Tag Archives: DUI

Police from a dozen agencies will use handheld devices to test drivers’ saliva for use of several drugs under a pilot program in five Michigan counties.

Roadside drug tests to check for marijuana, cocaine, opiates and more

A Michigan State Police Trooper makes a traffic stop. Police in Michigan will begin testing drivers' saliva for the presence of drugs during a pilot program in five counties that begins Nov. 8.

By Brad Devereaux

[email protected]

Police from a dozen agencies will use handheld devices to test drivers’ saliva for use of several drugs under a pilot program in five Michigan counties.

The Michigan State Police announced Thursday, Nov. 2, it will carry out a one-year roadside drug testing pilot program in Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties. It will begin Wednesday, Nov. 8.

The Alere DDS2 oral fluid test instrument will be used to measure for the presence of drugs in drivers’ saliva, Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said. The device will record results based on threshold limits set by the manufacturer and test for six substances: amphetamine, benzodiazepines, marijuana/cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine and opiates.

Banner said it should be noted that threshold levels for saliva are different than that of blood.

Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), officers with advanced training in the assessment of alcohol and drug impairment, will carry the devices, MSP said. DREs only will administer an oral fluid test under the pilot program, Banner said.

The drug test will take place roadside, like alcohol preliminary breath test (PBT).

Refusing the oral fluid swab test, a preliminary test, will result in a civil infraction, just like an alcohol PBT, Banner said.

Kent, Washtenaw among 5 counties selected for roadside drug testing

Kent, Washtenaw among 5 counties selected for roadside drug testing

The pilot program will begin next week on Nov. 8, MSP said.

DREs will continue to take blood draws as part of standard procedure in addition to saliva tests, Banner said.

“Drug Recognition Experts will continue to follow the same policies and procedures for investigating a person they believe to be operating a vehicle while impaired on a controlled substance. The only difference in the pilot counties will be if the DRE determines a motorist is impaired on drugs, they will ask the person to submit to an oral fluid test,” Banner said.

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Nevada’s new DUI marijuana testing is improvement but still poses concerns

USMJP4 2100x700

 

Ray Hagar, [email protected]

The state of Nevada is poised to mandate the use blood tests and eliminate urine tests in DUI convictions for marijuana.

Although Washoe County already uses blood tests for pot, the state Senate this week gave the final vote of approval for the testing change for the entire state. Now, this measure only needs the final ‘John Hancock’ from Gov. Brian Sandoval to become law.

The final Senate vote floor vote comes less than two months before the July 1 starting date for sales of legal marijuana for “recreation” across Nevada for everyone 21 and over.

The blood-test/pot bill’s sponsor, Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, sold the bill to fellow lawmakers as a “common sense” approach to DUI testing for pot. Current urine testing for pot is not reliable because it does not test for the psychoactive element that gets you high — THC, he said.

“A urine test will tell you if someone has ingested marijuana in the past,” Yeager said on Nevada Newsmakers. “But it does not tell you if the person is actually impaired at the time the testing is done.”

Blood tests can reveal THC in the blood, Yeager said. He called it “a step in the right direction.”

Yet this is not a perfect science. Determining marijuana impairment is more complicated than determining alcohol impairment, according to a study by the AAA, the nation’s largest auto club.

Yeager’s bill may be an improvement over the old method but it is still not a great way to test for marijuana intoxication, according to the AAA.

That study states it is not possible to set a blood-test threshold for THC impairment because there is no science that shows at what level drivers become high after ingesting THC, according to a CBS News story about the AAA report.

Some drivers with high levels of THC in their blood may not be impaired, especially if they are heavy pot users, the study stated. Others, who may not use marijuana often, could have relatively low levels of THC in their blood and be impaired for driving, according to the study.

In Nevada, however, almost any amount of THC in the blood will get you into trouble. The legal limit is 2 nanograms of active THC in the blood, which Yeager said is a very low limit.

“I’ll just say, our levels and laws are very, very low. So it is virtually impossible to test positive on a blood test and not be over the allowed limits under the (Nevada) statute,” Yeager said.

Nevada is about to embark on society-changing era where marijuana is legal. The AAA study, however is concerning. It suggests consuming this herb can make you a victim of a legal system that has no universally-accepted and accurate way of testing for DUI marijuana.

Perhaps Yeager’s bill will give Nevada a law based on the best technology available. It appears better than the current system.

Yet science marches on.

Yeager believes that the question of testing for marijuana DUI may need adjustments in the near future. It is a subject that the Legislature may need to revisit when better technology and testing methods become available, since this legal recreational pot business is projected to be popular and profitable in Nevada.

“I think everyone is open-mined about it,” Yeager said about marijuana DUI testing. “It (possible new state law) is a small step forward. But I think it is significant in that it gets us moving in the right direction. Hopefully, we’ll have some studies in the near future so we can continue to tweak these laws.”

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HB161 Florida house of representatives attempt to set the stage for the governance of dui while using marijuana

September 20, 2015

Sheree Krider

On Monday, September 14, FLORIDA State Representative David Kerner, a Democrat, Filed HB161 which attempts to set a standard for measuring (via blood test) Marijuana intoxication. 

It sets the "limit" of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood.

Anyone with a blood test showing THC level that is above 5 nanograms "commits the offense of driving under the influence".

This was done in response to the death of a 16 year old girl,  Naomi Pomerance, who was killed while riding on the back of a scooter and being hit by a car whose driver had been smoking marijuana in March of this year.  According to the reports, Tyler Cohen, was high on marijuana, and ran a red light. 

While that may or may not be true,  it currently remains impossible to determine "intoxication" levels due to consumption of Marijuana.  With the blood tests that are available, it can only be determined that a person may have consumed at any time in the weeks prior to the incident – not that they were incapacitated from Marijuana at the time of  the accident.

In a Todd County Kentucky case this year, a man was charged with Second Degree Manslaughter and 23 counts of First Degree Wanton Endangerment when his truck hit a school bus during a storm and hydroplaned off of the road causing the death of one man and hurting three others seriously, including himself. 

The only drug of abuse which showed up in his blood test was Marijuana at the time of the accident.  Additionally there was no other evidence to confirm his use of Marijuana that day.  After acquiring an "expert witness" to review the blood test being offered as evidence in the case against him, the witness, a Professor of Clinical Pharmacology,  concluded that it did not indicate intoxication at the time of the accident.  Therefore, the Court was not able to use this "blood test"as evidence against him in this case.

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It would seem to me that any Representative or Senator who would file such a "BILL" should be intelligent enough to have the "science" of the issue verified before submitting another piece of legislation to be signed into law In order to allow prosecutions.

It remains to be seen if this Bill will die in the House.  If by some chance it would be signed into law, I believe we will see many Court battles fighting the legality of the law. 

You cannot make something "truthful" just by saying it is or even writing that it is.  The science behind the fact must be proven before it can set a valid and legal precedence.  In this case, I have not seen any "proof" that a blood test can accurately predict intoxication by Marijuana.  Therefore, if they use this law to prosecute people who have more than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood for DUI they are effectively prosecuting anyone who has smoked Marijuana at any time in the prior weeks leading up to the incident. 

This could turn out to be the way that they will continue to fill the prison industrial complex, yet again, with people who do not deserve to be there. 

The drug war will never end.  It will just change its’ angles of prosecution.

(If we can’t get to them one way, we will get to them another)

 

Assessing Marijuana Intoxication

by Matthew C. Lee, MD, RPh, MS

Marijuana is composed of a number of different cannabinoids, some are psychoactive, while some are not. When marijuana is absorbed through inhalation of smoke, or ingested when mixed with food, a psychoactive component, Δ-9 THC is taken up by the fat cells and stored. Where over time it is slowly released back into the bloodstream and subsequently excreted in the urine. This is why marijuana can be detected days to weeks after consumption. Additionally this is also the reason withdrawal from marijuana is so rare. The slow release of the Δ-9 THC stored in the fat cells leads to a prolonged taper of excretion from the body.

 

FLORIDA HOUSE BILL 161,

INTRODUCED BY DAVID KERN

…providing that a person with a specified amount of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per 5 milliliter of blood commits the offense of driving under the influence or boating under the influence,

Subsection (1) of section 316.193, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

…The person has a blood level of 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of blood, as shown by analysis of the person’s blood…

…This act may be cited as the "Naomi Pomerance Victim Safety Act."

This act shall take effect October 1, 2016

http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/2015/09/20/florida-bill-would-set-marijuana-standard-fatal-crashes/72514946/

http://www.constitutionalcannabis.com/toxicology–ui.html

http://archive.wtsp.com/assetpool/documents/150920080505_hb161.pdf

http://expertpages.com/news/Assessing_Marijuana_Intoxication.htm

The Science of Toxicology and U.I. or "Under the Influence and/or Intoxication?" of Cannabis/Marijuana and D.O.A. Drug Testing

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The Official Court Documents that I present to you below here, {THIS ONE TIME, FOR FREE = this offer will not last and is for a limited amount of time = THIS SET OF DOCUMENTS WILL GO MISSING AND A FEE WILL BE CHARGED LATER FOR THIS INFORMATION} The following Documents were presented, accepted and registered by the Criminal or Courts as “Evidence” as they were listed by the Kentucky Courts in a case I recently Advocated in on behalf of James E. Coleman.
Are in fact, the PROOF, that Cannabis/Marijuana/Hemp or Unspecified levels of Cannabinoids are natural within the human body and that their presence or levels or “analytical threshold” combined with the fact that this test measures “no quantification of a specific compound” in the blood, are proof, there has been no measure of  intoxication, performed by this test where cannabiniods are concerned and that this test can not show toxicity.
According to this Expert Witness.
Therefore they are unable to test levels for intoxication as they claim is claimed by the manufacture of the test and/or Law Enforcement in U.I. charges or related cases. These documented facts apply to the Test it’s self given and the Cannabinoid levels… Therefore apply to all these D.O.A. = “Drug of Abuse” Blood Serum U.I. Test used by Law Enforcement and Not the Individual. As these facts apply to all humans and all these Test.

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The life and tragic death of cannabis advocate Jenny Kush

Thursday, September 19, 2013 | 2 years ago

The life and tragic death of cannabis advocate Jenny Kush

Labor Day weekend is regarded as one of the biggest drunk-driving holidays on the calendar, right up there with Memorial Day, New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving. Statistics support it: According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, 1,342 people were arrested over a nineteen-day stretch between August 16 and September 3 of this year for suspected driving under the influence.

One of them was Rebecca Maez.

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The Real Facts About Marijuana DUI Laws

Submitted by NORML on Mar 21, 2012

By "Radical" Russ Belville

I was recently interviewed by Keegan Hamilton of the Seattle Weekly regarding my research posted here on per se DUID statutes and the effects they had on DUID arrest statistics, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (see: Thirteen states have marijuana per se DUID statutes).  Keegan’s piece was fair and entitled “Marijuana DUI Law Impact Remains Unclear Despite Analysis of Arrest Statistics”, which is true.  His lede paragraph:

After Nevada enacted a strict “per se” law restricting the amount of THC motorists are allowed to have in their blood, drugged driving arrests increased a whopping 76 percent statewide. But when a similar policy took effect in Ohio, arrests there decreased by a modest 4.8 percent. Such is the conflicting data recently presented by NORML, which further muddies the debate about Washington’s proposal to legalize marijuana and start treating stoned drivers like drunks.

Keegan goes on to fairly report:

Taken with a sizable grain of salt, it makes interesting to look at how changes in arrest patterns were markedly different across the country. In addition the 76 percent spike in Nevada, Indiana drugged driving arrests shot up 33 percent after adopting a per se THC blood limit, while Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Iowa all saw modest single digit increases. Five states had single digit decreases in drugged driving arrests.

But for some people, all they had to see was that first sentence with “drugged driving arrests increased a whopping 76 percent statewide” to fire up the laptop for another round of Frighten The Patients!!! into voting against legalization of marijuana.  This from a blog post entitled “Marijuana DUIs Went Up 76% In Nevada With Per Se Limit

Numbers Put The Lie To Claims Washington’s I-502 Won’t Harm Patients

Well, if the message you’re sending them is “open season on medical marijuana patients,” then congratulations; mission accomplished!

After Nevada enacted a strict “per se” law restricting the amount of THC motorists are allowed to have in their blood, “drugged driving” arrests increased 76 percent statewide, reports Keegan Hamilton at Seattle Weekly.

What do you bet that a big portion of that 76 percent increase in cannabis DUIs came at the expense of medical marijuana patients — many of whom must medicate at a level such that they will show up over the limit any time they are tested?

As Keegan’s piece (if you bothered to read past the first sentence) pointed out, there is no way of knowing, since these law enforcement agencies haven’t been keeping separate track of marijuana DUIDs vs. other drug DUIDs vs. alcohol DUIDs.  Now here’s some differences between Nevada and Washington, the details the author of this piece is not telling you, facts one can easily glean from reading the entire piece Keegan wrote on Seattle Weekly, or by merely paying close attention to the graphic included on this post. I know facts get in the way of sensationalism and page hits, but let’s indulge:

— Nevada can bust you per se for 2ng/mL of THC in blood, a lower threshold than I-502′s 5ng/mL
— Nevada can bust you per se for 10ng/mL of THC in urine, a standard that I-502 does not include and Washington law currently does not have
— Nevada can bust you per se for 15ng/mL of THC metabolites in urine, a standard that I-502 does not include and Washington law currently does not have
— Nevada can set up a roadside sobriety checkpoint and sniff around every driver who passes through, which is unconstitutional in Washington.

Also, if the author would care to follow up on the DUID stats in Nevada (which, again, are not the stats of only-marijuana DUIDs; they include alcohol DUIDs as well), he’d find that since medical marijuana passed there in 2000:

2001 = 8,824 Nevada DUIDs
2002 = 5,186 Nevada DUIDs*
2003 = Incomplete Data*
2004 = 9,133 Nevada DUIDs
2005 = 9,746 Nevada DUIDs
2006 = 11,060 Nevada DUIDs
2007 = 12,538 Nevada DUIDs
2008 = 14,445 Nevada DUIDs
2009 = 15,234 Nevada DUIDs
2010 = 13,412 Nevada DUIDs

*Hmm, what’s going on there with 2002 & 2003?  Well, a little digging into the data (something I’m paid to do) and you find that unlike the rest of the years on this list, in 2002, the year before the per se DUID went into place, only 3 law enforcement agencies reported their arrest data to the FBI.  In the other years, there were 31 to 34 of Nevada’s law enforcement agencies reporting.  In 2003, the year the 2ng/mL per se DUID went into effect, Nevada’s data was so incomplete the FBI didn’t even bother reporting it in the Uniform Crime Report.

So, if we’re willing to concede a pattern of an upward trend in DUID arrests 2001-2009, then it’s safe to say 2002′s complete data would be at least 8,824, if not more DUID arrests.  So the actual increase 2002-2004 is more likely around +3.5% or lower, not +76%.  Also, interesting, is it not, that in 2010, DUID arrests dropped almost 12%!  This as applications to Nevada’s program were quadrupling and when new applications out-numbered renewals 2.3-to-1.

Now, I knew all this as I wrote my original piece, but I decided to publish it as-is lest anyone accuse me of ignoring facts that might color the outcome.  Here they are, the facts, number of DUIDs reported to the FBI the year before and the year after a per se DUID went into effect.  Like any researcher, you start with a hypothesis (“Passing a per se DUID will make DUIDs go way up”) and you collect data to support or disprove the hypothesis.  I contend, and Keegen pointed out, that this data is illustrative, but ultimately useless, since there are so many variables at play.  Most notably, none of these states have legalized marijuana.

But since we’re illustrating and bringing up “Nevada is a medical marijuana state…”, let’s take a look at the other significant medical marijuana state in the debate, Michigan.  Now, it’s true, Michigan’s per se passed in 2003 before its medical marijuana law did in 2008, but it isn’t like many of those medical marijuana patients in Michigan weren’t already toking before the law hit the books.  After their per se DUID law passed, DUID’s dropped almost 9% from 50,022 to 45,568.  What about after medical marijuana?

2008 = 35,534 Michigan DUIDs
2009 = 38,941 Michigan DUIDs
2010 = 34,882 Michigan DUIDs

So… there were 23% fewer DUID arrests in 2010 in Michigan than the year after per se DUID hit the books, even after registering 131,483 patients, even as the cops there can bust them per se for ANY ng/mL of THC in blood or urine.  Also of note – for those 2008 & 2009 numbers, cops could also bust tokers for any metabolite in urine as well, until in 2010 their Supreme Court ruled metabolites aren’t drugs.

Finally, the caption on my picture used without my permission that reads “NORML’s “Radical” Russ Belville thinks a “huge rash of DUIs” which might follow passage of I-502′s per se THC blood limits might really be a good thing” is disingenuous and unbecoming of an alleged professional journalist.  There is nothing good about anyone getting a DUI they don’t deserve; my quote clearly states that if such a thing happened, there would be public outrage.  Also, the concluding “Washington patients, how do you feel about becoming part a “huge rash of DUIs?” Radical Russ seems to think you should take one for the cause”, is insulting, especially considering I smoke more pot more often than most Washington patients, though I’m once again not surprised to find the author forgetting about the 90% of Washington’s pot smokers who currently don’t have protection from prosecution for possession of a pound and a half and fifteen mature plants.

I’m also embarrassed about the “Tool of the Town” quip I made once, off-handedly, on my show – that was uncalled for.  It also was so uncreative in comparison to the ad hominem attacks fostered by the author upon many of my readers who had visited his blog to offer comments.  From here on out, I strive to be civil and attack ideas only.  Foremost on my list: the idea that one should pass up the first opportunity one’s state has had in 40+ years of Drug War to finally begin dismantling prohibition because one fears they may smoke pot, drive, get pulled over, demonstrate impairment, fail a sobriety test, get taken for a blood draw, and have it come up >5ng/mL and be convicted of a DUID, which they’d be convicted of now if they went to court with >5ng/mL, unless they had $10-$15,000 to hire a really creative lawyer.

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