/marijuana-and-driving-a-review-of-the-scientific-evidence

How "stoned" is to high to drive?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/18/stoned-drivers-test-course-marijuana-dui_n_2711358.html

What are your thoughts?

Topics: DUI marijuana
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    Feb 25 2014: I smoked marijuana on a daily basis for about twelve years. I ran the biggest data center in Washington State "high", I wrote some of the my most complicated programs and designed my best systems "high", I stood up an lectured to hundreds of other programmers, system analysts, systems programmers and mangers in the capital and admin bldg. auditorium "high", I was hired and taught the professors at Evergreen State College "high", I drove on a daily basis "high", I water skied, scuba dived, and cliff dived "high". In other words I went about my ordinary life 'high" for a good many years and very few people knew the difference. Now when I drank alcohol that was a different story, it was the influence of alcohol that kept getting me into trouble not marijuana. Marijuana always made me more aware of what was going on and heightened my senses. It was alcohol that dulled my mind. Our generation needs to lower it's head in shame at how we have treated people and pass on into the night before the next generation decides to makes us pay for our sins, as they should!

    Theodore I love you man and you are one of the kindest I have found in here, together we need to stand behind this newer generation and support them. They can and will change the world but they could use our help, I for one am willing to help them in an way I can. It starts and ends with the truth!
    If you have smoked marijuana then share your experience, strengths and hopes with us. Thank you for the conversation so we can bring this topic out in the open where it belongs.
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      Feb 25 2014: Keith, Thank you for your honest reply. Please do not get the wrong idea about this conversation. The articles I posted gives a sampling of different opinions on the issue, but I thought the best way the raise awareness about what I see as the continuation of the war of drugs by law enforcement was to start a conversation here. The legal community are responding to this issue with the same 'us vs them' mentality that provided them with increases budgets for advanced equipment which ends up being used against the otherwise law biding citizens like you and me
      Our generation does needs to lower it's head in shame at how we have treated people, and the policing community cannot find it within themselves to do so.
      If we do not bring this out into the light to examine what is happening we will all be worse off for it.

      On a personal I will admit to having driven high, I was more a cautious driver, courteous, attentive, avoided speeding, came to full stops. One is rarely in a hurry when they are high.



      . .
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        Feb 25 2014: Thank you Theodore, for one you just pushed me over the triple+ barrier and your honesty and wisdom as always are intoxicating. I believe we owe it to our kids to do anything possible to facilitate and support their new reign on the system to make it better for all. I am so proud of my own she is 30 years old and has travelled the world spending several years in China. She came back home to Hawaii and is getting straight A's at the same college I went to when I was thirty and I am also listed on the dean's list there. The fruit does not fall far from the tree as they say.

        I will try to add any perspective I can to your conversation as I have been involved with everything from growing to sales and even went to jail for it. Only in America do they put the farmers in jail and the criminals in charge!
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    Feb 25 2014: The "war" against Marijuana has allowed many law enforcement agencies to keep high budgets. it's helped keep prisons (many privately owned) filled therefore keeping money in the pockets of the investors.

    And because of those things it's made the trade of this substance a violent one.

    There is nothing wrong with marijuana, i'd prefer to walk in on my little brother smoking a joint, than sniffing coke, or taking MDMA. I see a change in the future, but alot of damage has already been done.
    • Mar 5 2014: I agree with this! ^ Marijuana would also help the economy because the government could tax it like they do to cigarettes. I'm not saying people should smoke Marijuana like they do cigarettes (anywhere they want...). It should be legal to smoke it in your own home, just like you can have a beer.
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    Feb 28 2014: "Studies, references, papers, reports, books, manuals, standards, laws, ordinances, regulations, on and on ..."
    So what is the problem with all this STUFF? For one it is all profit motivated, someone writes this with the intent that you will give them your money, which ironically is also more worthless paper. In a nut shell that is exactly what our education system has become a group of paper shufflers. Upon graduation they have NO experience, with the exception of shuffling worthless papers, and wonder why no one wants to hire them.
    Back to the "paper mill", in reference to marijuana, our corporate government has been literally paying for propaganda that discredits any positive use of marijuana for many years. They launched an amazing paper trail and media blitz against marijuana knowing full well it was all lies and fabrication.
    Unfortunately for them, there were already enough people in the world who already knew from their own personal experience that marijuana is undoubtedly one of the most pleasant experiences in life, right up there with (sex, sugar and chocolate). To those people it was just another example of why the establishment, the government and the propaganda of all kinds can not be trusted. It is what prompted this statement by Benjamin Franklin "Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see".
    Summation:
    1) Our corporate government lies to us and cannot be trusted
    2) Our entire education system is predicated on those corporate and government lies and therefore worthless.
    3) The only thing trustworthy is your own experience, trust your heart because your heart is incapable of lying to you.
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    Feb 27 2014: Mind altering drugs and driving> This should get interesting> why? Because most of my clients over 65 are high as kites as they drive and not one is one MJ...meth amphetamines,anti depressants pain killers,cocktails of multi drugs...but not pot> they often comment how driving in twilight is completely unvisible...but they still drive. Once we have drug testing in place for driving high...a lot of people who are medically high all day are going into this net....this will get pretty interesting.
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      Feb 27 2014: Would you agree that caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol are also psychoactive or "mind altering drugs?"
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        Feb 28 2014: Bingo... Nobody wants to talk about their own personal favorite drugs... what about the most addictive drug of all? SUGAR or WHEAT (the holy grail of drugs)
  • Feb 26 2014: Existing DUI laws cover mj. The problem is an accurate test of impairment.

    Most current mj tests *DO NOT* determine impairment. They detect THC metabolites in the urine or blood. These form AFTER the high is gone and can last up to 3 months in the system, with an average of 2-3 weeks. Testing these to determine impairment is as fair as rounding up everyone with a Beer Belly and giving them a DUI.

    Accurate tests exist for impairment if a blood sample is used, but these are both expensive and carry medical risks if administered by police.

    Those who are ranting that the legalization of mj will cause hordes of stoners slaughtering everyone even near a road are just prohibition propagandist fearmongers. Reality is that high drivers are much more careful and drive slower than drunk drivers. Given a choice users prefer to be high over being drunk, so DUI deaths DECREASE when mj is available (which is why the alcholol industry fights legalization - it will take away from their profits.) But most importantly of all, anyone who currently wants to smoke mj ALREADY DOES. They drive today. Yet we have no epidemic DUI's that are attributed to mj.

    I think the DUI issue is a last-ditch attempt by the prohibitionists to try to stop legalization. It won't work as all the data points to mj use being much safer than every other 'impaired' driving - be it drinking, prescription drugs, age, tiredness or the worst impairment of them all: Texting.

    Reefer Madness was NOT a documentary, but this DUI discussion is proof that there are many who thought it was.
  • Feb 26 2014: One issue is that because mj has been illegal, it has not been possible to conduct studies on the effects. That is changing now.

    California did a study where people were allowed to smoke mj and then drove a closed-course test site with state troopers watching and grading their performance. Not one of the people drove badly enough for the troopers to say that they would have pulled them over if they saw them on the highway. The people ranged from 1st-time users to heavy users. There's youtube video of it.

    California also saw a DECREASE in DUI fatalities after medical mj was legalized. Seems people, given the choice, would rather get high than drunk. Just as many were driving impared, but the mj impairment is much less than alchohol.

    The cliche is that a drunk drivers run a stop sign, while stoned drivers stop and wait for the sign to turn Green.
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      Feb 28 2014: The cliche is that a "drunk drivers run a stop sign, while stoned drivers stop and wait for the stop sign to turn Green."
      IMHO That is really, really funny and I can certainly relate. Which reminds me...
      My first experience with pot mixed in food. I sprinkled about a half ounce of pot in with the pizza mix and shoved the large pizza into the oven. I then called a couple friends to come over and share it. The pizza got done and my friends had not showed up yet so I thought I will have just one piece while it is still hot and I did. The pizza tasted normal and I felt no high. I waited and still no show, so I had another piece and another and another and pretty soon it was all gone. They never did show up. Disappointed in my friends and also because I felt no high, I went to bed. I was sound asleep for about an hour and then my eyes flashed wide open and I sat up in my waterbed. I raced into my living room and turned on some CSNY then quite ready to party I decided to drive over to my friends house. (Big mistake) I jumped in my Goat(GTO) and down the road I went. Then I thought someone was following me so I darted into an alley, turned the lights off and stayed there for awhile captive of my blitzed out mind in the dark. Then for whatever reason I decided to turn the car around in the alley instead of just backing out. The alley was just a few inches wider than my car would fit sideways so it was really hard and took hundreds of up six inches, back six inches, up six inches, back six inches but after what seemed like over an hour I got it turned around and drove out and back home to bed. I call it the party of one. I don't know about you but I have a full blown entertainment system right between my ears.
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    Feb 25 2014: Interesting conversation - we allowed the use of medical marijuana on cancer patients even back in the 80's (yes it was illegal but we just ignored that). Progress has obviously been pretty slow even for medical use.

    I honestly don't know about driving under the influence but I think driving while impaired on anything (see today's NYT story on driving on Ambien) is dangerous and irresponsible. I have no problem with people getting drunk or high in their homes or any safe environment (within sensible limits of course). But I have seen scores of patients injured from their own or someone else's impaired driving.
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      Feb 25 2014: The reason I have posed the question as I have is to avoid the perception that impaired driving is not a serious issue. As you are correctly pointing out, there are many other things that can contribute to impairment, such as prescription drugs, and I will add the aging process.
      I will argue that the legalization of marijuana has become an easy target for the law enforcement, they are reacting, not responding, to a perceived "problem" that there is little or no evidence about.

      I mentioned aging and there is certainly a decline in a person's reaction times as they age. But it would be unpopular to suggest that we take away the driving privileges of all seniors simply because they are growing older. So we conveniently back burner those concerns and statistics despite the fact that our older population is rapidly expanding.

      So, what is the scientific approach here. You're a doctor, perhaps you can describe to us the types of trials you would call for to create an informed decision as to how this issue might be addressed.
      Leaving up to the police to inform legislators will only lead to punitive outcomes.
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        Feb 25 2014: Studies could be done to compare cognitive ability, motor skills, reaction time, etc. with varying amounts of THC. The Duquenois–Levine test (no relation), actually its even called the DL test (my initials) is used but is not that great (lots of false positives). Blood draws right now are the standard - that gets expensive.

        Wow - great question - Iv'e thought about it for 5 minutes and any argument I have I can easily challenge. We can also add in texting, checking email, driving while tired, etc. to the list of driving risks.

        Maybe public transportation is the answer (I am a big advocate of it but it is sorely lacking in the Southeast).
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          Feb 25 2014: If I may ask one more question, a rhetorical one perhaps for the sake of this conversation; since traces of marijuana use last for up to a month in the body, but the high seems to last for a relatively short amount of time,.how might we test for a dissipation rate for THC that would measure impairment and not use?

          I believe this gets to the heart of the matter. Too often uninformed lawmakers create bad laws that require expensive court challenges to change. This can be avoided here.
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          Feb 25 2014: This is very enlightening.

          The Non-Specificity of the Duquenois-Levine Field Test for Marijuana

          Abstract: The purpose of this study is to determine the specificity, or lack thereof, of the Duquenois-Levine (D-L) field test kit in the identification of marijuana. Out of the forty-two samples tested, patchouli, spearmint, and eucalyptus tested positive for marijuana using the D-L field test. From these results, it can be concluded that the test is non-specific and can yield false positives. Therefore, it cannot be legitimately used for the prosecution or conviction of an individual for violations of the anti-marijuana laws as it does not provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the presence of marijuana.
          In fact, law enforcement personnel and the test kit manufacturer claim that the D-L field test is a specific, identification test with near perfect accuracy. In court, police officers testify falsely to the identification of marijuana in a seized substance based solely on the D-L test and other non-specific, screening tests leading to convictions. The result is the denial of the Constitutionally-guaranteed right to a fair trial, due process and countless wrongful marijuana convictions.

          http://benthamscience.com/open/toforsj/articles/V005/4TOFORSJ.pdf
  • Feb 25 2014: Theodore

    A question close to my heart...as close as my lungs. As a Canadian with Crones disease I have been a daily user for almost two decades. I must clarify though that my exposure to the mary-jane came prior my diagnosis, and I did not avoid it. As I understand the recent research in the debilitating effects of cannabis continued exposure dramatically changes it's effect. While the initiate experiences loss in balance, are highly distracted, and move erratically, the veteran user actually experiences more focus on the task at hand. (which also expresses itself as reduced reaction speed for unexpected stimuli).

    I think that since a large part of the population would be debilitated by smoking or eating THC we should enforce a ban on driving under the influence. I would like to see the development of a roadside testing device and similar penalties to a DWI. A small percentage of smokers would be unhappy, but we should legislate to save lives, not please smokers. Citizens have the right to cross streets with the expectation that the drivers are observant and aware.

    Regards
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      Feb 25 2014: Obviously, marijuana use has been around for awhile in a covert fashion. Where has it been observed as endangering to pedestrians or other motorist that you can cite for us.
      Additionally, how long does the "buzz" or impairment last in comparison to alcohol in your opinion?
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      Feb 26 2014: Recreational use will provide a a number of THC-laced products as well as vaporizers.
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    Feb 25 2014: There are other factors that most people do not think about with marijuana which is a good reason for legalizing and regulation instead of the barbaric way we now treat it. One is our own government sprays paraguat, a deadly poison that will kill any organism, on marijuana fields to kill them. In order to not lose money on the crop some farmers would quickly harvest the crop anyway and so the users where not smoking just marijuana they were smoking a deadly poison with very unhealthy consequences and unpredictable harmful results. These results are immediately held up to the world as valid data saying "marijuana is dangerous" when they should have been truthful and said "any plant laced with a poison like paraquat is dangerous". Fact: Our government has and still is spraying this deadly chemical in America and all over the world for the purpose of eradicating what they call dangerous plants. Fact: The same chemical was used in Vietnam to kill the forests under a different name more familiar to you "Agent Orange" Fact: Farmers today continue to buy and use the same chemical to control weeds. How do I know? Ask me I will give you more info if asked either publicly or private..
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    Mar 1 2014: Why Corrections Corporation of America investors should fear marijuana's legalization

    It is estimated nearly one-quarter of all prison inmates are non-violent drug offenders. Admittedly, that number includes more than just marijuana offenders; but considering that marijuana is the most-abused illegal drug, one should assume that a large percentage of non-violent offenders are marijuana abusers. If legalized, it is very possible Corrections Corporation's top line could shrink.

    And even if marijuana isn't outright legalized by legislatures, changing attitudes still present a risk to Corrections Corporation of America's top-line figures. At its heart, the legal system is highly dependent upon public perception. Juries, judges, and attorneys are sensitive to the common zeitgeist. Right now, many taxpayers are asking whether it is worth it to pay $31,286 for a minor marijuana-related offense (and this doesn't even include the other costs of the adjudication process). In fact, some are considering this a cruel form of a handout and would rather reverse the flow of funds by decriminalization fines and fees.


    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/03/01/will-marijuanas-decriminalization-ruin-this-compan.aspx
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    Feb 28 2014: The Center for Disease Control sights a statistic which says that there are 112 million instance of driving while over the influence (DWI) each year. We also know the there are reports that there over 11, 000 deaths that are attributed to accidents "where alcohol was involve." 1.5 million people were arrested last year for DWI.

    In contrast, there are this article from The Atlantic that I read a few years ago that prompted me to write an essay. In part it reads..

    "David Goldhill wrote, "My dad became a statistic—merely one of the roughly 100,000 Americans whose deaths are caused or influenced by infections picked up in hospitals. One hundred thousand deaths: more than double the number of people killed in car crashes, five times the number killed in homicides, 20 times the total number of our armed forces killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another victim in a building American tragedy. He wrote this in 2009. Why do we not hear more about this since then?
    In 2008, there were 37,261 traffic accidents with 11,773 fatalities, but organizations like Mother Against Drunk-driving are will throw $26 million annually, to fight for harsher sentencing laws and stricter enforcement. This stricter enforcement resulted in the arrest of almost 1.5 million people in the U.S. in 2008.
    The deaths that occur thorough the spread of infection in hospitals do not result in any arrests but may be just as criminal since they are preventable but there is no enforcement, and no organizations with big budgets to lobby for legislation. In fact, there is just the opposite.
    The question becomes: "Why do we pay hospitals for treating people they make sick? Where is the incentive for them to change practices if we do?"

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/09/how-american-health-care-killed-my-father/7617/


    This is NOT to say that impaired driving, in any form, is to be deemed acceptable behavior.
    What I am arguing here is whether it warrants the "aggressive policing."
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    Feb 28 2014: I accept your biases, and mine as well,

    Thank you again for your contributions here in this conversation.
  • Feb 28 2014: "Some Chiefs Chafing as Justice Department Keeps Closer Eye on Policing"

    Again, I acknowledge that police enforcement is imperfect.

    What is your better suggestion?
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      Mar 5 2014: To answer your question, "non aggressive enforcement, in the absence of a standard. "

      But here is a question that might trump DWI concerns.

      Would you go as far as saying that the federal government such step in and arrest those that violate the federal laws?

      "The subcommittee chairman, Representative John Mica, said the country is “in a state of conflict and chaos right now” over US marijuana policy."
      "Federal law is unambiguous: marijuana is among the most dangerous drugs, it has no medicinal value and it’s illegal in the United States. It’s a stance supported generally by the president’s Office of National Drug Control Policy."
      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/04/us-dea-marijuana-congress-threatens-institutions


      Is this a federal matter or a state matter when it comes to enforcement?
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    Feb 28 2014: Yahoo! Finance - The Daily Ticker 4:00 PM EST, Thursday February 27, 2014

    The CEO of Minyanville appeared on "The Daily Ticker" today and explained why he sees serious momentum building for this theme.

    Call it a drug trade for investors. Todd Harrison, CEO and founder of Internet-based financial media company Minyanville, thinks cannabis "will be the single best investment idea for the next 10 years."

    But while the public has watched recreational marijuana take off in Colorado this year, how can they profit from it as an investment theme?

    Harrison believes it will be driven by the broader legalization of marijuana, inspired by states' need for tax revenue. He points to expectations that legal marijuana use is expected to generate $134 million in tax revenue for the upcoming fiscal year in Colorado, the first state to allow recreational marijuana. That's nothing to sneeze at, and Harrison calls the state the "litmus test" for broader legalization. Harrison also cites the expected decline in crime rates and prison populations as powerful incentives to decriminalize marijuana.

    The New York Times reports that half the states in the US, including some in the conservative South, are currently considering decriminalization of the drug or legalizing it for medical or recreational use. Oregon and Alaska are the likeliest to legalize pot next year. Twenty states permit the use of medical marijuana now, while Colorado and Washington have legalized it for recreational use.

    The legal marijuana market is estimated to grow 64% to $2.34 billion in 2014 from $1.44 billion, according to a recent report by the cannabis investment and research firm Arcview Group.
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    Feb 27 2014: This is a National Geographic video on marijuana use and its effects.

    http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/drugged/videos/this-is-your-brain-on-drugs/
    • Feb 27 2014: In regards to driving, I'm far less concerned with its effects on memory and creativity, and far more concerned with its effects on alertness, focus, hand-eye coordination, balance, etc.
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        Feb 28 2014: Are you as concerned about testing those that are declining in age. What are the arrest statistics for elderly driving?
        • Feb 28 2014: Which state has a law against "driving while old"? We cannot arrest people for it until it is illegal.


          http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1114.pdf

          Under 25 = 13.2% of drivers and 21.2% of accidents.
          25-74 = 80.3% of drivers and 70.9% of accidents.
          Over 74 = 6.5% of drivers and 7.9% of accidents.

          Meanwhile, intoxicated drivers are thought to be under 3% of miles driven, but result in more than 20% of accidents and 30% of fatalities from auto accident.

          Are you actually trying to compare "less than 1.5 times as likely to be in an accident" that comes from being over 75, to the "more than 6 times more likely to be in an accident" that comes from being intoxicated?
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        Feb 28 2014: re: " far more concerned with its effects on alertness, focus, hand-eye coordination, balance, etc"

        Let's stick to one point at a time. You set the standard here to be alertness. focus etc. but cast a blind eye to the diminished capacity of aging.

        The number of older drivers on the road is growing and bound to increase at a more rapid rate, as more baby boomers become seniors.[3] According to an AARP spokeswoman, by 2030 over 78 million boomers will be 65+, and research shows that men will outlive their driving abilities by six years and women by 10.[11]

        The following are considered sign that an elderly person's driving may be impaired:[9]
        Confusion while driving somewhere
        Having two or more minor accidents in a short period of time
        Thinking the speed limit is too high
        Others not feeling comfortable riding in a vehicle with the driver
        Aging individuals should consider the following questions:[10]
        When you are driving, do objects such as parked cars or pedestrians catch you by surprise?
        Do you have difficulty seeing other cars before the driver honks? Do other drivers honk at you for reasons you don't understand?
        Do you have limited neck rotation?
        Are your reflexes slower and reaction time longer than they used to be?
        Do you ever feel momentarily confused, nervous, or uncomfortable while driving?
        Has a family member ever suggested that you stop driving?
        Do you have low-contrast sensitivity? For example, do you have trouble seeing a gray car at dusk, a black car at night, or a white car on a snowy roadway?
        Is your visual acuity on a 20/20 scale below the minimum level required by your state?

        By your standards, a person high on pot only needs to drive as well as a 80 year old. LOL




        Thank you for your comments.
        • Feb 28 2014: " Let's stick to one point at a time. You set the standard here to be alertness. focus etc. but cast a blind eye to the diminished capacity of aging."

          Look at the stats I posted again.

          Over 74 are 6.5% of drivers and 7.9% of accidents.

          Intoxicated are less than 3% of miles driven, but in excess of 20% of accidents and 30% of fatalities.

          "By your standards, a person high on pot only needs to drive as well as a 80 year old. LOL"

          And an 80 year old is able to pass a field sobriety test, or they will not be able to pass the driving test needed to get their license renewed.


          Is an person over 74 more likely to be in an accident than the average person? Yes. about 1.2X as likely. But, under 25 are even higher risk at 1.6X. That is when teens have the highest insurance rates, then the 20-25 year olds, THEN elderly.

          Is an intoxicated person more likely to be in an accident? Yes, about 6,7X as likely, and 10x as likely to be in a fatal accident.

          Are you still trying to compare "less than 1.5 times as likely" to "more than 6 times as likely"?
  • Feb 26 2014: If a dash camera recording of a high person failing roadside sobriety was sufficient to get a conviction, then I would think that sufficient to prove "under the influence".

    Unfortunately, to get unanimous jury decision beyond a reasonable doubt, a jury wants harder evidence that just the dash cam video. I had a friend on a case where the jury would not convict even with blood and breath tests showing alcohol levels 2x legal limit.

    Most likely, without some definitive test, we're going to see an even worse discrimination where a 40 year-old white business man with a good lawyer will bamboozle the jury while the poor black kid is presumed guilty. This happens anyway, but will be exaggerated without a test for definitive proof of intoxication level.
      • Feb 27 2014: If anything, that case highlights the need for a marijuana blood test.

        The story indicates he failed a field sobriety test. He blew 0.0 on the breath test and blood test was negative but!!!!

        "Commander David Mahoney says the officer in Davis’ case believes he could have been on another drug – like marijuana – that wasn’t part of the drug test."


        Do we need a blood test that can detect marijuana? YES!!!!

        Why? Just like this case, the man failed a field sobriety test, but people tend to not trust those field tests. Because we lack a test for marijuana, we can not prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, whether he was or was not under the influence of a drug.

        Back to my point. IF juries would accept that dash camera video of a person flunking the field sobriety test as proof the person is under the influence, then we would not need blood test.

        If people are going to ignore the field test, wanting something more definitive, such as blood test, then we MUST have a blood test that detects presence of active marijuana influence.
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          Feb 27 2014: I do respect your position but strongly disagree. There needs to be evidence to warrant such a search and there is none in the case. If the police search for evidence of marijuana and found a prescription drug, would it be dismissed because they were looking for the wrong substance?

          There needs to be reasonable cause to search not increased policing powers.
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          Feb 28 2014: You are missing the point that the case was dropped. There was no evidence1
      • Feb 27 2014: " There needs to be evidence to warrant such a search and there is none in the case"

        Failing the field sobriety test is the evidence needed to establish probable cause for warrant for blood test.

        " If the police search for evidence of marijuana and found a prescription drug, would it be dismissed because they were looking for the wrong substance?"

        No. The crimes is "driving under the influence" or "driving intoxicated". The crime is not in regards to which substance is influencing/intoxicating you.


        When it comes to driving, I do not want people on drugs (alcohol, marijuana, prescription, etc) driving a car on the same roads as me and my family/friends/fellows.

        DUI/DWI is one of the areas that I fully support aggressive policing.
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          Feb 27 2014: Re: "The crime is not in regards to which substance is influencing/intoxicating you. "
          The report says, "a questionable arrest"

          What evidence in the video allows for more than a driving ticket?

          This is the Vermont statue:
          § 1201. Operating vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or other substance; criminal refusal; enhanced penalty for BAC of 0.16 or more

          (a) A person shall not operate, attempt to operate, or be in actual physical control of any vehicle on a highway:

          (1) when the person's alcohol concentration is 0.08 or more, or 0.02 or more if the person is operating a school bus as defined in subdivision 4(34) of this title; or

          (2) when the person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor; or

          (3) when the person is under the influence of any other drug or under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drug to a degree which renders the person incapable of driving safely; or...

          So, the key word is "incapable."

          But where is the probably cause to ask for a field sobriety test? The admission of one drink. Did the field demonstrate "incapable."
          Was there the smell of alcohol or pot?
          "Larry Davis was more than willing to clear himself of any wrongdoing and voluntarily took both breath and blood tests for the officers. He reportedly blew a blood-alcohol-content of 0.00 and was tested for seven different types of drugs. The tests later came back negative."
          DWI/DWI requires a threshhold test, meaning that state laws permit influenced driving, to a measured point.
          The question before us now is what that point is with marijuana and how we measure that point in the individual.
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          Feb 28 2014: Texas law on DWI states:
          Definition of Intoxication
          Chapter 49.01(2)(a) of the Penal Code defines intoxication as "not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; OR (b) having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more."
      • Feb 28 2014: "But where is the probably cause to ask for a field sobriety test?"

        Don't need probable cause, just reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion is sufficient to detain long enough to investigate.

        So, you run a stop sign. This is probable cause to issue you a ticket for running a stop sign. So, the officer detains you to issue the ticket. During that stop, the officer sees something that gives him a reasonable suspicion that you are intoxicated. Could be lack of alertness, slurring words, inability to focus, inability to follow directions, unwillingness to cooperate, smells, nervousness, etc.

        With that reasonable suspicion, the officer can extend the detainment for a reasonable time to conduct an investigation. That investigation may include the field sobriety test.

        Now, you do not have to go along with the investigation, in which case, the state doesn't have to let you have a driver's license. Even without your cooperation, the officer may still discover probable cause.




        Why do you want it to be easy to risk your life and the lives of others by making it difficult to bust people for driving under the influence??

        Here is an idea. When it comes to driving under the influence, NEVER DO IT. EVER, EVER, EVER!!!
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          Feb 28 2014: This is why more blacks get stopped by police. .
          I respectfully submit that this is the wrong perspective to have since it places too much power in the hands of the cops.

          Answer this question please: What crime was Larry Davis guilty of that he had to spend two days in jail, other than being poor and black?



          .
      • Feb 28 2014: "Texas law on DWI states:
        Definition of Intoxication
        Chapter 49.01(2)(a) of the Penal Code defines intoxication as 'not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; OR (b) having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.' "

        Right. So being high on marijuana IS intoxicated!
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          Feb 28 2014: But you have again avoided responding to what the measured point is for marijuana intoxication
          With alcohol, it is .08.
          You seem to suggest that use alone is the standard for impairment, which provides no measure for being "high."
      • Feb 28 2014: "But you have again avoided responding to what the measured point is for marijuana intoxication"

        First we need the ability to reliably test.

        Once the test in in place, then we can get people high, see how they are effected, and then set a limit at which point impairment occurs.

        We cannot set a hard limit until we can test, and we can not test until we have a way of testing!

        Until them, we are forced to use the "under the influence" rather than the less subjective "xx level" clause of the laws.
      • Feb 28 2014: "This is why more blacks get stopped by police. .
        I respectfully submit that this is the wrong perspective to have since it places too much power in the hands of the cops."

        I think someone needs the power to investigate people driving while intoxicated. If not cops, then whom?

        Seeing a problem is only half the fix. You need to have a better option.

        If your "better option" is that we have less enforcement of DUI/DWI, then I say that is the EXACT OPPOSITE of a better option.

        "What crime was Larry Davis guilty of that he had to spend two days in jail, other than being poor and black?"

        Guilty is the ruling of a judge or jury (depending on the law).

        You can be held in jail without being found guilty. You can be detained for a limited time during investigation. If charges are filed, you can be held until you can post bail needed to ensure you will return for trial.



        You seem to totally ignore that he failed a field sobriety test for intoxication, and that not all intoxicating substances can be tested for.

        Your OP was "Do we need the test?" I say yes, because people would not accept the visual evidence obtained from a sobriety test and would want something more objective.

        You then go on to provide the PERFECT example of my point. A guy that YOU ASSUME was not intoxicated, despite the fact that he failed the field sobriety test, simply because the drug tests CANNOT test for the existence of one of the most commonly used intoxicating substances.

        How do you find it SOOO easy to dismiss the possibility he was high on pot?
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          Feb 28 2014: Re: Guilty is the ruling of a judge or jury (depending on the law).

          This is an delusional.

          "...we have the right to a defense, as long as you have the money for a lawyer and your not a person of color.
          "William Stuntz was the popular and well-respected Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law at Harvard University. He finished his manuscript of The Collapse of American Criminal Justice shortly before his untimely death earlier this year. The book is eminently readable and merits careful attention because it accurately describes the twin problems that pervade American criminal justice today—its overall severity and its disparate treatment of African-Americans."
          http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/nov/10/our-broken-system-criminal-justice/?pagination=false"

          America’s justice system suffers from a mismatch of individual rights and criminal justice machinery, between legal ideals and political institutions. When politicians both define crimes and prosecute criminal cases, one might reasonably fear that those two sets of elected officials—state legislators and local district attorneys—will work together to achieve their common political goals. Legislators will define crimes too broadly and sentences too severely in order to make it easy for prosecutors to extract guilty pleas, which in turn permits prosecutors to punish criminal defendants on the cheap, and thereby spares legislators the need to spend more tax dollars on criminal law enforcement."
          William Sturz
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          Feb 28 2014: The New York Times

          July 27, 2013
          Some Chiefs Chafing as Justice Department Keeps Closer Eye on Policing

          There are at least two sides to ever story, and this NY Times article attempts to report them all.

          “The state of American policing is not where it should be,” Mr. Bratton said, who as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department from 2002 to 2009. But, he continued, “there is a tension, and it is felt by police chiefs, between the constitutional policing that we’re obligated to provide to operate within the law and the obligation to provide public safety in terms of controlling crime and disorder.”

          The Times story also takes police department nationwide to task for what the the Justice Department calls a pattern of the use of excessive force—and civil rights violations.

          ( that is worth repeating..."CIVIL RIGHT VIOLATIONS..")

          "Civil rights violations by police departments have been subject to investigation by the federal government since 1994, when Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. But federal intervention has become far more common and much broader in scope under the Obama administration, a development proudly highlighted on the Justice Department’s Web site."

          “In the year 2013, no police department should be in a position where it can be sued by the Justice Department. The past records indicate what problems they need to be aware of and what to do about such problems if they have them.” said Dr. Walker, of the University of Nebraska, so many federal investigations have now been conducted that no American police department really has an excuse for engaging in practices that violate civil rights.
      • Feb 28 2014: "Re: Guilty is the ruling of a judge or jury (depending on the law).

        This is an delusional."

        I am not saying that a judge or jury always gets it correct as to whether you actually did the crime or not.

        I am saying that in the eyes of the law, whether you actually committed the crime is unknowable. Guilty does not mean you did the crime. It means you were ruled to be guilty by a judge or jury.

        Some people think of guilt and innocence as opposites. In the law, they are NOT opposites. Innocent people are found guilty at a surprisingly high rate.

        Innocent: didn't do it.
        Guilty: a judge or court convicted you.


        But, this is secondary to the point. You said what crime was he guilty of that justified being held in jail for two days.

        A conviction (guilty ruling by a judge/jury) is not necessary to hold someone in jail. You can be held in jail for a reasonable time pending investigation and after being accused, until you can post sufficient funds to ensure you show up for trial (or pay a bounty hunter to find you and bring you to the authorities for trial).
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          Feb 28 2014: Larry Davis spent two days in jail for NO reason, other than aggressive policing.
      • Feb 28 2014: "You are missing the point that the case was dropped. There was no evidence"

        There is some evidence. The failed field sobriety test. That is probably enough evidence to convince a majority of people that he was probably intoxicated. But, that is not the standard for conviction.

        There is insufficient evidence to likely get a conviction... because that requires unanimous belief, beyond a reasonable doubt... which for that, juries want objective test results rather than subjective observation.

        Which brings us right back to my initial post again. We need the test for marijuana, because juries won't convict on the results of a subjective field sobriety test alone.



        Basically, without a test for current marijuana intoxication level, it is impossible to get a conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana... because there is no objective evidence as to the intoxication.

        So, WE NEED A TEST, so that there will be objective evidence, so that it is possible to convict people of driving under the influence of marijuana.
      • Feb 28 2014: "Larry Davis spent two days in jail for NO reason, other than aggressive policing. "

        1) No reason OTHER THAN failing a field sobriety test.

        And, if I were to play by your rules, then the ONLY reason he was not found guilty is because we lack a test for marijuana intoxication. You can assume, based on lack of objective test, that he is innocent, then I can assume that based on subjective evidence that he is not innocent.

        2) When it comes to intoxicated driving, I'm a huge fan of aggressive policing.

        Which begs the question, why are you not a fan of aggressive enforcement of DUI/DWI?
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    Feb 25 2014: Use of any psychoactive (mind-altering) drug makes it highly unsafe to drive a car and is illegal—just like driving after drinking alcohol. Drugged driving puts at risk not only the driver but also passengers and others who share the road.

    I have heard all of the pro and con arguments ... I have made a choice to rely on studies ... investigative results .. and personal observations.

    Labels should be applied to all sales of MEDICAL cannabinoids in the same manner that labels are on drugs that say DO NOT DRIVE OR OPERATE ANY HEAVY EQUIPMENT etc ... There should also be a warning that when used with alcohol it compounds the bad effects. Medical users should receive counseling and sign a paper that says they were so advised and the signature of the counselor also. Even better the perscribing doctor shoulod do this when giving the perscription and it becomes a legal document to be used in court.

    I hope I never have to respond to your accident or death .... or the death you may have caused because you are smarter than all of the rest of the world.

    In answer to your question .... YES it is a problem and denial will not solve it.
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      Feb 25 2014: Thank you for joining the conversation and for sharing your perspective.
      The question here is more specific than simply saying don't do it. I believe we need to understand, in scientific terms, what it is we should not be doing. For example, we understand the dissipation rate of alcohol in the blood stream, we know that it requires the body a certain amount of time to process alcohol. Knowing this we can then say, a person that has consumed x number of drinks should not drive for y amount of hours. Many prescription medication will be label, "Don't operate heavy machinery for 24 hours," while we also know that certain medication only last a matter of hours.

      What 'warning' would we place on marijuana?
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        Feb 25 2014: I am certainly not a expert in this area. Here is what I have been taught.

        1) MJ stays in the system and can be detected for 72 hours.

        2) When taken in combination with alcohol compounds both effects.

        3) It is mind altering and effects everyone differently.

        My opinion to your question what warning should we place on MJ

        I think the doctor should counsel the user upon issuing the perscription and that both should sign and it becomes a legal document kept in the medical files.

        Venders of the drug should be required to place the "approperiate" warning labels on the package. What is approperiate should be dsetermined by medical and legal minds by accepted standards that comply with existing state and federal laws laws. These should be standardized as there are states that will accept and those who would not.

        Violations of the existing laws should have a consequence. revolking the perscription and substance abuse counseling on first offense and jail time for any thereafter. Reinstatement could be considered.

        A windshild sticker with registeration # should be issued so that officers at the scene would immediately know the driver is registered to use the drug and the file would give the Doctors name, users name, expiration date, and the location of the dispensery used. The sticker would also give the right to require urine or blood samples in the investigation of a incident. No options.

        The user should have some obligation to the general publics rights to ensure that proper use and control elements are in place to provide for their safety.

        This off the top of my head ... Again only my opinions.

        This brings other issues ... what about doctors who issue questionable perscriptions. His right to write MJ perscriptions should be revolked and he should be reviewed by the medical board for further discipline.

        There are studies and formulas for almost all drugs for length of time in system.

        Be well. Bob.
        • Feb 26 2014: I'm sorry Robert but your suggestions are way out of line. Please replace 'marijuana' in any of your sentences with 'pain pills', 'alcohol' or 'screaming child in car' and you will see that you are unfairly singling out mj. Of particular worry is your windshield sticker idea - reading that all I could think about was the patches the Jews were required to wear to identify themselves.

          By all means conduct proper studies, educate users that DUI laws do in fact apply to mj and use a proper test of impairment. You will find that although there is a level of impairment, it is much less than many, many other existing evils. In some cases the availability of mj will actually increase public safety, as it will be chosen over a more dangerous alternative. But please stop with the Reefer Madness propaganda!