Ooh, he had THC in his system… That means…

… essentially nothing.

Tweet of the day from Glenn Greenwald.

An extra cup of coffee is more likely to make someone unduly aggressive than trace amounts of THC

Maia Szalavitz in Time points out the absurdity of breathless media reports that Trayvon Martin had THC in his system:

Traces of Marijuana Found in Trayvon Martin’s Body: Does It Matter?

I’m not interested in getting into any debate over Martin/Zimmerman (that’s for the courts), but the miniscule presence of THC makes no more difference in this case than the presence of undigested Twinkie.

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43 Responses to Ooh, he had THC in his system… That means…

  1. darkcycle says:

    The real interesting part is that they tested the VICTIM for drugs, and not the PERPETRATOR. But, the killer had drugs in his system too, he has admitted it! He was taking PRESCRIBED PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATION.
    From the very beginning the onus has been on Treyvon Martin to somehow posthumously prove he was not a dirtbag, rather than on Zimmerman to prove the shooting was justified. Anybody else see something significantly awry here?

    • Duncan20903 says:

      It’s a pretty standard test for an autopsy, no?

      Larry Kobilinsky, professor of forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said that after reviewing the evidence, he thinks Zimmerman is in a good position.
      The autopsy says medical examiners found THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, when they tested Martin’s blood and urine.

      Kobilinsky said the amount was so low that it may have been ingested days earlier and played no role in Martin’s behavior. He doubts the judge will even let it be used by the defense if they try to introduce it at trial.

      • darkcycle says:

        When drugs are suspected as a contributory cause in things like assaults, accidents and traffic stops, isn’t it customary to test the suspected perp? Or is the victim tested and the perp walks free until the victim proves he didn’t deserve to be victimized?

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Well I don’t know. I don’t recall that being mentioned on CSI:Wherever, but they do run a toxicology screen on the cadaver in every episode. My point was that they didn’t run the toxicology screen on Mr. Martin for any reason other than SOP.

          I do seem to recall a lot of criticism in the MSM of how the local yokels ran this investigation, including the fact that Mr. Zimmerman wasn’t given a whiz quiz. Regardless, I just can’t bring myself to cheer in favor of urine testing, even as an investigative tool. He either committed homicide or he didn’t, and that question should be decided predicated on his actions, not the color of his pee-pee.

        • darkcycle says:

          …my point was, that if you are going to test only one party to a two party crime, why do you test the victim?

    • Freeman says:

      That’s law enforcement for you.

      Wednesday my car, parked legally on the 25 mph street in front of my house, was demolished in a hit-and-run. The police (who wouldn’t even respond when my wife called 911 until the perp was arrested for DUI in a neighboring city and those cops reported the same hit-and-run to my city’s dept) demanded to see my proof of insurance. Yet nobody even asked the perp to provide proof of insurance, and none of the cops for either city can tell me if the vehicle that struck mine was insured. Way to protect and serve, fellas!

  2. BaggedAndBoiled says:

    Could it be Nora Volkow? “Sorry, I don’t agree with you, and I sure know better than you about it.” – Nora1


  3. Dante says:

    Watch as the Drug Warriors spin it:

    See? He had THC in his system and now he is dead.

    THC kills!! Save the Children!!!!

  4. claygooding says:

    I wish someone would dig up Abe Lincoln,George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and check them for thc.

  5. damaged justice says:

    “…but the miniscule presence of THC makes no more difference in this case than the presence of undigested Twinkie.”

    I disagree. Knowing that he was high, Trayvon Martin knew that his freedom and very likely his life would be forfeit if he were caught with unapproved substances coursing through his bloodstream. That would certainly add an edge of desperation.

    • darkcycle says:

      dj, the report mentioned trace amounts and said unequivocally that they likely were ingested days before and could have had no effect on Martin’s behavior at the time of the shooting.

  6. Outlier says:


    I’m really surprised you or any of the other drug policy bloggers/organizations haven’t trumpeted this poll yet. It’d be nice to see the crosstabs for a better breakdown of what the numbers were on each question but the topline number is extremely promising. Rasmussen while not having the best track record of pollsters is still a respected outlet.

    • darkcycle says:

      I think we have a trend. I am wondering, has any other issues ever so quickly had such a drastic shift in public opinion?

      • fixitman says:

        marriage equality

      • Peter says:

        if orourke beats reyes in the texas primary the writing will really be on the wall for dinosaur politicians. then watch them finally struggling to get in line with public opinion. we live in interesting times

    • Francis says:

      A new national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that 56% favor legalizing and regulating marijuana in a similar manner to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are regulated. Thirty-six percent (36%) are opposed to such a legalizing and regulating pot.

      Could someone remind me which side’s position is considered “fringe”? I can’t seem to remember…

      Here’s how I see it: the Internet + demographic turnover + ever-increasing obsolescence of the legacy media + the financial crisis and the fiscal insolvency of national, state, and local governments + continuing “normalization” of marijuana as a result of medical cannabis + growing political unrest + “tipping point” / positive feedback loops = things are moving very, VERY quickly right now. I’d suggest standing well clear of the Drug War Wall (but keep manning those catapults).

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Good news! Just another 43% and maybe we’ll have a shot.

      • darkcycle says:

        Wait a goldurn minnit here, Duncan. Isn’t it you who always jumps on the posters who say nothing will ever change and we’re wasting our time?
        Am I the only one around here who will stop sometimes in the middle of some mundane task and inexplicably get a rush from realizing that WE’RE FUCKING CHANGING THE WORLD? That poll says it all for me.
        A reminder to all personnel: hardhats and orange safety vests must be worn at all times when working in the vicinity of this wall.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Goddammit it was a 1% joke. 56% + 43% equals 99%, which leaves 1%. When I was still wet behind the ears a 1%er rode a Harley but today “they” have changed the meaning and I was just trying to incorporate some modern culture into a bit of humor. Ah, nutz. I’m going on retreat, no doubt. Misfiring on all cylinders.

          I think I’ll spend a few days catching up on my old professional football habit. No way I’ll ever be a Redskins fan. Perhaps I’ll adopt the Detroit Lions as my surrogate home team.
          Brown: At least 50 percent of NFL players smoke pot

        • darkcycle says:

          Ummm…if you make a joke, your best bet is to not wait on me. I won’t get it until I’m lying in bed three days later half asleep. Please don’t let the fact that dc is obtuse slow your pace. Eventually I laugh. My wife thinks I’m crazy.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Well we haven’t changed the world quite yet, but it sure looks like it’s all downhill from here:
          Helena mayor: “legalize, regulate, and tax” marijuana

      • Matthew Meyer says:

        Make that 45% Duncan, sometimes it seems that’s what it’s gonna take.

  7. HenryScarsdale says:


  8. Charlie Don't Surf says:

    They had a drug test for a job the other day and found urine in my drug stream.

  9. Duncan20903 says:

    From the “prohibitionists say the darnedest things” file:

    Officials say the plants are a hybrid, bred from a plant from California. These are rarely seen here in Georgia and are worth almost double a regular plant.

    “That plant is so rare here that’s it’s about $5,000 per plant. Once he planted them, he took the male plants out and put only the female plants in and that creates a higher bud content, higher THC content and a much prettier plant,” said Wilcox County Drug Agent Justin Rutherford.

    ‘Super pot’ seized in Wilcox Co. [Georgia]

    At least the man has a sense of aesthetics.

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      Wait, you can remove the males?

    • Maria says:

      I can just see that conversation now,
      “Gosh Joe, these sure are some pretty cannabis plants we got here.”
      “Yeah Justin. Real pretty. Look at those perfectly serrated leaflets and exquisite venation.”
      “And the trichomes? Have you ever seen such a glow? See how they reflect the light!”
      “What a gawd damned specimen Justin. What a beaut.”
      “Yup. Someone sure put in a lot of effort here. Very Pretty. So… do you want to tear them up and shove ’em in the glad bags or should I?”

  10. Nunavut Tripper says:

    30 percent THC ? Yum yum I want to find Dan Raber before the cops do.

  11. Duncan20903 says:


    And then there were three? Stay tuned!
    Pro-marijuana group submits signatures for fall ballot measure

    Just yesterday I read the ravings of a PP who claimed that the most annoying thing about potheads is how they complain that the law should be changed but don’t put any effort into doing so. Go figure that one out.
    Just another card carrying pothead.

  12. Duncan20903 says:


    The police weigh in on this story on Oaficer.com

    What I think makes this particular article interesting is that it actually gives the test results for Mr. Martin’s THC levels, active as well as inert metabolites. Those were 1.5 ng/ml of active THC and 7.3 ng/ml of THC-cooh in his chest blood. The urine test was presumptive and no precise levels of metabolites in the urine were released.

    Dr. Michael Policastro, a toxicologist, cautioned against reading too much into the blood THC levels, adding that one cannot make a direct correlation between those findings and a level of intoxication.

    He also noted levels of THC, which can linger in a person’s system for days, can spike after death in certain areas of the body because of redistribution.

    Does anyone else think it remarkable that in the thousands and thousands of articles written about this particular autopsy that those that target the police market were the only ones who bothered to include these salient facts?

    (wow, oaficer.com takes comments from the peanut gallery now via Disqus)

  13. Duncan20903 says:

    Nah, nobody goes to jail for merrywanna, ‘specially in a progressive State like Washington.

    “http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/may/20/no-uncertain-terms/”>No uncertain terms
    May 20, 2012 by Meghann M. Cuniff

    The young woman insisted she hadn’t smoked marijuana recently. A urine test given by her probation officer came back positive for the substance [blah, blah, blah].

    In the new program, called swift and certain sentencing, an offender like the woman appearing before Garcia would immediately be sent to jail for one to three days, without a hearing, as soon as her probation officer learned she’d tested positive for drugs. Her probation officer could require that she complete other requirements, like drug treatment programs, but the one- to three-day jail sentence is guaranteed if she’s already had a probation violation. First-time violators can avoid jail, but time behind bars is mandatory for second, third or fourth violations.

    The change is predicted to save $15 million each year as the number of probation violations drops and the time spent in jail is reduced.

    Well at least they included a sad, pathetic joke with that last snip. Will they be scratching their heads and trying to figure out what went wrong when the cost goes the other way? What kind of message does it send the children when authorities are persistent, blistering idiots?

    • Duncan20903 says:

      BTW, if you want to rent a jail cell in Spokane it’s only $3802.33 per month!

    • darkcycle says:

      Why not drop this into the the debate at the “Reality-Based” community? (I laugh at that constantly, I think of it kind of like all the chemical fertilizers that claim on their labels to be “Organic Based”. If they say “organic based”, there is nothing at all organic about them.)

  14. Peter says:

    Radley Balko has a truly shocking story on L/E abuse of forfeiture laws using “dog alerts” to steal bail money (after they conveniently insist on relatives bringing cash only) L/E justification of these actions read like Monty Python “Dead Parrot” excuses….is there no end to drug war corruption?
    I don’t seem to be able to get a link but its on Huffpo headed “Under Asset Forfeiture Law, Wisconsin Cops Confiscate Families’ Bail Money.”
    Duncan, be ready to vomit some more…

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