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How to report on drugged driving

These articles are from last week, but I didn’t get a chance to comment on them then.

In recent years there has been an explosion in reporting on “drugged driving.” (I have my own news filter on that term.) Most of this reporting has been over-the-top exploitative fear-mongering; most of it has been really aimed at marijuana (instead of all drugged driving as it purports); and all of it has been driven by an obsession of the ONDCP to find a back-door way to demonize and extra-criminalize marijuana.

I have consistently pushed back against this effort because I think it is dangerous in a number of ways (even managed to force the drug czar to shut up about it once), and sometimes I have been counseled by other drug policy reformers to be careful about it because the public isn’t going to respond well to the notion that driving while stoned is safe.

But of course, driving isn’t safe. But it’s relatively safe. Your odds of getting in an accident are fairly low, particularly if you’re smart about it. So when you see reporting of an unconfirmed study that says marijuana intoxication doubles your changes of an accident, that’s still pretty low — especially when being intoxicated on alcohol increases your changes of an accident by 15 or 20 times.

Again, this doesn’t mean you should drive when impaired on anything, but it means that getting all panicky about marijuana-impaired drivers causing Armageddon on the highways, and focusing law enforcement efforts on criminalizing anyone with any amount of metabolites in their blood, is really bad public policy.

So it’s nice to see some slightly more fact-based reporting starting to surface, particularly in the New York Times: Driving Under the Influence, of Marijuana by Maggie Koerth-Baker:

“And there’s always somebody who says, ‘I drive better while high.’ ”

Evidence suggests that is not the case. But it also suggests that we may not have as much to fear from stoned driving as from drunken driving. Some researchers say that limited resources are better applied to continuing to reduce drunken driving. Stoned driving, they say, is simply less dangerous. [...]

The study’s lead author, Eduardo Romano, a senior research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, said that once he adjusted for demographics and the presence of alcohol, marijuana did not statistically increase the risk of a crash.

“Despite our results, I still think that marijuana contributes to crash risk,” he said, “only that its contribution is not as important as it was expected.”

The difference in risk between marijuana and alcohol can probably be explained by two things, Dr. Huestis and Dr. Romano both say. First, stoned drivers drive differently from drunken ones, and they have different deficits. Drunken drivers tend to drive faster than normal and to overestimate their skills, studies have shown; the opposite is true for stoned drivers.

Thanks to the New York Times. Also doing good reporting on this on a regular basis is Jacob Sullum.

Here, on the other hand, is NBC with fact-free fear mongering: Pot Fuels Surge in Drugged Driving Deaths

“Nobody will take this seriously until somebody loses another loved one.”

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69 comments to How to report on drugged driving

  • Howard

    “…and focusing law enforcement efforts on criminalizing anyone with any amount of metabolites in their blood, is really bad public policy.” (Pete)

    ————————

    Word.

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  • claygooding

    In a sane world every driver in Dallas would be required to smoke a joint of 7>10% Sativa 20>30 minutes before driving in rush hour traffic,,am and pm,,road rage gone,,more careful driving by everyone on the road instead of just the stoners.

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    • War Vet

      Rush Hour Traffic in Dallas (and Houston) . . . from an outsider’s perspective who lives in small town America and only infrequently visits urban areas with the population of half a million: I don’t believe Dallas has rush hour traffic. It’s more like 24hr Rush Hour traffic . . . according to us small town boys just North of you. Your freeways make NASCAR blush. I’d take L.A. rush hour anytime . . . safer when its bumper to bumper slow/standstill, then bumper to bumper 65-80mph. Many an Oklahoma boy or gal after driving through Dallas or Houston discovered God and went into the ministry because of the intensity of Texas driving, making them rethink their life and the after life.

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  • darkcycle

    Parental incarceration tied to mental illness in children: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23509174 (Thanks, Clint Werner)

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  • SDOC/DAMM

    Stoned Drivers Of Canada, in collaboration with Drivers Against MADD Mothers, Support proposition V8, a demand for Rollback in the price of Goodyear Eagle tires. Honk if You’re Ornary. Baby Steps toward Mental Wellness.

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  • Servetus

    Traffic deaths are often high speed events. Congested urban or residential traffic moving at 15-mph won’t kill too many people, unless they die of boredom. Fatality prone speeds and inattentive driving are more the hallmarks of the drunken driver, not the pot smoker.

    The disabled driver issue will fade as future vehicles are equipped with safety features that include collision avoidance systems, better crash protection, cars that drive themselves, and so forth. Science and technology will achieve what thousands of police officers hunting down marijuana smokers will never accomplish: a safe driver/occupant. There’s no need to ramp up the police state. Traffic cops as we know them may even become extinct. And there will be one less reason to invest in the drug war.

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    • claygooding

      we already have the technology to take speeding out of the equation,,but doing so takes so many “super stud cars” off the market by using sensors in the highway to regulate speeds.

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      • Jean Valjean

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      • Jean Valjean

        It’s been happening in Britain (Airstrip One) for at least ten years. There is now a huge network of camera-speed traps with plate recognition and they can even automatically print and mail the ticket. They also regulate junctions and check for vehicle taxes, ordering up a clamp if the latter is overdue.
        All of this of course leaves the police to concentrate on their real job: earning massive over-time pursuing the drug war.

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        • claygooding

          Jean,,the sensor system wouldn’t be more enforcement,,it would restrict your car engine from exceeding the speed limit no matter if you liked driving both feet flat on the floor or not.
          Loss of revenue would have counties and states screaming

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      • Servetus

        We can have Autobahn-style lanes as part of our highway system, simply because we as an American people freed of the drug war will want it, and deserve it. There will be no giving up the songs sung by a revving Ferrari engine. No downward spiral to mediocrity. No crushing oppression from the State Grid. Not if we can help it.

        Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you.” – Abbie Hoffman.

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      • Windy

        Yep, hubby’s Z06 would be one of those. Funny, when I drive it I tend to do about 2 mph below the speed limit, when driving my Prius I do about 3-4 mph over the speed limit, wonder why that is?

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        • Servetus

          Try a 1949 Ford with a standard flathead V-8. You can go any speed you want in that car and no cop will ever believe it.

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    • Howard

      At my most cynical, I wouldn’t be surprised if certain groups came out in opposition to vehicles that could safely deliver drivers home who have indulged in their vice of choice. Especially the moralizers. Possibly the police. And prison guard unions. If they can’t be snagged dangerously driving home, how can the vice imbibers be pulled over and sent to jail (and have assets seized in the process)? The moralizers don’t want anyone ingesting substances they don’t approve of (even if done safely and out of sight). The rehab addicts will continue to want folks forced to choose between jail and rehab (with twin bobble-heads Kevin and Stupid Patrick nodding “yes” maniacally).

      But what knocks my cynicism to the ground is that any technology that makes driving safer will win out in the end. Let the prohibition goon squads shake their skinny fists to heaven (with a nod to Godspeed You! Black Emporer).

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  • Howard

    .

    .
    The NBC article follows a very predictable pattern;

    1). Start out with a scary headline: “Pot Fuels Surge in Drugged Driving Deaths”.

    2). Tell a tragic story of a mother losing a child in an accident (I’m not being flippant here, it is tragic).

    3). Mention that the driver of the car causing the accident “admitted he smoked pot that day”. [Note: But DO NOT include whether or not the driver was impaired at the time of the accident, or the original premise would be ruined.]

    4). Make a strange reference that is incomplete: “Cannabinol, a remnant of marijuana, was found in 12.2 percent of those deceased drivers during 2010, (up from 4.2 percent in 1999)”. [Note: There are cannibinols (plural) in the cannabis plant. Which one(s) are you being scary about? Never mind, you don't even directly link "cannibinol" as causing drivers to be deceased. Okay.]

    5). Have a doctor mention the incomplete reference above, ‘“The increased availability of marijuana and increased acceptance of marijuana use” are fueling the higher rate of cannabinol found in dead drivers, Dr. Guohua Li told NBC News.’ [Note: again, no direct correlation made to the "higher rate of "cannbinol" found in dead drivers" as being the reason they are dead.]

    6). Somewhere in your article — more than half way down is best — mention something like this for “balance”: “But marijuana can be detected in the blood for one week after consumption, perhaps leading chronic consumers to be wrongly arrested, critics of the law assert”.

    7). And this: “A separate study — also based on FARS data — found that in states where medical marijuana was approved, traffic fatalities decrease by as much as 11 percent during the first year after legalization.”

    8). But don’t forget to yank your journalistic steering wheel back to fear: “Overall, though, drugged driving is closing the gap with drunk driving.” [Note: Of course, provide no proof that remnant "cannibinol" (which one again?) is causing drugged driving -- or accidents -- or deaths.]

    9). Don’t forget to add another arcane reference near the end: “Among dead male drivers, 4.0 tested positive for narcotics in 2010, up from 2.2 percent in 1999. Among female drivers killed, 7.6 percent tested positive for narcotics, up from 4.3 percent.” [Note: So now it's "narcotics"?. I thought it was "cannibnol" that's killing all these people? Whatever.].

    Excellent work. The Hair On Fire People will point to your thoroughly referenced, fact checked article as a reason to have their hair permanently on fire.

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    • Jean Valjean

      And don’t forget the scary picture of a car wreck to go with the scary headline. For most of the target “readership,” that’s as far as they’ll get.

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      • Howard

        That’s right. Even a stock photo of a badly wrecked car that bears no resemblance to the real demon vehicle will work.

        Cobble enough disparate attributes together and now even journalists can create their own “parallel construction”.

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  • SDOC/DAMM

    Manual, Chapter 4:20; If accused of Vices and/or Deficits and dragged from the vehicle, a Brick placed on the accelerator pedal may provide a bit of respite from the greyscale boredom as well as injecting elements of confusion radially possibly enabling a Getaway.

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  • SDOC/DAMM

    Manual, Chapter 5:14; If the potential for Asset Forfieture arises, One Gallon of Contact Adhesive dumped throughout Interior of Vehicle will slash its value by Sixty Six Percent. Striking a Match can achieve full worthlessness, bringing huge bang for the Buck.

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  • B. Snow

    “If the current trends continue,” a small-ish (single digit percentage) of Drivers will be *remotely inebriated* while driving, & much smaller percentage of those people will be “impaired” to the point of being dangerous and/or detectable.

    Which creates an extremely unlikely chance that I will be involved in an accident with any of those folks. I would bet my life that the chance is quite small & my excursions on the roads/highways will be – “relatively safe”.
    Just as I do now, and just as I always have = whenever I drive, and just as I will do until the cars drive themselves – if I live that long.

    I’m MUCH more worried about the dozen+ kinds of “distracted drivers”, and especially ‘sleepy-drivers’, and slightly less concerned (but still concerned) about *terminally bored* aka ‘highway hypnosis’-ized drivers!

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  • Crut

    .
    .
    OT: Let the Elderly have their weed!
      I wonder if there is any empirical evidence that California seniors are coming around to replacing some of their Rx’s with cannabis. By now, almost 20 years later, surely there has to be at least a discernible difference between MM and “normal” states pill usage? Anybody seen something along those lines? A quick google for this didn’t turn up anything for what I’m looking for…

    Click bait: Pill mixup led to Kennedy ‘drugged driving’ trial: defense
    Another Kennedy had problems with pills? What is with that family?

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    • B. Snow

      OT/Click-bait Response:
      Wanna get sick? No, I mean really physically ill??

      Like, black-tar inspired projectile vomiting (but slightly less fun)?
      Remember – Pat’s appearance on Bill Maher’s show a little while back (and a few other times iirc) where he *roughly* says, ‘We’ll – you should have Nora Volkow on and she can explain the science to you…’

      I saw the Kerry Kennedy story and trying to figure out their relation I was looking through *Pati-Kake’s* wiki-page and -(for a split second)- I nearly blew chunks like way-way ‘back in the day’…
      He has 2 kids and you know JUST how far up Voklow’s ass he really is??
      Are you really, really sure???

      He named his daughter after her.
      ‘Nora Kara Kennedy’ (born November 19, 2013)
      Here’s a bucket = if ya’ need it… I don’t want it back – leave it for the next person.

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      • darkcycle

        Seriously? Can you source that? Nora? After Volkow????? WTF??
        Gimme that bucket, quick…

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        • B. Snow

          Sorry, I can’t find a source where he directly attributes the name to Volkow – but it was just a few months ago. And it was just a few days after the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death…

          I would’ve answered sooner but my Internet went out at about 2 am that night while i was replying for “maintenance” till 8am the next morning! (I called the company that’s what the tech said & it does happen every 2-3 months just Ironic that it was that night at 2am & that it took so long normally its 2 or 3 hrs tops) Anywho…
          Then I kinda spaced it till tonight, I though someone else might have found it already.

          Hmmm, where did I put that file, aha – here:
          Patrick J. Kennedy – Private_life_and_family

          I don’t have a “proof” like a direct quote from him saying that Nora Voklow is ‘the Nora’ they named her after. But, it’s not a Kennedy family name that I can find.
          And, there’s only a few other “Nora Kennedy”s that I could find via googling & none are related (Not from what I can find.)
          One died just recently in Toronto, another is in the UK, and another in South Africa, and the last semi-plausible one is listed on LinkedIn as “Greater New York City Area – ‎Sherman Fairchild Conservator of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art” – And I’m reasonably sure that one ain’t part of “The Kennedy Dynasty” either.

          There are plenty of birth announcements on the web and there’s no mention of naming the girl after someone else in the “Kennedy Family” — they’ve used most of them 2-or-3 times, and a few have been used even more with Sr./Jr./III.

          This is a plausible semi-reference: “As we celebrate the birth of our daughter alongside our wonderful families, we honor the memories of those never far from our thoughts and turn a bittersweet time a whole lot sweeter,” Patrick Kennedy told the assembled media.”

          Maybe he’s banging her on-the-side, or she might be his “sponsor”, or a character witness that kept him from going to prison, or just a good “friend of the family”?

          Did you know she’s the great-granddaughter of Leon Trotsky? And was born in Mexico City, helps explain the accent…

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    • DdC

      I’ll add it to the thread next time I update…

      Older/Senior Americans Overwhelmingly Support Legalizing Pot
      Teaching Seniors the Benefits of Ganja
      Seniors Using Ganja For A Good Night’s Sleep
      Kansas Silver-Haired Legislature endorses medical marijuana

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  • claygooding

    THUD

    http://www.cato.org/blog/marijuanas-moment

    Former drug czar McCaffery admits marijuana legalization is inevitable

    The highlight is a quote from former drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey: “The momentum to treat marijuana as a legal drug is irreversible.” Wow. The last time I was on a panel with him was about two years ago and it was quite evident then that the tide was turning, but I expected him to keep fighting. According to the Post story, the former drug czar no longer accepts invitations to appear on television. That will save me some time fact-checking him.

    Here’s another excerpt from the Post story:

    America has been at the edge of marijuana legalization several times during the past half-century, but never as close to mass acceptance of the drug as the nation is today.

    Since the 1960s, the United States has traveled on a herky-jerky trip from hippies and head shops to grass-roots backlash by suburban parents, from enthusiastic funding of the war on drugs to a gathering consensus that the war had little effect on marijuana use. Now, for the first time, marijuana legalization is winning majority support in public opinion polls and a drug used by about 6 percent of Americans — and one-third of the nation’s high school seniors — is starting to shake off its counterculture reputation. It is winning acceptance even from some police, prosecutors and politicians.

    But is this time really different? Why is the current campaign for legalization resonating when previous ones did not? Today’s leap toward legality is entwined with the financial desperation of cash-strapped states, an Internet-driven revolution in how Americans learn about marijuana and its medicinal uses, and a rising libertarian sensibility in which many liberals and conservatives alike have grown skeptical of government’s role in telling citizens how to medicate themselves.

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  • Sheriff Mini Pony

    Hey! Halt! Stop! You! Pull Over!
    vroooom
    Shoot! No! Hubb! Gubb! NnYou,, Grr!
    sigh
    clipklop clipklop

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  • if…

    cannabis, alcohol and tobacco were automobiles…

    alcohol would be the Camaro…

    tobacco would be the Corvair…

    cannabis would be public transit.

    Public transportation is now illegal – even tho’ public safety increases as public transportation use increases.

    Well-liked Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

    • hmmm… the only thumbs down on this post so far. Must be a Corvair fan out there.

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      • darkcycle

        Corvairs got a bad rap. You just had to buy the safety equipment (up-rated anti-sway bars and brakes) on the aftermarket. Properly prepared, a corvair will give a Porsche of the same vintage a clear view of it’s taillights.

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      • Pinto Driver

        Sigh, I’m lonely. Why does everyone stay 500 feet away? Awww, Man, Jeeeez.

        Well-liked Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        You’re dating yourself allan. The youngsters might find your Corvair reference more amusing if they knew that Ralph Nader made his bones in his campaign to get GM to either discontinue its manufacture or to do the re-engineering required to make it safe declaring that the Corvair was “unsafe at any speed” and published a book with that same title. Gosh, that was 1965 and I think the only reason I was able to get the reference was because Mad Magazine published a spoof making fun of Mr. Nader.

        Tip of the pin allan, that very well be the best metaphor describing smoking tobacco that I’ve ever heard. It’s too bad that it’s so darn arcane.

        Isn’t dating yourself called Onanism?

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        • I only dated myself once. I was a cheap date and never did it again. Didn’t even get a kiss at the door… :(

          And I thought Onan made generators and welders? You’re not making some ancient literary connection here are you? hmmm…?

          I thought the Corvair worked best for smoking because, well, the Corvair was a smokey old thing. If memory serves (I had a friend that owned one when I was a teen) bad engine seals made them leak oil and they smoked like… well.. a cigarette. And because that oil/smoke residue sometimes got on brake pads it also had trouble stopping…

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        • darkcycle

          All easy fixes. The oil mist came from the heaters, the heater core’s air intake was located where it could pick up the oil mist and stray exhaust fumes from the air cooled (and poorly sealed) engine. The solution we found was to never use the heater. That was kinda rough in Illinois in the wintertime. But we were teenagers. And Clay, the Turbo was the hot item….they were fast.

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        • Rick Steeb

          Corvairs became a really good deal after Nader’s book scared people away. The late [1965-69] models had great handling. I owned a number of them over the years… the ’66 Corsa with the added sway bar and headers was a real joy to drive!

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        • darkcycle, my friend w/ the Corvair was in Peoria. I was there, prolly ’65 or ’66, he was a year or two older… I was in my surfer boy stage at the time. Peoria was in loafers and no socks stage.

          Just found a picture of me from ’62 on my home made hi-tech 2×4 skateboard…

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  • primus

    So looking forward to the “I told you so” moments. When the stats for highway fatalities go down following relegalisation, when spousal abuse rates drop, when there is less workplace absenteeism due to hangovers etc. etc. etc. I will take great joy in saying “I told you so.”

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  • primus

    OT: Hope the Mexican government hangs onto El Chapo and gets all sorts of information from him regarding ‘arrangements’ between the Sinaloa cartel and the Mexican & US governments of the day. Surely the Mexicans can make good use of such info in their own negotiations with the USans.

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  • darkcycle

    Help me out here…no time for a detailed response, although I’ll try. This is Bunkem of the highest order from an apparatchik from the Clinton Administration: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/carrie-wofford/2014/02/21/progressives-should-just-say-no-to-legalizing-drugs

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    • darkcycle

      AMAZING! I actually got this in before the young one woke up from nappy-time!
      You lead off with a giant straw man. “Legalizing drugs, therefore, seems a sensible way to decriminalize the activities of low-income young African-American men who might feel that the drug economy is the only economy available.” That’s bunk of the worst order. It’s about REMOVING the criminal element from the trade in drugs and replacing it with a legal, strictly regulated market. It’s about the INCARCERATION rates for African American men, who do the majority of time in prison for crimes committed more often by Whites. It’s about the irreversible TOLL a drug arrest and conviction has on a person’s life. Even if you do NO time, you are barred from public housing, denied student loans and grants, and are cut off from entire career paths. You can legally be denied employment.
      And and “drugs” of all kinds kill (except MARIJUANA, which in all of recorded history as never killed anyone), witness 60,000 deaths from the (once) FDA approved VIOXX. The question that occurs then, is why add the addition deaths caused by it’s PROHIBITION? http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/drug-war-victim/ Every dead person in that list was innocent of a drug crime, yet they were casualties of the war on drugs. And Seymore Phillip Hoffman would likely be alive today IF he had had access to safe, dosage controlled Heroin and a safe injection site, or, failing that, had had a friend handy with Naloxone on hand. That’s not legalization…that’s just harm reduction. Nobody I know is or has called for full legalization of heroin. Keep in mind that the FDA itself has declared Crystal Meth to be “Safe and effective” for children as young as six: http://www.rxlist.com/desoxyn-drug.htm
      Marijuana does not kill brain cells, in fact the opposite is true, in full keeping with “Francis’ Rule” The law that states “anything claimed to be true about marijuana by a prohibitionist is not only wrong, the truth will turn out to be the polar opposite of that claim.” Observe Francis’ Law in action: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/25509 and here as well, http://ecommons.library.cornell.edu/handle/1813/23105
      So, you’re not just wrong, you’re dissembling. The reasons for legalizing cannabis, and harm reduction approaches to the other drugs on the naughty list have nothing to do with the damage drugs do or do not cause. It’s about the damage their prohibition causes. These reasons are humanitarian, and they should be embraced by all progressives.

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    • DdC

      Progressives Should Just Say No to Carrie WoffordLegalizing Drugs
      Carrie Wofford is a Democratic strategist who served as a senior counsel in the Senate and a policy aide in the Clinton White House and in the Labor Department under Robert Reich. A veteran of many presidential and Senate campaigns, she also worked as a lawyer at WilmerHale and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Follow her on Twitter at @Carrie_Wofford.

      Why Do Democrats Defend Nixon’s Drug War?

      If You Think Marijuana Isn’t an Important Issue

      Democrats can’t afford to put it on the back burner any longer

      The Obama Admin’s Anti-Marijuana Manifesto
      Multiple DEA Raids Target Marijuana in Hawaii
      Obama: Drug Legalization is “An Entirely Legitimate Topic for Debate”
      Hil and Gil on the Drug War
      Obombo’s Sublingual Attack on Ganja
      One Drug Arrest Every 19 Seconds Oh Gilligan!
      President Obama takes a dump on California
      Obama Doesn’t Need Congress
      Drug Czar linked to deception
      IRS Targets Medical Marijuana Businesses
      Obama spent nearly $300 million busting Ganja ℞ ops.
      The Human and Fiscal Cost of the Ganjawar

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  • Jean Valjean

    So, to help these poor families get a Crack at the American Dream we have to keep drugs illegal. What’s more likely to guarantee a lifetime of marginalization (and no Dream at all)… drug use, or an arrest record?
    Then she really reveals her ignorance (or duplicity) with this statement:
    ” the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act ended the racially unfair sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.”
    Just like that! Now sentencing for crack v. powder cocaine is only 18 times as unfair whereas back before the present “progressive” administration it was 100 times as unfair. Now that’s progress for you! Right wing Democrats like Wofford and the Clintons are even worse for democracy than their counterparts in the GOP. They are poseurs of progressivism. Don’t be fooled.

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  • Krymsun

    Why does most everyone automatically jump to the automatic, knee-jerk, and FALSE assumption that cannabis impairs drivers much the same as does alcohol? Why let uninformed opinions be the basis of new laws? It took me very little time to do a search, and find actual scientific studies which indicate just how incorrect such an assumption is. Examples follow.

    Studies Show Marijuana Consumption Not Associated With Dangerous Driving, May Lead to Safer Drivers
    Anyone who consumes cannabis on a regular basis knows that it doesn’t make you a dangerous driver. Many people find that it makes them a safer, more focused driver; one that’s more aware of their surroundings and the dangers associated with controlling tons of gasoline-filled metal. Not only has this been an anecdotal truth for as long as cars and cannabis have been paired, science has also been clear that consuming marijuana doesn’t make you a dangerous driver, and may make some people safer drivers. More research is needed, but it’s hard to deny that of the research we have, marijuana hasn’t been found to increase a person’s risk of an accident. To back this claim up, here’s a list of studies and research conducted on this very topic, some of which were funded by national governments in hopes of different results.
    http://thejointblog.com/studies-shows-marijuana-consumption-not-associated-with-dangerous-driving-may-lead-to-safer-drivers/

    Marijuana and Driving: A Review of the Scientific Evidence
    “Marijuana has a measurable yet relatively mild effect on psychomotor skills, yet it does not appear to play a significant role in vehicle crashes, particularly when compared to alcohol. Below is a summary of some of the existing data.”
    http://norml.org/library/item/marijuana-and-driving-a-review-of-the-scientific-evidence

    The incidence and role of drugs in fatally injured drivers
    “There was no indication that cannabis by itself was a cause of fatal crashes.”
    REFERENCE: Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
    Report No. DOT HS 808 065, K. Terhune. 1992.
    http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/26000/26600/26685/DOT_HS_808_065.pdf

    Marijuana and actual driving performance
    “Drivers under the influence of marijuana retain insight in their performance and will compensate when they can, for example, by slowing down or increasing effort. As a consequence, THC’s adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small.”
    REFERENCE: U.S. Department of Transportation study, 1993
    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Misc/driving/s1p2.htm

    Marijuana’s effects on actual driving performance
    “Evidence from the present and previous studies strongly suggests that alcohol encourages risky driving whereas THC encourages greater caution”
    REFERENCE: University of Adelaide study, 1995
    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Misc/driving/s1p2.htm

    Role of cannabis in motor vehicle crashes
    “There is no evidence that consumption of cannabis alone increases the risk of culpability for traffic crash fatalities or injuries for which hospitalization occurs, and may reduce those risks.. The more cautious behavior of subjects who have received marijuana decreases the impact of the drug on performance, whereas the opposite holds true for alcohol.”
    REFERENCE: Marijuana: On-Road and Driving-Simulator Studies; Epidemiologic Reviews 21: 222-232, A. Smiley. 1999.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10682259

    “Both simulation and road trials generally find that driving behaviour shortly after consumption of larger doses of cannabis results in (i) a more cautious driving style; (ii) increased variability in lane position (and headway); and (iii) longer decision times. Whereas these results indicate a ‘change’ from normal conditions, they do not necessarily reflect ‘impairment’ in terms of performance effectiveness since few studies report increased accident risk.”
    REFERENCE: UK Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (Road Safety Division). 2000.
    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
    /http:/www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/research/rsrr/theme3/cannabisanddrivingareviewoft4764?page=12

    Cannabis And Cannabinoids – Pharmacology, Toxicology And Therapy
    “At the present time, the evidence to suggest an involvement of cannabis in road crashes is scientifically unproven”.
    REFERENCE: G. Chesher and M. Longo. 2002.
    https://www.dmt-nexus.me/Files/Books/General/Cannabis%20And%20Cannabinoids%20-%20Pharmacology,Toxicology%20And%20Therapy.pdf

    Cannabis: Our position for a Canadian Public Policy
    “Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving. Cannabis leads to a more cautious style of driving. However it has a negative impact on decision time and trajectory. This in itself does not mean that drivers under the influence of cannabis represent a traffic safety risk”
    REFERENCE: Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs. 2002.
    http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/sen/committee/371/ille/rep/summary-e.htm

    “The evidence to suggest an involvement of cannabis in road crashes is scientifically unproven.”
    REFERENCE: Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential, 2002
    Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential, edited by Franjo Grotenhermen, MD and Ethan Russo, MD (Haworth Press 2002).
    https://www.dmt-nexus.me/Files/Books/General/Cannabis%20And%20Cannabinoids%20-%20Pharmacology,Toxicology%20And%20Therapy.pdf

    The Prevalence of Drug Use in Drivers, and Characteristics of the Drug-Positive Group
    “There was a clear relationship between alcohol and culpability. In contrast, there was no significant increase in culpability for cannabinoids alone.”
    REFERENCE: Accident Analysis and Prevention 32(5): 613-622. Longo, MC; Hunter, CE; Lokan, RJ; White, JM; and White, MA. (2000a).
    http://www.grotenhermen.com/driving/longo1.pdf

    The Effect Of Cannabis Compared With Alcohol On Driving
    “Although cognitive studies suggest that cannabis use may lead to unsafe driving, experimental studies have suggested that it can have the opposite effect.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2009
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722956/

    The Effect Of Cannabis Compared With Alcohol On Driving
    “Although cognitive studies suggest that cannabis use may lead to unsafe driving, experimental studies have suggested that it can have the opposite effect.”
    REFERENCE: U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2009
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722956/

    Why Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Traffic Deaths
    “No differences were found during the baseline driving segment (and the) collision avoidance scenarios,”
    REFERENCE: Research published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 2010
    http://healthland.time.com/2011/12/02/why-medical-marijuana-laws-reduce-traffic-deaths/

    Top 10 Reasons Marijuana Users Are Safer Drivers
    “20 years of study has concluded that marijuana smokers may actually have fewer accidents than other drivers.”
    http://www.4autoinsurancequote.com/uncategorized/reasons-why-marijuana-users-are-safe-drivers/

    Risk of severe driver injury by driving with psychoactive substances
    “The study found that those with a blood alcohol level of 0.12% were over 30 times more likely to get into a serious accident than someone who’s consumed any amount of cannabis. .. The least risky drug seemed to be cannabis and benzodiazepines and Z-drugs.”
    REFERENCE: Accident Analysis & Prevention; Volume 59, October 2013, Pages 346–356
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457513002315

    Cannabis: Summary Report
    “Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving.”
    REFERENCE: Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs
    https://www.dmt-nexus.me/Files/Books/General/Cannabis And Cannabinoids – Pharmacology,Toxicology And Therapy.pdf

    Acute cannabis consumption and motor vehicle collision risk
    “There is no evidence that consumption of cannabis alone increases the risk of culpability for traffic crash fatalities or injuries for which hospitalization occurs, and may reduce those risks.”
    REFERENCE: British Medical Journal, 1999; M. Bates and T. Blakely

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    • darkcycle

      Nice! Very nice! You’ve got the idea! Now, go and post, my son…post far and wide. And please, return to us with the news of your posting.
      Another good disciple, spreading truth and oh, so cute with his own little hammer…
      Thud, little guy! ;)

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    • War Vet

      Is it the marijuana or the drivers themselves? America’s driving laws and driver ed requirements are a joke. I drove for just over 10yrs before learning how to prepare for driving in Baghdad and Highway Combat operations and after that training: it was like I never ever drove before . . . like the previous ten years of having a car and license meant nothing for my experiences. When you realize that a soda can, 5 yards away on a side road can kill 5 people . . . or that vehicles going the speed limit don’t need to crash into other vehicles in order to slaughter 15plus humans . . . or that a double fisted size rock in a low ditch 6yards away on the opposite side can kill 8 people etc. I think we should turn this discussion from not whether or not marijuana makes one a better or worse driver, but what is America doing to prepare her drives in our modern world of traffic, cell phones/texting, playing with the radio, turning one’s head to talk, looking at other accidents or billboards etc. I bet a stoner who is a bad driver will drive like a bad driver (though a bit safer possibly), just like a bad driver who isn’t high will still drive like a bad driver. Hell, if they allowed us to drive in designated spots, while drunk or high, I bet the countermeasures will show up once sober as well. Driving with actual beer goggles on makes one a better driver when not wearing them.

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  • of course, one could just look at the actual data to readily see that there is *no* discernible relationship between drug use and car crashes:

    http://www.briancbennett.com/antidotes/crashes-vs-drug-use.htm

    carry on

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    • ‘sup bb? good to see your fact-flinging visage oot and aboot.

      Just rec’d some seeds, 15 year OR homebred. Oh boy… :) y’all drop by come mid-Oct or so.

      My roomie and muse Miss Appleseed just registered her domain and will have her own website up soon…

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      • hi allan — i wish i had more time, but i can only do a drive-by every now and then. hell, i don’t even have time to work on my site.

        lots of thumbs up to you for your most recent published work — you rock brother!

        i think i just may be able to make that visit!

        shoot me an email when the site goes live — i might miss it when you post it here

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      • oops, didn’t mean to slight anyone: all of you couch rats are kicking some butt out there — keep it up!

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        • primus

          Thanks, Brian. This is great; I get to vent my snark, get a bit creative in my attack verbiage, come up with the odd new idea or approach, help educate the newbies, maybe make a few converts, and help a good cause all at the same time. Plus, it’s FUN tearing them a new orifice.

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  • DdC

    Ill add it to the thread…

    Cannabis use and Driving

    Well ya its easy to win a debate against drug worriers if you get all sciencey and use references and stuff… The prohibitors have to lie, and have nothing to back it up. That doesn’t come easy to every Johnny come lately city slicker Nark wannabe. It takes raw blind faith and gullibility beyond the normal religionist. They still get government grants. Where is Snorequest? You can’t expect Benslinger and Calvina to survive on drug war paraphernalia sales if the people find out the truth about Ganja. It’s the only substance that stays long enough to bust people. Booze and the white powders are gone in a couple days. They must spread the gossip thicker now that the truth is seeping out faster than they can plug the leaks.

    MSM still doing their job for the most part. Big headlines with little fact or big eyes in shock when a drug worrier plops out a hobgoblin. The disease exerpts rely on donations from the drug worrier corporations. The economy and unemployment keeps people in line, To go along with the Ganjawar profiteers. Rather than risk contempt by speaking out. Policy writers are hired by their levels of prohibidiot views, Not MPP or NORML Journalists are mostly Museum pieces. Talking heads are worthless and News bloggers and audience participation probably get the best results. But never trickle down to the MSM much either. I guess Sanja Gupta had a conscious crisis.

    Leaving the government itself to remain as backward and ignorant as possible. Check the list of those freaking out when Obama said it was safer than booze. All vested interest in maintaining the drug war, which is mostly the Ganjawar. Which a huge hunk is the Hemp war. Removing competition by legislation. The Constitution was suspended 42 years ago to temporarily deal with the drug problem. Until further tests it was placed as a schedule#1 narcotic. No future tests were conducted by the government until 1999. The results say what the previous results say. It is not qualified to be a schedule#1 narcotic, highly addictive, without medicinal value and a menace to society. It has been sitting with the HHS since 1999.

    Although several patents are out on individual cannabinoids. There is a sublingual spray sold in Canada. Obama admitted it was safer than booze. Yet the locals need to sell rehabilitation and urine tests and ankle bracelets. Private prison industry getting max cap contracts are looking for low income cage sitters. More tax back from a $30k/yr sentence than Jobettes paying minimum wage. Spreading fear is what they do. Still no victims with names and blood and flesh. Numbers are big, like most of the cannabis eradications are non psychoactive ditchweed.

    Medicinal research was stopped after it was discovered to shrink brain tumors in 1974. Medicinal records as well as regular use by children as a cough expectorant and for seizures and spasticity. The properties of cannabis are not beyond our technology to identify. The research back to the 1800′s is available and clearly states cannabis poses no threat. The safest substance in the entire pharmacopeia including aspirin. Comparing it to booze inebriation is as false as classifying it as a controlled substance, period. Drivers waste money relieving stress and relaxing while driving. But it does not inebriate anyone into reckless driving. If a test is required to acknowledge inebriation, due to a reason for probable cause of reckless driving. Then field test are conducted. Most profiteers simply target vehicles and drivers and then take their urine. No probable cause required.

    Across the board this is a crooked racketeers scam. Using American citizens as a product without regards to the trauma and misery caused by prohibition. Urination analysis is only one billion dollar racket. Inaccurate at best without the drug worriers justifying any means to their zero tolerance end. Including Drug mishandling may have tainted 40,000 cases. Rehabilitation asylums forced by please bargains. Chosen 95% of the time due to mandatory minimum sentencing and gag rules prohibiting the use of the term medicinal as a defense in a jury of your peers trial. So the jury not informed usually hears drug trafficking, Included in the plea bargain is forced rehab to cure you of your remedy for pain or spasms or appetite loss. Yes it is insane, but the crazies are slick in cashing in. D.E.A.th Merchants and their gossip monger Drug Worriers are fake Americans serving multinational profits. Treason by most definitions. Legislating for profits is as close to corporate state or government industry as it gets. But It Can’t Happen Here.

    Jury Nullification

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  • OT… from RussB:

    US Congressman Earl Blumenauer (Dem, OR) speaks to the Oregon Cannabis Industry Association “Medical Marijuana Business 101″ Seminar in Portland.

    http://youtu.be/TavVtO8xjWo0

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  • Crut

    Thanks Arkansas for reminding me that no matter how far we’ve come, there’s still a long way to go…
    Link
    Seriously? A protest? With talking points ready to go? This stinks like the other bowl I filled up this morning.

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    • DdC

      Who was the original bonehead deciding sheriffs would be the best advisers on drugs? Especially cannabis that every excerpt say we need more research, than the 20,000 docs. we have. Yet these cops know more and even protest anyone else knowing more. These chicken little profiteers on misery they cause should be charged with treason. Tax paid liars we don’t need.

      Protest overshadows Drug War discussion

      “We have a United Nations-sanctioned professional here that’s got over 30 years in the trenches doing this, and we’ve got people outside going ‘if you go inside you’re for drugs’, that’s not the point, it’s education,” added Reed. “This is not a pro-drug rally, this is not s pro-pot rally, it’s not a pro-meth rally, it’s not putting heroin vending machines on the corners. It’s to educate the citizens of Arkansas on the cost of the War on Drugs.”

      Lucas Emberton, who filed his paperwork earlier in the day to run for Van Buren County Sheriff in the coming election.

      Utah bill allowing #Hemp use for kids clears hurdle
      sfgate Ganja News ‏@GanjahNews

      Drugs policy: Is there a logic?
      TransformDrugPolicy ‏@TransformDrugs 2 Dec 2013
      Govt logic Vs Citizen logic?

      Kevin Sabet: My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.

      Patrick Kennedy: God darnit, Mr. Sabet, you use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar whore.

      ted nugent did not bear arms for his country-had 3 deferments during viet nam:
      Roseanne

      Cannabis treats #CrohnsDisease, new study confirms
      @SFGate.com

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    • Crut

      Kev-Kev and Dr. Voth still spouting the “Marijuana isn’t medicine” spiel in Florida…

      http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/medical-marijuana-takes-center-stage-at-ut-debate/2167206

      Considering the editing of that piece, it seems to me there’s an obvious bias from the author… And someone get that Morgan guy some tolerance. Really? he “recoiled” to Allen St. Pierre’s introduction?

      I’d like to see the video of this…

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    • Windy

      Apparently I’m the only one (so far) who commented on that:

      This is one candidate for Sheriff for whom no one should vote, since he obviously does not honor the Constitution now he will not honor his oath to it if elected, either.

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  • DdC

    Benton Mackenzie is 47 and is suffering from terminal angiosarcoma cancer. Mackenzie uses medical marijuana…
    Popeye ‏@DTRH_Popeye Nov 12

    Click here to support Benton Mackenzie’s Angiosarcoma Cancer Fight and Legal Fund … He’s being kept alive by cannabis
    Concerned Georgian ‏@SaferSweets Dec 16

    Benton Mackenzie, arrested last summer for marijuana used as cancer treatment asks, “What if I die before the trial?”

    Scott County, Iowa, stop killing this man!
    Drop the charges against Benton Mackenzie NOW!

    My husband, Benton Mackenzie is live on Carl’s Cannabis Corner
    Loretta Mackenzie ‏@boardsportenthu Nov 10

    Q.What do you call the county prosecutor that ignores the illegal actions of the deputies in his district? A. Complicit in a crime!
    Loretta Mackenzie ‏@boardsportenthu Feb 23

    What’s more, County Prosecutor doesn’t understand that tresspassing to get a search warrant IS a legal reason to dump the case!?!

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  • DdC

    Offer Hope for Landon
    Please support CANCER CUTIES
    #teamLandon & #DahliaStrong…
    fighting #cancer with #cannabis!

    Rep. Allen Peake putting childrens health first -GA HB 885 medical marijuana bill @mdjonline @ajc @AllenPeake #tcot
    Deciding the Vote ‏@decidingthevote Feb 13

    Acetaminophen in pregnancy linked to ADHD risk, study finds.

    Prohibition is a crime against humanity.
    Sacramento medical marijuana dispensary battling IRS
    via @washingtonpost Arlin Troutt ‏@USHEMP

    Here’s what you need to know about Saturday’s arrest of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán:
    Ismael Estrada ‏@IshEstradaCNN

    How was “El Chapo” able to elude capture for so long?
    We went to his home town to find out.jpg
    #AC360 8p @GaryTuchmanCNN

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  • cj

    Those people at NBC I hope you’re karma gets savagely abused. My question is how many more loved ones do we need to lose til someone takes this prohibition seriously INDEED!

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  • Servetus

    Top Secret Documents Release: JTRIG government counterintelligence (British GCHQ) agencies have their own trolls to disrupt blogs. Presumably they got the idea from their U.S. counterparts, like the DEA. Trolls are described aptly:

    Researchers on online behavior have shown that internet trolls (people who use insincere techniques to disrupt conversations) really are psychopaths, marked by narcissism, sadism, Machiavellianism.

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    • War Vet

      “psychopaths, marked by narcissism, sadism, Machiavellianism”. If you don’t check mark any of these on your Job App, you’ll never get a chance to serve your Country in the DEA.

      I don’t know, maybe its from the sound of mortars or rockets that went off not far from me–or having members of Al Qaeda threaten me from behind the jail fence, but I’m more afraid of bunnies than the DEA. I have a new and honorable job for the DEA: Dandelion Enforcement Agency–a real job . . . a job that will help keep my lawn looking good and preserve precious minerals and water for my trees, tulips, shrubs, and grass, instead of those pesky weeds.

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