More driving-while-having-previously-been-in-the-presence-of-cannabis nonsense

The scare stories continue to pop up, like this one: Deadly collisions with ties to marijuana use have tripled, study shows (they originally had an even more offensively false headline: “Marijuana legalization leading to fatal car crashes, study shows,” but chose to tone it down to this merely inflammatory inference).

Check out some of the absurdities:

Lake County Sheriff Daniel Dunlap: “Law enforcement has worked very diligently to reduce the number of traffic deaths. There have been big gains made, now they’re adding another dimension to the problem with legalization. It makes you pause. We’re not supposed to eat too many Twinkies, have too many big colas, be in a room inhaling secondhand smoke, but we’re saying marijuana is OK.”

And that has what to do with traffic deaths?

Fortunately, the comments there have pretty much eviscerated the paper for printing this hogwash.

Lee Bowman with Scripps News sees the problem with per se laws, but seems to have a hard time understanding that there are alternatives. Many pot tests, but no certainty how much is too much

But with millions of Americans now legally able to use pot for either medical purposes or outright, there’s growing demand to know how much is too much to safely drive or perform on the job.

Scientists generally admit they don’t know the answer, in part because studies have been limited, but also because marijuana and the ways people use it have changed faster than the pace of research.

Paul Armentano (who is briefly quoted in that story) has an OpEd that gets it right: Extreme Zero Tolerance Anti-Pot Driving Laws are Unfair and Destructive

Efforts to better identify and prosecute impaired drivers are laudable, but the enactment of unscientific and inadvisable ‘per se’ legislation for THC — the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana — and its inert metabolites (byproducts) is not a scientific or advisable approach to addressing traffic safety. […]

The United States Department of Transportation Drug Expert Recognition Training materials similarly acknowledge: “Toxicology has some important limitations. One limitation is that, with the exception of alcohol, toxicology cannot produce ‘per se’ proof of drug impairment. That is, the chemist can’t analyze the blood or urine and come up with a number that ‘proves’ the person was or wasn’t impaired.” […]

As additional states consider amending their cannabis consumption laws, lawmakers would be advised to consider alternative legislative approaches to address concerns over DUI cannabis behavior that do not rely on solely on the presence of THC or its metabolites in blood or urine as determinants of guilt in a court of law.

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30 Responses to More driving-while-having-previously-been-in-the-presence-of-cannabis nonsense

  1. claygooding says:

    They are still using “could be linked with” as scientific proof of harm,,what will knowing how much is too much accomplish?

    • War Vet says:

      I used to believe that driving cars were linked to vehicle crashes, but I was wrong: marijuana clearly is the link to car crashes, regardless if the marijuana user is in a car or not.

    • Windy says:

      Ask your member of the House in congress to fully support the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (H.R. 499) which would direct the Attorney General to issue a final order that removes marijuana in any form from all schedules of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act.. It is obvious that Obama is not going to do it, even though he does (by virtue of the act that created the CSA) have the full authority to do so (if he was going to do so, he would have done it by now).

  2. It’s a grass roots public action and shift in opinion that is responsible for the movement to end the prohibition of marijuana.

    “Marijuana is dangerous” – That is the bald faced lie that has kept marijuana illegal. Times change. Some people don’t.

    Traffic laws should reflect a perspective on driving that really addresses actual issues, not ones that are trumped up. A backlash from the very individuals and industries that have previously thrived on marijuana’s prohibition seems to me to be the reason for Federal and law enforcement bluster over marijuana and driving, not any actual problem. It is prohibition that is creating unreasonable, fearful nonsense about driving that is designed to impede and cripple any attempt to legalize marijuana. Reasonable people should not be fooled by the fear stories that are hard found.

    A major driving issue marijuana is not.

  3. cj says:

    what a presumptuous ignorant man that policeman is that was quoted. You know what annoys me alot too? It’s this talk of “they”. He said how “they” told us not to “eat too many twinkies, have too many big colas” etc. etc. etc. First of all, THEY is as allusive as THE MAN (who of course is my supplier and every other users supplier despite the singular of the name.) THEY is ridiculous. TO ME, if you can’t identify the source of your instructions and they’re just “they” well that just tells me you’re a useless sheep. And considering all the things I’ve learned about police personality etc. etc. well, it’s not altogether surprising. These are some of the most insecure and simultaneously narcissistic (I know! What an oxy-moron) people of all. According to the Heroin Helper by “Dr. H” Francis Moraes, in the book he cites a book about police and it says how “if you don’t possess the standard issue police personality when you first get the job then you will soon enough.” And their need to be the “alpha” of all situations and relationships. However, if I said that police were the dumbest people I’ve ever met, I’m not entirely sure it’d be accurate. It’s more that they, as a whole, are the simplest of people I met. Simple as in simpleton. Do what you’re told, definitely buy the hype, pot turns people into zombies, everything on TV is true (or else it wouldn’t be on TV, duh!) Beavis and Butthead are cult leaders, MTV is some form of high-tech poison, alcohol is the greatest thing ever, etc. etc. etc. They are just sheep but sheep with razor sharp teeth that like to eat both other sheep and human beings.

    Coincidentally, at a different time in my life many years ago I was living in Allentown and I had gotten my GED and was going to Community College. Now I distinctly enrolled in Criminal Justice honestly to better understand one of my sworn enemies.

    Among all the things I learned after many CJ (lol, like my name! duh!) classes none struck me as more telling then when the professor gave us the statistics and showed us how sky-high were the rates of alcoholism, divorce and suicide among police. I guess if my job made me the target of so much hatred and a degree of paranoia that pushed away my spouse and non-police-officer-working buddy friends well then I’d be pretty depressed, looking for an escape (alcohol) and ultimately killing myself.

    I understand this article wasn’t all about cops but just the first person to be quoted was. The fact is, on the overall theme, I feel like the prohibitionists are going this route with the traffic and car stuff because they’re desperate. It sounds utterly ridiculous.

    Think about it – most reformers know the horrors of prohibition, why it doesn’t work etc. etc. So what are the prohib’s trying to accomplish here? I mean, are they suggesting, “because of car crashes related to people under the influence, we must perpetuate the global drug prohibition regime. Sober driving is more important than anything else. Screw freedom and all that other stuff.
    …what? Not everybody drives? That can’t be true, this is America, BUDDAY!”

    It seems petty of them, I don’t know if it’s even detrimental of us to engage them in this petty statistic.

    Lastly, today is my birthday guys. Somehow I’ve made it to 29! 🙂 my FB name is Remmy Skye or FB ID is UnionJack so if any of my friends here want to facebook me please do.

    have a wonderful day everybody.

    • darkcycle says:

      Sent you a friend request. Happy Birthday cj.

    • War Vet says:

      By the time I realized I needed to be a police officer to help decrease the illegal arrests for drugs in my area, it was too late–I was not legally able to, though legally able to see Iraq. I believe it is up to us to influence others to become police officers for a few years as a way to dilute the system, otherwise it will always be ‘they’ who are in uniform and not ‘us’. A famous Jewish write, Irene Nemirovsky, before the Nazis killed her, once said that if you were suspicious about your neighbors being no good, then its because you have the traits you don’t like and are suspicious of, so I believe its possible for us to become the ‘Man’ without letting it destroy our integrity.

      Happy Birthday CJ. I hope everything in the NYC is going good for you or better.

      • War Vet says:

        What I meant about the suspicion: if we don’t believe it would be good for people like us to not join law enforcement (while still legally or physically eligible), it is because the individual knows that they’d be a backslider for the movement. Not every cop rides with a buddy . . . every cop can spot the dope and then pretend to not have seen it if said officer has to fill a quota of searches which are caught on dashboard cam . . . looking the other way when it regards illicit laws is legal in my book.

  4. Firefighter Frank says:

    Happy birthday CJ!

  5. Duncan20903 says:


    Did anyone count the tests, and notice if they’ve also tripled? I know that it wasn’t that long ago that they didn’t test any drivers for inert cannabinoid metabolites. Why not go with “the number of deaths linked with cannabis positives has increased infinitely” since it’s much more powerfully compelling hysterical rhetoric? Someone double check my math but I think that’s technically accurate, even if it is laughably absurd.

    From time to time I wonder what the result would have been had they tested Harry Chapin for inert metabolites after he drove his car into the path of that tractor trailer in 1981. Just imagine how shrill today’s prohibitionists would have been in their hysterical rhetoric about his death. “Oooh, he glorified driving around impaired in his songs!”

    You see, she was gonna be an actress
    And I was gonna learn to fly.
    She took off to find the footlights,
    And I took off for the sky.
    And here, she’s acting happy,
    Inside her handsome home.
    And me, I’m flying in my taxi,
    Taking tips, and getting stoned,
    I go flying so high, when I’m stoned.

    The 1970s was a different planet.

  6. claygooding says:

    I concur! “snip”

    Is a Cannabis Crackdown Coming?

    Last week Washington’s legislature ended its 2014 session without approving new restrictions on medical marijuana, a step that supporters portrayed as necessary to prevent federal interference as the state begins allowing the sale of cannabis for recreational use. After all, the Justice Department indicated in an August 29 memo that it would allow legalization to proceed in Washington and Colorado only if both states created “strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems.” Washington’s medical marijuana dispensaries, which are not licensed or regulated by the state, seem inconsistent with that expectation.

    Jenny Durkan, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, said as much the very day the DOJ memo was released. “The Department guidance is premised on the expectation that the state will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems,” she warned. “The continued operation and proliferation of unregulated, for-profit entities outside of the state’s regulatory and licensing scheme is not tenable and violates both state and federal law.” ‘snip’

    Jacob is weighing federal options in WA MMJ dispensaries/providers,,,and what has brought the WA MMJ program under so much fire from the state,,it’s the feds once again.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Oh please, that list of conditions was destined for failure from the moment the writer hit save.

      1) Prevent distribution to minors.

      Would a 50% reduction be acceptable? From my observations the prohibitionists demand perfection. While I’m sure that age limits strictly enforced at point of sale combined with education are proven to and will significantly reduce youth access it’s not possible to keep the kiddies virgins until they’re 21 short of building a self contained space station to keep them in.

      2) Prevent revenues from going to criminals.

      Again, will a significant reduction count? Let me know quickly, I’m holding my breath!

      3) Preventing export to other States.

      Says the Federal government that can’t keep it from coming in over any of the 4 borders. Hawaii is probably the only State that could accomplish that but I think the mandatory exit body cavity searches would cause a significant reduction in tourism, and the State would be overrun with perverts.

      4) Preventing legal cannabis vendors from also concurrently dealing illegal drugs.

      Right, all they have to do is be the first government in the history of the world to eliminate a crime of greed. Good luck with that.

      5) Prevent violence & the use of firearms in the cultivation & vending of State legal cannabis.

      Hey Mr. Ripper, please don’t use a gun when you rob me. Just ask politely because I’m not allowed to defend myself. Can I hire a security guard licensed to carry a gun? No? Can I at least use a replica to bluff that ripper? No? Can I throw rocks?

      6) Prevent drugged driving and exacerbation of other public health consequences “associated” with mary j. wanna.


      7) Prevent growing on public lands.


      8) Prevent merrywanna law violations on Federal property.


      Are people starting to see that this list is just meant to be an excuse for a crackdown? To avoid people getting mad at the Feds for contravening the will of the voters? For crying out loud they even want State authorities to do the Feds job.

      Let’s just forget the fact that the regulation bill was blocked because the communities that “opted out” didn’t want to opt out of the tax revenue because it wouldn’t have mattered if that law had been signed. Those hoops were set way too high to be jumped through by anyone other than Superman.

  7. Krymsun says:

    Why does most everyone 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.


    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.”


    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.


    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. .. 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: University of Adelaide study, 1995


    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.


    “Both simulation and road trials generally find that driving behavior 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.


    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.,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.


    “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).,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).


    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


    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


    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.”


    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


    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,Toxicology%20And%20Therapy.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

    “Stick *that* in your pipe and smoke it!”

  8. Servetus says:

    How sad for anti-marijuana and other anti-drug bigots that they’re losing all means of prosecuting marijuana consumers. With mere pot possession no longer outlawed, or beyond the scope of law enforcement to prevent, the hate mongers are rallying forth to find some new way, somehow, to keep the Fires of Smithfield burning. Thus:

    “…the imposition of traffic safety laws may inadvertently become a criminal mechanism for law enforcement and prosecutors to punish people who have engaged in legally protected (or depenalized) behavior and who have not posed any actionable traffic safety threat.” – Paul Armentano

    With no drug consumer left to persecute, anti-drug bigots will no longer be able to count on public support of their belief in their own cultural or racial superiority. One wonders who or what culture the prohibitionists will attack next, absent their favorite heretics, the common drug consumers. Perhaps prohibs can target each other for a change.

  9. kaptinemo says:

    OT: I knew this would happen; the so-called progressives, who’ve been largely AWOL on the relegalization front, are now trying to take credit for reforms.

    This is especially maddening: “Without a doubt, the criminalization of marijuana in America has become a very serious human rights issue, but one that Pres. Obama and states like Colorado are well on their way to fixing.”

    Ex-effing-‘scuse me? Obama sicced his goons on cannabists the moment he thought he could get away with it, and spit in the faces of all those true progressives on this issue who worked so hard to get him elected. The change has come from below, not from above, from the People, not the Oligarchs that Obama is a living lawn statue for.

    Recall that for years, for decades, the Dems were telling us to “Sit down and shut up!” and not ‘rock the boat’ with all this icky drug talk, because it might screw the chances for ‘our’ (meaning, always, THEIR) man getting in so he can do good work…like shaft his young supporters who thought he wasn’t talking out of his anus on cannabis issues. And what’s the first thing the Dems usually did? Put the screws to us. Every. Single. Time.

    Obama, like the rest of the Dem pols, is having his hand forced by the political realities of having an up-and-coming generation (one that’s not interested in machine politics but the actual issues), upsetting their pleasant little kabuki-cum-applecart. The impetus is coming from below, not above, and Obama and the Dem apparatchiks aren’t snickering anymore at those ‘Internet people’ who made it plain in Town Hall after Town Hall that that’s THE issue for many. This issue is a litmus test the Dems have been failing in droves.

    Typical pols…and their enablers. No matter. It’s steamroller time and we’re in the driver’s seat now. Time to mash some BS flat.

    • divadab says:

      Who cares who takes credit if this absurd, stupid, unconstitutional and wasteful prohibition and genocide attempt against a beneficial plant ends?

      Give Mr. timid-pants employee of the month if he actually gets something done.

      • Jose says:

        divadab, although I agree… It would be nice to see some justice. As far as I am concerned there is a long list of politicians and agency head’s that deserve to be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

        • Atrocity says:


        • Jose says:

          Involuntary is about the only charge that I think would have a snowballs chance in hell of sticking. Especially in an era when leo can shoot a person to death in their own bed and get a paid vacation as punishment.

  10. Crut says:

    Anybody watching the new Cosmos on Fox and NatGeo? Full episodes available at official site here. The new series is just as awesome as the Carl Sagan original so far…

    Last night had an unexpected positive plug at the beginning (16 minute mark) for Cannabis. Being that the greatest fear we need have of it, is the fear of laughter.

  11. Servetus says:

    But what about the children? Will 5-year-old Zander Welton be able to get an Arizona driver’s license when he turns 18? Arizona is a zero-tolerance state for blood-level nanograms of cannabinoids. Will CBD withstand the Arizona road test? Will research be allowed to proceed on medical marijuana treatments for epilepsy, PTSD and other illnesses? Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, et al., doesn’t want anyone going there, or anywhere:

    Five-year-old Zander Welton was able for the first time to hold a fork on his own and sleep through the night last year, after his doctor treated his seizures with a medical marijuana extract. But after several county attorneys in Zander’s state of Arizona threatened felony prosecution for using the marijuana in extract form, Zander’s parents stopped giving him the treatment.

    An Arizona court ruled Friday that Zander’s parents could start treating him again, finding that Arizona’s medical marijuana law allows consumption of the plant in extract form.

    Yes, that’s how Maricopa County prosecutors treat their helpless, little, epileptic children. Not even a benefit of the doubt when it comes to a medical marijuana law that Bill Montgomery deliberately misinterprets.

    Arizona is witnessing some real-world examples of true fanaticism. The history being created by these idiots will shadow the state for centuries. Historians love this kind of stuff.

  12. The hypocrisy starts again:

    Here’s How Obama Plans to Spend $25 Billion on the War on Drugs

    9.2 billion earmarked for domestic law enforcement.
    9.6 billion for treatment (drug courts?)

    We fund a war against marijuana by paying domestic law enforcement to mouth the same old reefer madness lies in the rush for a piece the money. There is the source for law enforcements marijuana driving drivel. Drug war expansion opportunism.

  13. drugged driving and marijuana:

    nhsta data:

    — more vehicles on roads
    — more drivers on roads
    — more miles per vehicle
    — more miles per driver
    — accident numbers continue to decline
    — fatality numbers continue to decline

    nsduh data:

    — increasing use of pot and other recreational substances

    mtf data:

    — approx 7% of 12th graders on average (over a period of 38 years, mind you) said they would use marijuana if it were legal


    (more people who when younger said they would try it if legal) + (aging boomers who want to do it again) + (legal availability) = more people using pot

    more people using pot = more people involved in traffic accidents who will have detectable levels of cannabis metabolites in their bodies

    pretty simple

  14. sudon't says:

    “We’re not supposed to eat too many Twinkies, have too many big colas, be in a room inhaling secondhand smoke, but we’re saying marijuana is OK.”

    “And that has what to do with traffic deaths?”

    Oh, that’s easy – it’s all hogwash! Of course, the former is (mostly) hogwash from the left, while the latter is (mostly) hogwash from the right. That’s your slippery slope, liberals. Let’s get out of the business of banning stuff we don’t approve of. It’s a sword that cuts both ways.

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